Veteran Gilbert High School football coach, athletic director to retire after 35-year career

A coach who has influenced student-athletes in South Carolina for nearly four decades is retiring at the end of the school year.

Lexington One Superintendent Karen Woodward on Tuesday announced the retirement of Barry Harley, athletic director and head football coach for Gilbert High. He will step down in June.

Coach Harley is wrapping up his stellar career next June. (photo provided)

Coach Harley is wrapping up his stellar career next June. (photo provided)

Harley began his career in 1981 doing a bit of everything as a biology, physical science and physical education teacher and assistant football coach, head track coach and head varsity baseball coach at Saluda High School.

He began coaching locally at Irmo High in 1984 as assistant varsity football coach and assistant track coach. After a few years at St. John’s High School in Darlington and West Oak High School in Westminster, he returned to the Midlands for a brief stint as assistant principal at Chapin High School.

Harley joined Lexington One in 2005 as athletic director and head varsity football coach at Gilbert High School where he’s been ever since.

“Although we are all aware of Barry Harley’s extensive athletic knowledge and love of football, it is not his only passion. His way of inspiring students to be their very best on the field, court and in life is a special gift,” Principal Ann O’Cain said. “His wisdom, honesty and remarkable ability to help others enabled him to be a tremendous mentor to our students as well as young teachers and coaches. He will be missed at Gilbert High.”

Under Harley’s coaching, the Gilbert Indians made the AA football playoffs six of seven years and the AAA playoffs two of four years. Harley also paved the way for Gilbert High to add new offerings for student-athletes like middle school baseball, girls’ golf, middle school softball, middle school volleyball and wrestling.

Harley said his favorite memories include celebrating three baseball state championships and individual state champions in golf, track and wrestling as well as seeing Gilbert High expand and improve its athletic facilities with a new football stadium, baseball stadium, track facility and tennis facility.

Harley’s coaching honors include being awarded region coach of the year five times as well as region athletic director four times and being named North/South All-Star assistant coach and head coach and Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas assistant football coach.

Categories: Education, Lexington County, Sports