Longtime Lexington boys’ basketball coach to step down at end of playoffs

Lexington boys’ basketball coach Bailey Harris talks with team during first round matchup with South Florence. Thomas Grant Jr. photo.

The 2018-19 season became memorable for another reason Thursday for the Lexington boys’ basketball team.

After 32 seasons and a combined six state championships in two sports, head coach Bailey Harris announced plans to retire following the Wildcats’ playoff run.

He told the team following practice for Saturday’s Class 5A Lower State final against Berkeley at 6:30 p.m. Lexington enters the contest undefeated at 29-0 and riding the longest winning streak in school history.

“This is my last go-round,” said Harris, who celebrated his birthday Thursday. “I will go with the seniors.”

Should the Wildcats win the state championship, Harris will join the likes of Gaffney’s Mark Huff (2003), Calhoun County’s Zam Fredrick (2007-8) and Irmo’s Tim Whipple (2013) as head coaches who’ve led teams to a perfect season.

Harris heads into Saturday’s Lower State final tied with Chip Atkins as the sixth winningest head coach in S.C. High School League history with 637 career wins. Only Whipple and Fredrick have more victories among active head coaches.

The Blackville native and Presbyterian College graduate claimed a 12th region title this past season. He claimed Class 4A state titles in boys’ basketball in 1996 and 2000 and is seeking an 11th state title appearance.

In addition, Harris has led the boys’ cross-country team to 15 region titles and won four consecutive Class 4A titles from 2009-12. He will still coach boys’ cross-country and teach at Lexington High School.

S.C. HIGH SCHOOL LEAGUE CAREER COACHING WINS IN BOYS BASKETBALL:

1. John Smith – 943
*2. Tim Whipple – 757
3. Taft Watson – 742
*4. Zam Fredrick – 729
5. Louis Golden – 699
6 (tie). Chip Atkins & *Bailey Harris – 637

*Still Active

Categories: Lexington, Lexington County, Sports

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