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Patrick Henry High School
Estill

EXPERIENCED VOLUNTEERS GUIDE PHA ATHLETICS

Jeffrey Strickland

ESTILL – South Carolina’s independent schools have always relied on a strong community effort to succeed. At Patrick Henry Academy, that spirit of volunteerism and involvement is alive and well.

Long-time Patriots’ athletic director and head football coach Mike McCoy has an experienced staff of head coaches and assistants to lead PHA’s athletic programs for the 2018/2019 season. In fact, the entire coaching staff for all sports remains virtually unchanged from last year. “We’re lucky here to have so many people willing to give their time to help our athletic programs succeed,” said McCoy. “There are very few teachers here who coach, so it’s great that so many people who work full-time jobs outside of the school volunteer to help out.” McCoy and his wife and fellow coach Belinda are both teachers at the Estill school, but other coaches have jobs that range from sheriff’s deputy to director of public works in Hampton County.

With practice soon to begin for the 2018/2019 season, PHA’s athletic programs can count on the fact that their volunteer coaching staff is experienced. McCoy enters his 18th year at the helm of the Patriot football team with three assistant coaches who each have at least a decade of experience with the squad. Greg Moore, the team’s backs and defensive mentor, heads into his 20th year, having been with the team since 1999. Nick Gohagan starts his 19th season as not only McCoy’s eyes in the booth on gameday but also as the head junior varsity coach. Line coach Larry Manuel has 11 years of service with the team. Cody Davis also returns for his fifth year as a line coach. Finally, Jeffrey Strickland rounds out the roster in his third season, but moves more into the job of statistician because of graduate school constraints.

Belinda McCoy heads both the JV and varsity volleyball squads and the JV and varsity girls’ basketball teams. She’s also a full-time PE teacher at the school and coaches the golf team with Mike. While coaching the basketball team to the state championship game in Sumter, McCoy has steadily turned the volleyball program into a regular contender, having won the region championship twice in the last three years.

Robbie Breland continues as the head coach for JV and varsity boys’ basketball. He also had success this past spring leading the varsity girls’ soccer team after not fielding a varsity squad for several years. The team produced two all-conference players and one selection for the all-star team and looks to build on that success this coming spring.

Blake Hodge and Greg Moore both volunteer as baseball coaches and plan for a special season after last year’s somewhat unexpected trip to the playoffs. Ervin Harriott and Marc Priester volunteer as the school’s softball coaches and are looking to rebuild after losing several experienced seniors to graduation.

Along with years of experience between the coaches, several, including Larry Manuel, Nick Gohagan, Cody Davis, Jeffrey Strickland, Belinda McCoy, Marc Priester, and Robbie Breland, graduated from PHA and participated in athletics while there, with some even continuing their athletic careers on the college level.

As summer draws to a close, football and volleyball practice will soon begin. Mike McCoy anticipates a rebuilding year for the football team but hopes to surprise some people. “We lost a big senior class,” McCoy explained. “But we’ve got a scrappy bunch of kids and they’ve really been putting in the work this summer.” He’ll be relying heavily on last year’s all-conference picks Kyle Jarrell and Daniel Hauptmann along with HSSR all-state player Garrett Griner to lead this year’s young team. Belinda McCoy and her experienced volleyball team anchored by veteran seniors like Faith Breland and Ellee Mikell hope to repeat as region champs and have the potential to make a deep run in the state tournament later this fall.

With the athletic program led by so many experienced and dedicated coaches, supporters of PHA athletics are hoping for a great 2018/2019 campaign.

 

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