Batesburg-Leesville hires new football coach

Special to The StateMay 14, 2014 

Batesburg-Leesville's Xavier Small celebrates after the Panthers beat Silver Bluff 28-24 for the Class 2A, Division II state championship Friday at Charlie W. Johnson Stadium.

GERRY MELENDEZ — gmelendez@thestate.com Buy Photo

North Myrtle Beach coach Perry Woolbright has accepted the head football coaching position at Batesburg-Leesville.

The hiring of Woolbright was approved by the Lexington County District Three Board of Trustees Tuesday night.

Woolbright informed his former team Wednesday that he is leaving. He said he expects to begin work at Batesburg-Leesville immediately while closing out his teaching duties at North Myrtle Beach. Batesburg-Leesville began spring practice on Tuesday.

He will inherit a team that won a state championship under Jerry Brown, who left to take the head coaching position at Spring Valley last month. Batesburg-Leesville went 12-2 last season and defeated Silver Bluff 28-24 in the Class 2A, Division II state championship game in December.

“I’m looking forward to getting there and working with the staff,” Woolbright said. “Anytime you have a state championship team, the assistants are a big part of it and I feel comfortable getting there and getting to work.”

Woolbright, a former player at Appalachian State, coached at Gaffney under former Batesburg-Leesville coach Phil Strickland.

The Woolbright name is highly recognized in coaching circles. Perry’s dad, Marty, is a former head coach at Clover, Gilbert and Lower Richland. He also is a former standout at South Carolina. His grandfather, Cecil Woolbright, started the football program at Latta and won two state championships at Chapin in 1973 and 1974.

“I grew up in Gilbert so Batesburg-Leesville is near where I grew up,” Perry Woolbright said. “I know the tradition of Batesburg-Leesville. It’s a football town where year-in and year-out, they have successful teams. It’s a winning program and as a coach that’s the type of program you want to coach in.”

He has been the head coach at North Myrtle Beach the past four seasons. The Chiefs were winless in each of his first two seasons before going 5-5 in 2012 and 9-3 last year that included a first-round playoff victory over Orangeburg-Wilkinson.

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