High School Sports

Former Gamecock, Midlands coaching legend has died

Longtime midlands prep coach Cy Szakacsi, has lunch in 2014 with a dozen or so of his former players in 2014.. Szakacsi played at South Carolina and coached at University High, A.C. Flora and Heathwood Hall during his career.
Longtime midlands prep coach Cy Szakacsi, has lunch in 2014 with a dozen or so of his former players in 2014.. Szakacsi played at South Carolina and coached at University High, A.C. Flora and Heathwood Hall during his career.

Former South Carolina two-sport athlete and Midlands coaching legend Cy Szakacsi died early Friday morning, his family announced.

Szakacsi was 96 years old. He would have been 97 next month.

Szakacsi played basketball and baseball for the Gamecocks in the late 1940s. The Ohio native scored more than 500 points for the USC basketball team from 1947-49 and hit .355 in two seasons for the baseball team.

After college, Szakacsi got into coaching in 1951 and led University High basketball to back-to-back S.C. High School League Class B titles in 1961-62 and a runner-up finish in 1964.

When University closed, Szakacsi moved to A.C. Flora and led the Falcons to the 1969 Class 4A title. He left A.C. Flora in 1981 for Heathwood Hall and led the Highlanders to SCISA state titles in football, basketball and baseball.

Over a career that spanned four decades, five sports, and two leagues, Szakacsi won seven state championships.

“Not many coaches have won state championships in four different sports,” Jack Haynes, Szakacsi’s longtime statistician, said last year.

Tommy Moody, a quarterback at AC Flora when Szakacsi was an assistant football coach, called Cy ‘a great and trusted friend and mentor for so many ex players and coaches.

Szakacsi met regularly with his former players and coaches up until a few years ago.

“I had wonderful players, and it’s the players that make the coach,” Szakacsi said back in 2014. “I’ve got some very good people that call and check on me every day. And when we get together, they come from all over – Charleston, Hilton Head, Charlotte ... it’s great to see them.”

Szakacsi won more than 800 games in his coaching career. He coached baseball until he was 76.

Last year, Szakacsi received the Order of the Palmetto, the state’s highest civilian honor that recognizes lifetime achievement and service to South Carolina.

Szakacsi also is a member of S.C. Athletics Coaches Association Hall of Fame and S.C. Athletics Hall of Fame.

Lou Bezjak is the High School Sports Prep Coordinator for The State and Island Packet. He has covered high school sports in South Carolina for 16 years and is a two-time South Carolina Sports Writer of the Year by the National Sports Media Association.
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