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Throckmorton retires as HCHS football coach

South Boston News
Coach Grayson Throckmorton / July 24, 2020
Halifax County High School head football coach Grayson Throckmorton announced his retirement Friday as coach of the Comet varsity football team.

“I’m here to announce that Coach Grayson Throckmorton has decided to retire from football coaching after 30 years,” HCHS Principal Michael Lewis said at Friday’s press conference. “And certainly we wanted to take time out to recognize his commitment to youth — really across the state of Virginia — and how much he’s done here at Halifax County.”

Throckmorton said that the decision to retire was based solely on personal reasons. Throckmorton will continue teaching at HCHS.

“This is solely a decision based on me and nothing from any outside factors,” Throckmorton said. “I want to say this, I had 100 percent support from Mr. (Allen) Lawter, athletic director; Michael Lewis, the principal; and Superintendent (Mark) Lineburg.”

Throckmorton adding he couldn’t have asked for a better way to end his coaching career.

“Coming back here was a complete honor and a good way to cap off my 30-year career,” Throckmorton said.

Lawter, who was just returning from vacation, said a search for a new coach had not begun yet.

Throckmorton held various coaching positions at Halifax during his 30-year span of coaching. His most recent stint as head football coach lasted three years.

In that short amount of time, Throckmorton took the Comets from district hopeful to state contender – the team losing last season in the VHSL Region Class-4 tournament.

“[He] really turned our program around and made a lot of improvements,” Lewis said.

“I got to work with some fine young men in the program and worked with some really good coaches and we were able to kind of get things turned around,” Throckmorton reflected. “Albeit in only three years we were able to get things turned around and going in the right direction.”

“And that’s not a tribute to me or anything - the players working really hard and the coaches working really hard to get things going in the right direction.”

Mark Lineburg, Superintendent of Halifax County Schools, said Throckmorton’s success at Halifax are rooted in his understanding of what it means to be a Comet.

“Grayson understands the pride in being a Blue Comet,” Lineburg said.

Throckmorton was an assistant coach on the staff of the Comet football team that won a state championship and enjoyed success himself as a Comet and while playing at Ferrum College.

Lineburg went on to say that being the head coach of a successful football program in a community that loves its high school sports is a high visibility job.

“There’re several jobs that are in the community that are high profile and head football coach is one of them and Grayson has taken a lot of pride and done a great job,” Lineburg said. “He’s advocated for better facilities and advocated for better use of youth programs.”

“[To] have people buy into the program and understand that not only is it X’s and O’s on the field, its character and how you conduct business; how you handle yourself; from cleanliness in the locker room on up to winning on Friday night,” Throckmorton said. “And I think we were able to implement a lot of those character lessons and a lot of those values and ethics into the program and I fully intend to see in the future that continue, whoever the new coach will be.”

The character aspect Throckmorton brought to the football program was echoed by Lawter and Lewis.

“Grayson was a pleasure to work with; he did things the right way,” Lawter said. “He tried to make sure his players did the right thing.

“The character was a big part for him. It showed in the school; we had minimal incident with players within our school. I’m gonna miss him. I support the things he did and tried to do as a head coach.”

“It’s always good to see folks that have graduated from Halifax County go out, be successful and then come back and contribute to young people here and make a difference in their life,” Lewis said. “That’s what I saw coach Throckmorton do day-in and day-out, be committed to young people in general not just in athletics but in the classroom and on the field. I think under his leadership we’ve got a good base to move forward.”

Throckmorton said with the COVID-19 pandemic now playing out across America, those character traits have never been more important than they are now.

“It’s truly unfortunate that our community and across the world, all our communities - it affects not only the large cities but also the small towns such as Halifax - and it’s extremely unfortunate we’re going through this epidemic right now,” Throckmorton said. “And the uncertainty about it, you can’t tell what the future is going to be and that leaves a lot of anxiety, a lot of frustration, [and] a lot of apprehension.

“It’s one of those things where I’m truly hoping, truly praying, that things will start to trend on the positive side with the epidemic and that we can get back to a normal life and positive things as quickly as possible.”

Throckmorton said as he looks back over his career there are several things he’ll fondly remember; yet he also looks forward to his new life ahead.

“Obviously working with good people – good coaches, good all-around faculty members, administrators … It takes a village; it’s not just one coach it takes a village for things to succeed,” Throckmorton said as things he’ll readily remember.

“Grow from maybe not being a very good athlete to becoming a better athlete and excelling; the comradeship and all the memories of the tough losses and the great wins. And the hard work you put in to see it pay off in the end. And Friday night lights with the cleats clicking on the ground.

“I’ve got a lot of life ahead that’s going to be very fulfilling. This is just one chapter that’s closing and now a lot of really good things are opening up in the future. It’s been fun and it will be missed.

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