Roscoe unretires, returns to Nighthawks

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Former Bruins football coach

By Robert Howey


Johnny Roscoe’s coaching retirement didn’t last long.

Roscoe, who retired from coaching just over a year ago, is returning to coaching in familiar territory.

Roscoe, who retired at Northern Guilford High School in February of 2013, is coming back to the Greensboro, N.C., high school.

Roscoe, the former Lancaster High School football coach, was named the Nighthawks’ head coach Wednesday, April 23.

“It’s kind of hard not to bring Coach Roscoe back after all the things he’s done for this program and this community,” said Nighthawks athletics director Brian Thomas in a press release.

According to the news release, the administration cited Roscoe’s core values as one of the major reasons behind the selection. His commitment to teaching the fundamentals of the game, character development and ability to establish a feeling of family and school pride within his team and the entire Northern community were a few qualities that stood out.

Roscoe, 65, was hired to fill the coaching vacancy created when former Nighthawks coach Brian Thomas, who coached under Roscoe at Lancaster and Northern Guilford high schools, took the job as head coach at North Augusta (S.C.) high school last month.

In addition to football, Thomas also served as a basketball assistant and was the boys golf coach at LHS.

Roscoe, in five seasons leading the Nighthawks, posted a 65-6 record, including three consecutive Class 3-AA state championships. NGHS went 29-1 in his final two seasons.

Northern Guilford, which opened in 2008, honored Roscoe last season when NGHS officials named its stadium in his honor – Johnny Roscoe Stadium.

After retiring at Lancaster High School, where he coached  21 seasons, Roscoe took a year off and then returned to coaching as the NGHS head football coach.

Roscoe, who has coached at five different schools in his career, posted 134 wins at LHS, which included 12 winning seasons and 16 playoff berths. Roscoe guided LHS teams to state championship game appearances in 1989 and 1990.

The Bruins’ 1989 state championship game appearance marked Lancaster High’s first trip to the state finals since the 1959 campaign under the legendary Wade Corn. Corn, who coached at LHS from 1951-63, compiled a 95-54-10 record.

Roscoe also coached at Hartsville High School from 1977-83 and posted a 62-21 record with the 1981 Class AAAA Division II state title.

Roscoe, who posted 281 career wins in guiding five different high school programs in the Carolinas, launched his coaching career in 1971 at Berkeley High School (S.C), where he was the Stags’ assistant football coach and head track coach.

He then served as an assistant football coach at Hanahan High School, 1974-75, before launching his career as a high school head football coach at Forbush High School in Yankinville, N.C.

After one season at Forbush, he returned to the Palmetto State where he served one season as the head football coach and athletics director at Bonds-Wilson High School in Charleston.

He moved to his prep alma mater at Hartsville High in 1978 where he built the Red Foxes into a Class AAAA state power.

Roscoe coached one season at Wofford College where he worked under Billy Parker, a Kershaw native and former Andrew Jackson High School head coach.

Roscoe returned to high school coaching in the late winter of 1985 when he was named the head football coach and athletics director at Lancaster High School.