Barnes earns state coach honor

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Rec Coach of the Year

By Robert Howey




Hazel Barnes, a veteran volunteer coach with the Lancaster County Parks and Recreation Commission, has been honored as the South Carolina Youth Sports Coach of the Year.

The honor was presented to Barnes at the annual meeting of the South Carolina Parks and Recreation Association’s S.C. Athletic Programs Branch awards program on Dec. 8 at the Tri-City Leisure Center in West Columbia.

Barnes has been a volunteer coach for Lancaster County for the past 28 years. He has been certified through NYSCA and has coached all ages and levels throughout the program.

Barnes volunteers with the Lancaster Youth Golf Association. He has won district and state tournaments.

“Hazel is a remarkable role model as he is a Christian man and leads by example,” said Hal Hiott, the Athletic Director for Lancaster County Parks and Recreation Department, who served on the Board of Directors for the SCRPA Athletic Board as the 2010 Board President.

“All of his teams are taught more than just the sport he happens to be coaching. He stresses the game of life, good study habits and respect for elders and your teammates.”

Hiott said he was thrilled with Barnes’ honor.

“It was a great honor to be able to present one of our own coaches as South Carolina Coach of the Year,” Hiott said. “Each year Coaches are nominated from around the state and this year Hazel was the cream of the crop. We are so proud of him and the example he sets for the children in our community.

“Hazel began coaching his kids at a young age. Today he coaches his grandchildren. It has been an honor to work with such a fine man as Hazel Barnes,” Hiott said.

Lancaster County Parks and Recreation Director Frank Overcash also saluted Barnes’ honor.

“This is a fantastic honor for Hazel,” Overcash said. “Hazel has a good outlook on what impact a volunteer coach imparts.

“He’s been there for a lot of kids,” he added. “Hazel has turned around a lot of kids over the years. What I really like about Hazel is he competes and wants to win, but he knows the game is temporary  and there’s more than the final score. Playing the game of life goes on and on. He has a good outlook on life and shares it in his coaching style.

“Hazel talks about grades, character and being accountable,” Overcash said. “If all volunteer coaches were like Hazel, we wouldn’t have to worry.”