High School Sports

This former high school coach on the Grand Strand will enter his second hall of fame

Barry Triplett
Barry Triplett Submitted

When Barry Triplett sees a youngster playing basketball or working on his or her skills at the YMCA in Georgetown, where he works part-time as a certified personal trainer, he often offers a basketball drills pamphlet that he created years ago.

It includes nearly a dozen ball-handling and shooting drills that will be well worth their time. Little do those children know, they helped lead to a hall of fame coaching career.

Triplett, who coached the boys basketball teams at Pleasant Hill and Carvers Bay high schools in Georgetown County to 514 victories over nearly three decades, including a pair of state titles, has been selected for induction into his second South Carolina hall of fame.

Already a member of the South Carolina Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame, having been inducted in 2012, Triplett will be inducted into the South Carolina Athletic Coaches Association Hall of Fame.

This year’s class of six inductees will be honored at 7 p.m. on July 28 at the Charleston Area Convention Center in North Charleston.

“It’s an honor. I was a little surprised,” Triplett said.

He reflected Wednesday on his success at the small rural schools and how both the coaches and players at the schools were involved in multiple sports. Triplett coached boys basketball, boys track and volleyball for several years, and ran a summer basketball program.

“Just thinking about it, now everyone is specialized,” Triplett said. “When we were at this country school we had to share all the athletes because there weren’t enough to go around.”

The 68-year-old Georgetown resident coached the Pleasant Hill boys basketball team for 24 years, compiling a 466-180 record, winning state titles in 1985 and ‘88 and finishing as a two-time state runner-up.

In his other sports, Triplett coached the Pleasant Hill boys track team to one state title and two runner-up finishes, and the Blue Devils volleyball team to multiple state championship matches.

He took over the Pleasant Hill boys hoops program in 1976 at the age of 25 as a health and physical education teacher.

The Pennsylvania native and Appalachian State graduate coached at Andrews’ Rosemary Middle School during his first two years in Georgetown County, and recalled the experience to The Sun News in 2002.

“Actually, my second ballgame that I ever coached, we played outside,” Triplett said. “We had a chalkboard for a scoreboard, a cowbell for the buzzer and we used a stopwatch for the clock. And I’m saying to myself, ‘What in the world did I get myself into?’ ”

Pleasant Hill merged with Choppee to form Carvers Bay in 2000, and Triplett was selected by the Georgetown County Board of Education to be Carvers Bay’s first boys basketball, volleyball and boys track coach.

Jeff Mezzatesta, the now longtime Carvers Bay boys basketball coach, came with Triplett as an assistant after being his assistant at Pleasant Hill and said of him: “After my dad, Barry Triplett held the most influence [over me] in basketball. . . . Honored to have learned from and assisted him.”

Then Carvers Bay principal Daryl Brown said of the laid back Triplett upon his hiring: “He is without a shadow of a doubt one of the best basketball coaches I’ve ever witnessed.”

Triplett coached three state players of the year including Greg Washington, who led South Carolina in scoring two consecutive years and helped Pleasant Hill win the 1985 state title before playing at Winthrop.

Triplett began teaching at Waccamaw High in 2004-05, coached the Carvers Bay boys basketball team for the final time that season and would also coach Waccamaw’s girls track and middle school football teams for a couple years. He was an assistant then head coach of the Johnsonville High volleyball team in 2010 and 2011 following his teaching career.

He went to work in 2008 in nuclear medicine, but quit after about six months and took his job at the YMCA, where he has been for nearly 10 years.

“It’s still in my blood but I don’t know if I’d have the energy to run a program,” Triplett said of coaching.

As for the pamphlet, Triplett doesn’t believe the secrets to success in the game have changed much.

“I know a little bit about it. I like to see kids get better and I like the game,” Triplett said. “You can’t beat the fundamentals. I know the game is changing but you still need the fundamentals to get better.”

The other five inductees in the 2019 class are Pelion High cross country and track coach Mark Bedenbaugh; Indian Land, Fort Mill and York athletic director and football coach Steve Boyd; Spartanburg boys basketball coach Doug Lowe; Sumter trainer Gary Nelson; and North Charleston and Stratford softball coach Debra Tolar.

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