Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Ex-Graham coach Carlock dies

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In late October during the 1989 high school football season, Graham High School of Bluefield brought a team that was unscored upon in eight games to Salem in a battle of 8-0 teams.

A crew from ESPN's Scholastic Sports America show was on hand to chronicle Graham's string of shutouts, which Salem snapped with a 23-6 victory.

"We beat 'em at our place and ESPN was there," former Salem coach Willis White said. "You don't forget those."

Glynn Carlock was unforgettable in the VHSL prep football ranks as well. Carlock, who won two state championships at Graham during a coaching tenure that spanned from 1973-2004, died Monday night at age 67 from the rare brain disorder Creutzfeld-Jakob Disease.

Carlock died at Westwood Medical Center in Bluefield, less than three weeks after being diagnosed with the disease at the University of Virginia Medical Center in Charlottesville.

Longtime assistant coach Doug Marrs will be named Graham's interim head coach and athletic director, a school spokesman said Tuesday.

Carlock, a native of War, W.Va., played for legendary Merrill Gainer at Big Creek High School and later coached under Gainer at Bluefield (W.Va.) High School. Gainer coached Patrick Henry to the 1973 VHSL Group AAA championship.

White first met Carlock when the two were incoming freshmen at Concord (W.Va.) College.

"Glynn and I started college together," White said. "Only he was just out of the Marine Corps and I was just out of high school."

Carlock produced teams that befit his rugged demeanor. Graham won Group AA Division 3 titles in 1989 and 1995, compiling a 244-119-1 record in Carlock's 32 seasons.

"You had to strap your hats on, they were always physical," White said.

Northside coach Jim Hickam was two years behind Carlock at Big Creek.

"We went to the same high school, but he was a senior when I was a sophomore," Hickam said. "It's tragic. It's a real loss for the Graham community."

Carlock cut a wide swath through Virginia and was familiar to Timesland fans and coaches at other schools. Blacksburg has played Graham each year since 1988. The Bruins play Graham at home Sept. 9, one week after Martinsville opens its season at home against Graham. Carlock's 2002 Graham team played in Victory Stadium, defeating Patrick Henry 38-23.

Blacksburg coach David Crist said he visited Carlock in the hospital in Bluefield less than two weeks ago.

"We were good friends," Crist said. "I went to see him 10 days ago. At that point he knew me and could talk, but he said he didn't have the use of his legs."

Martinsville coach Taylor Edwards said Carlock and his son, Graham basketball coach Glynn Carlock Jr., came to Henry County in April for the Advance Auto Parts 500 Nextel Cup event.

"He came down with his son and we went to the race," Edwards said. "He seemed fine then. I didn't even know he was sick until about three weeks ago. It was a total shock."

However, White said Carlock seemed out of sorts when the Graham coach came to Salem and spoke at a tribute dinner for the former Spartans coach in May.

"You could tell something was wrong with him," White said. "He couldn't maintain a thought. I thought maybe he was just tired."

Visitation services for Carlock are from 5-9 p.m. today at the Bluefield Auditorium. The funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. Thursday, also at Bluefield Auditorium.

Christiansburg hires White

Christiansburg has hired Irvin White as its girls' basketball coach, replacing Keith Walters, who resigned after just one year on the job.

White, a 1982 Virginia Tech graduate who is employed full time at Volvo, was the girls' JV coach at Christiansburg last year. He has helped run the AAU program for the New River Valley Sports Club for the past 10 years and also has coached in the Blue Demons boys' program.

The 45-year-old White is a native of Skipwith, Va., and a graduate of Bluestone High School.

Christiansburg finished with a 7-16 record last winter, placing fifth in the River Ridge District.

The Blue Demons are looking to fill head coaching vacancies in softball and track and field.

Kirk Litton left his softball post to become Christiansburg's athletic director. Randy Bailey stepped down as the indoor and outdoor track coach to take the AD job at Auburn.

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