Woody Beard has stepped downs after serving as Pisgah’s varsity boys basketball head coach since the 1997-98 season.

The second-longest running varsity boys basketball coaching tenure in Jackson County has come to an end.

Woody Beard has resigned as Pisgah varsity boys basketball coach after 23 seasons. 

His resignation was officially approved during Thursday’s Jackson County Board of Education Meeting.

Only Q.K. “Dusty” Carter’s 24-year tenure from 1952-75 as Scottsboro’s varsity boys basketball head coach lasted longer than Beard’s tenure. Beard’s 23 years coaching varsity boys at Pisgah is the third most in total years at one school in county history behind Glen Hicks’ 25-and-a-half seasons at North Sand Mountain (1977-93 and 1995-2003) and Carter’s 24 seasons at Scottsboro.

“Twenty-three seasons is unreal. It seems like yesterday I started,” Beard said. “It was just time. I felt like it was best for me and best for the program.”

Beard, a 1993 Pisgah High School graduate, was the head coach at his alma mater from 1998-2020, amassing a 366-

288 record with four Jackson County Tournament championships, three Sand Mountain Tournament championships, seven area tournament championships, 14 sub-regional appearances and eight Northeast Regional appearances (1998, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2009, 2010, 2013 and 2018). Beard directed Pisgah to the Class 2A State Final Four in 2003 and 2004 and took the Eagles to the Northeast Regional finals four times in all (2002, 2003, 2004 and 2013).

“It’s been a blessing,” Beard said of his tenure. “Pisgah is a good community to coach in. Basketball is a big deal (here) and that part is fun. I’ve had a lot of good times. 

“I’ve had so many people who have supported me and I’m thankful to all of them. I’m grateful to the coaches who’ve coached with me — coach (Billy) Duncan, coach (Jamie) Darwin, coach (Bradley) Koger — and (Pisgah girls) Coach (Carey Ellison). Coaching with him has been great. All the administrators I’ve had have been very supportive of me. I can’t thank my wife (Holly) and daughters enough for being there for me.”

Beard said he was especially grateful to all of his players and thankful for the opportunity to get to know them both on and off the court.

“All the players we’ve had, we’ve had so many good players and just good guys,” Beard said. “Winning and stuff is fun, but I’ve enjoyed the camaraderie you have with the players and working with them. I’ve also enjoyed the coaches and that bond you have with them, both the ones you coach with and the ones you coach against. That camaraderie is special.”

Beard plans to continue teaching math and physical education at Pisgah. He does plan to return to the sideline someday.

“It may be a different level, may be a different sport, may be at Pisgah or somewhere else, I’m not sure,” Beard said. “But I do hope to coach again when the opportunity and situation is right.”

He termed his tenure at his alma mater as memorable.

“A lot of great memories,” Beard said. “I’ve always considered my job a ministry, and that’s something I didn’t take lightly. I’ve enjoyed it. It’s been a blessing.”

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