Gary Hall’s devotion to soccer in North Carolina has touched the lives of thousands of players, coaches, parents and administrators for almost 40 years. North Carolinian by birth, Gary played, coached and nurtured the development of soccer all the way from Winston-Salem, the town of his birth, to Wilson, the home of Barton College, and beyond.
Gary’s coaching career began as a Wake Forest University assistant from 1980-83 and continued as head coach at Lenoir-Rhyne College from 1984-86, Campbell University from 1987-88 and Barton College from 1989-2006. He coached four teams that won league championships (Campbell in 1988 and Barton in 1991, 1993, and 1998). Seven of his players moved on to play professionally. Gary’s 1988 Campbell team had a 17-3 record and was ranked as high as 14th nationally in NCAA Division I. He led Barton to eleven winning seasons. Every player initially recruited to play by him at Barton that played through his senior year of eligibility graduated and 70 per cent were Dean’s List students.
Gary retired from college soccer coaching in 2006. In his 23 years as a head coach Gary compiled a 188-176-35 record, ranking him 33rd nationally for career wins among coaches at the NCAA Division II level. He was named Coach of the Year for the Big South Conference, for NAIA District 26, and for the Carolinas Conference and is believed to rank second in career victories by a North Carolina native coaching men’s college soccer at in-state schools. During his Athletics Director tenure at Barton, the Bulldogs have won three league Joby Hawn Cup all-sports awards and Gary has been named as NAIA District 26 Athletic Administrator of the Year twice.
Gary played high school soccer for teams at Kernersville Wesleyan Academy that lost only five games during his career. He served as team captain and was All-Conference, All-Region, team MVP and the school’s Male Athlete of the Year. Gary was the leading scorer for Greensboro’s U-18 team in the 1976 Bicentennial Tournament, held at UNC-Chapel Hill. He played for two years at Methodist College, leading the team in scoring both years, serving as captain, being named All-Dixie Conference twice and earning team MVP honors. He transferred to Barton (then Atlantic Christian College) and served as captain for teams that won the school’s first Carolinas Conference championship in 1978 and first NAIA District 26 championship in 1979. Playing primarily as a central defender for the Bulldogs, he earned All-Conference and All-District honors both seasons and was the team’s MVP as a junior and the college’s Male Athlete of the Year as a senior. He graduated magna cum laude with majors in English and Physical Education in 1980. Gary completed his M.A. in Sports Psychology at Wake Forest in 1981.
Gary has served as Director of Coaching for the Wilson Youth Soccer Association for 15 years. He also has served on the Board of Directors for the Brittany Willis Memorial Soccer Showcase since its inception and has directed clinics in the past year for over 1,000 children for the Wilson County School’s Renaissance Program. Holding a USSF A license and an NSCAA Advanced National Diploma, Gary served NCYSA for a number of years as a Staff Coach, conducting coaching licensure courses and assisting with the selection of the state’s Olympic Development Program teams.
Gary is married to the former Jean Daughtrey, a 1990 graduate of Barton College. They have a son, Andrew, born in 1994, and a daughter, Ashley, born in 1998.
Upon his retirement as Barton’s head soccer coach, Gary stated, “My memories of the wide variety of experiences I have had in soccer in North Carolina are so positive, particularly in the sense of how the sport has grown and how our state now produces so many successful players. I was fortunate to play on great school, select and college teams as the sport was emerging and those experiences clearly played a role in motivating me to become a coach. When I began as assistant coach with the Wake Forest program, there was only one in-state player starting for an Atlantic Coast Conference team. That made a distinct impression on me and as a guy who learned the sport in North Carolina it bothered me that in-state players were so under-appreciated. I vowed to recruit North Carolinians when my opportunity came as a head coach and I’m gratified to look back to see that so many in-state players were key performers for my teams at Lenoir-Rhyne, Campbell, and Barton.” Billy Joe Morgan, a member of the NC Soccer Hall of Fame agreed, saying, “In the 1980’s, Gary made countless trips at his own expense to Jacksonville to give free clinics for our program. He was one of the first college coaches to give our kids a chance to play college soccer.”