Coach John Worley To Retire At Hickory


HICKORY — John Worley is retiring after nearly 30 years in athletics at Hickory High, according to the Hickory Daily Record.

Worley and the Hickory Public Schools have announced he’ll retire effective February 29. He will end a 28-year career that featured coaching girls’ softball, boys’ basketball and football teams at Hickory to 445 victories. He is also Hickory’s athletic director.

“Hickory Public Schools has been very good to me,” Worley, 51, said in a press release. “This is not a career change – it’s simply time for me to retire. I am young enough to enjoy life and try other things.”

Worley is a 1983 graduate of Lenoir-Rhyne University. During his career at Hickory, he has served as drop-out prevention counselor, an athletic trainer, an assistant basketball and football coach and as head coach in softball, boys’ basketball and football during his career.

Worley became the football head coach in 2003, replacing David Elder, and coached the Red Tornadoes for nine seasons.

Last season, Hickory went 8-4-1. That pushed Worley’s career record to 72-36-1 and all nine of his teams reached the state playoffs.

He replaced Hal Boliek as head boys’ basketball coach in 1994-95 and led Hickory to one of its best stretches in recent history. In nine seasons, Worley’s basketball teams went 191-60 and his 1995-96 and 1996-97 teams both won West 3A titles and played for the state 3A championship.

As a softball coach, Worley guided the Red Tornadoes to a 182-78 record, two league titles, and three appearances in the state championships in Raleigh.

“Coach Worley has given many years of service to Hickory High students and community,” Hickory Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Walter Hart said in the press release. “His record as a winning coach is topped only by the care that he demonstrates for the many students he has worked with through the years.

“I wish him much happiness in his retirement and thank him for the positive impact he has made on the lives of young people. He may retire, but he will always be a Red Tornado.”

Hickory will now go back into the market for a head football coach for the fourth time since the late Frank Barger coached his final team in 1984. Larry Wittenberg, Bob Hanna and David Elder followed Barger as Red Tornadoes head football coaches.