A native of China Grove, North Carolina, the late Frank Barger was an outstanding athlete at China Grove High School, serving as captain of both the football and baseball teams his senior year. He went from there to Lenoir-Rhyne College, where he earned all-North State Conference honors three years in football during a career interrupted by 42 months of military service. After a one-year stint at Mineral Springs High in Forsyth County, Barger began his tremendously successful coaching career at Hickory High which spanned 1949 through 1985. That included 31 years as head football coach in which his Red Tornadoes won 12 conference championships and three Western North Carolina High School Activities Association (WNCHSAA) crowns. His career coaching mark in football was an amazing 273-120-5. Barger coached a number of other sports at Hickory. From 1950 to '53, he coached baseball and won three league titles in those four seasons. As girls' basketball coach, he guided his teams to three conference titles, from 1949 through '65. His track teams won 11 conference titles and four WNCHSAA championships during his 19-year stint at the helm in that sport. And in golf, from 1974 through '85, his teams won three conference titles and three sectional championships. A former member of the Board of Directors of both the North Carolina High School Athletic Association and the North Carolina Coaches Association, Barger coached in various all-star football games on seven different occasions. He was inducted into the Lenoir-Rhyne College Sports Hall of Fame in 1979 and the Hickory High football stadium now bears his name.
July 8, 2019