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Bulldogs' Huneycutt set to retire

Thomasville’s Woody Huneycutt coaches during the 2007-08 basketball season. (Photo by Donnie Roberts/The Dispatch)

For Woody Huneycutt, Thomasville high school has been his home away from home for more than 30 years.

At the end of this school year, he can focus on his other home.

Huneycutt, 56, has announced he will retire from the school as a teacher and athletic director at the end of the school year. He came to the school that he graduated from as a teacher in 1981, and has served in many coaching capacities over the years. He has been the school’s athletic director the past 13 years; the school also announced Thursday that Steve Bare, who is now the athletic director at the middle school, will succeed Huneycutt.

“I’ve been basically around this campus since the fall of ‘71,” Huneycutt said Thursday. “Thomasville’s home.

“I’ve been here, didn’t really want to go anywhere else. I was fortunate to have gotten a job here, George Cushwa hired me. And I worked side-by-side with Allen (Brown) in the gym here for 20 years before he retired. It’s been a special place for me.”

Bare graduated from Appalachian State in 1991, and spent the first part of his teaching career in Guilford County schools. He came to Thomasville Middle three years ago, and has served as the athletic director there since his arrival.

Huneycutt praised Cushwa and Brown for the foundation they laid for the Bulldogs for the last six decades. That’s not lost on Bare. “You know, when they told me I got the job, I realized there’s only been three guys that have sat in that chair in the last 60 years,” Bare said. “So that’s a pretty daunting group of men to try to follow behind.

“And, Coach Huneycutt, in the three years that I’ve known him, I’ve never met a finer guy.”

Bare professed his interest for sports, both professionally and as a fan. He said that love for the competition was a driving force behind his pursuit of becoming an athletic director. “As I was getting older, I was really intrigued by the opportunity to have an impact with all of the athletic programs, rather than just the teams that I was coaching at the time,” Bare said.

Bare said he spoke with his wife, and decided to apply for the job. At age 44, he has plenty of time to make a positive impact across the board for the Bulldogs.

Aside from his work as an athletic director, Huneycutt will leave an incredible legacy behind as a coach at Thomasville. He has worked with teams in nearly every sport during his 32-year tenure at the school, but he made his biggest mark as coach of the boys’ basketball coach. His teams won five state championships in an 11-year span, a run that featured some top-notch athletes and top-notch coaching.

He decided to step down as basketball coach after the 2007-08 season when the rigors and paperwork of being athletic director made it nearly impossible to balance with coaching. Now, that won’t be a factor at all.

He said he lives within walking distance of the school, and will be available whenever he is needed. But he will enjoy freedoms that he hasn’t enjoyed essentially his entire adult life. “I can come to ballgames at kickoff and leave right when they’re over if I want to,” he said. “Those kind of things will be nice.”

He is also looking forward to catching up on some family time. His wife, Susan, has been “very tolerant” of his work schedule over the years, so he can do some things around the house that he hasn’t always been able to do. And, both of his daughters — Kristen and Kyndal — are living in Greenville, so he can travel to see them from time to time.

While he won’t miss the time restraints, travel and work load, he will certainly miss the connection he has enjoyed with the students, co-workers and members of the community. “I’ve really enjoyed it,” he said. “I know the people, like the people, like the school. It’s been real rewarding for me to be here.”

Jason Queen can be reached at 249-3981, ext. 220 or