Perry Woolbright leaving Lexington High for football coaching job at Clover

Perry Woolbright has had success in coaching stops in the Grand Strand and the Midlands.

Now, the Lexington High football coach is headed to the Rock Hill area to be the next head coach at Clover High School.

Woolbright replaces Brian Lane, who left to take the Westside football job.

Woolbright met with his Lexington players Tuesday morning to announce his move. An introductory press conference was planned for 3 p.m. Tuesday in Clover.

“This is the longest I have been anywhere, almost seven years,” Woolbright said. “So, looking them in the face was tough. They are like my sons. Some I have known since the fifth grade. Those relationships will always be there. .... But these kids are tough and there is a good foundation. They are tight-knit and will do good job sticking together until the new coach gets there.”

Woolbright said he will juggle both jobs for next couple weeks but hopes to be at Clover full-time by the end of February. His sons Brody and Bradyn, who play football, should be at their new school in time for spring practice.

It’s not yet known if any of his assistant coaches from Lexington will also come to Clover, he said.

Woolbright was making $106,587 annually as Lexington’s football coach and athletic director and Lane was making $97,7294 at Clover, according to a public records search of the state’s high school football coaches’ salaries.

Woolbright has ties to Clover. His father, Marty Woolbright, was head coach there from 1993-97 and won 10 games in the 1995 season. Perry also graduated from Clover in 2001. He also has family members who teach or go to school at Clover.

The draw of going to a familiar place was a big factor, Woolbright said.

Woolbright just finished his sixth season at Lexington and led the Wildcats to five playoff appearances during that span. Lexington was 17-6 over the past two seasons and was 38-25 during his tenure. The 17 wins were the most in a two-year span at the school since 2015-16 under Josh Stepp, who Woolbright replaced at Lexington.

The Wildcats were 9-3 this season, made it to the second round of the playoffs this year, had a Mr. Football finalist in running back Jonah Norris and six all-state selections.

Before Lexington, Woolbright coached at North Myrtle Beach and Batesburg-Leesville. He led B-L to the Class 2A championship game in 2016 and had a nine-win season in his final year at NMB in 2013. That was NMB’s most victories in a season since 2002.. He has a career record of 78-66 in 13 seasons as head coach.

“Coach Woolbright is an outstanding addition to our football program and athletic department. He has demonstrated success at multiple schools in South Carolina and is well-respected within South Carolina high school football circles,” Clover AD Bailey Jackson said in a statement. “His experiences from high school to college make him a great choice for Clover High School.”

Clover is located northwest of Rock Hill. They compete in Region 3 of Class 5A along with Blythewood, Fort Mill, Nations Ford, Rock Hill and Spring Valley. Clover was 6-5 this year and finished behind Blythewood in the region. The Eagles will return two of their top players in quarterback Jaylon Hoover and receiver Dion Brown.

The Lexington job should create a lot interest because of the tradition and the pay. The Wildcats also return all-state quarterback Taiden Mines.

Woolbright’s departure leaves the Midlands with five coaching vacancies — Lexington, Spring Valley, Heathwood Hall, Eau Claire and Columbia.

Spring Valley is expected to bring its new coach for approval at next week’s Richland 2 board meeting.

SC High School Football openings

School — Former School — New Coach

  • Aiken — Olajuwon Paige — TBA

  • Berea — Julius Prince — Drew Chisholm

  • Berkeley — Jerry Brown — TBA

  • Clover — Brian Lane — Perry Woolbright

  • Colleton County — Kris Howell — Adam Kinloch

  • Columbia — Jason Bush — TBA

  • Conway — Carlton Terry — TBA

  • Darlington — Raymond Jennings — Jamie Johnson

  • Dillon Christian — Christian Wolfe — Donell Stanley

  • Eau Claire — Shaq Hilton — TBA

  • First Baptist — Johnny Waters — Jamaal Birch

  • Fort Dorchester — Steve LaPrad — TBA

  • Georgetown — Jimmy Noonan — Bradley Adams

  • Green Sea Floyds — Joey Price — Patrick Martin

  • Hanahan — Art Craig — Milan Turner

  • Hannah-Pamplico — Jamie Johnson — Trey Woodberry

  • Heathwood Hall — Danny Lewis — TBA

  • Landrum — Jason Farmer — TBA

  • Lexington — Perry Woolbright — TBA

  • May River — Rodney Summers — TBA

  • Mullins — John Williams — TBA

  • North Central — Tyronne Drakeford — Ryan McDonnell (interim)

  • North Charleston — Devon Smalls — TBA

  • Orangeburg Prep — Andy Palmer — Don Shelley

  • Pickens — Chad Smith — James Reynolds

  • Spring Valley — Robin Bacon — TBA

  • Thomas Heyward — Nic Shuford — TBA

  • Walhalla — Padgett Johnson — TBA

  • Ware Shoals — Chris Johnston — Chris Dodson

  • Westside — Scott Earley — Brian Lane

  • Williamsburg Academy — Don Shelley — Tyler Boyd

  • Woodmont — Jeff Murdock — Ty Sutherland

  • Woodruff — Bradley Adams — TBA

  • Wren — Jeff Tate — TBA