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Scott's Branch hires LR's Barr as head football coach, AD

By DENNIS BRUNSON
dennis@theitem.com
Posted 5/21/20

The trajectory most people follow in whatever career they choose is to move on to something bigger. Rodney Barr is taking a bit of a different route.

Barr, the football head coach at 4A/3A Lower Richland High School the past four years, recently …

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Scott's Branch hires LR's Barr as head football coach, AD

Posted

The trajectory most people follow in whatever career they choose is to move on to something bigger. Rodney Barr is taking a bit of a different route.

Barr, the football head coach at 4A/3A Lower Richland High School the past four years, recently resigned from that post and is now the new football head coach and athletic director at 1A Scott's Branch in Summerton.

"Just being in a position where I can be in charge of everything is just very appealing to me," said the 40-year-old Barr, who was an assistant AD at LR. "I know people say why did he go from a 4A/3A school to a 1A school, but football's football. Certain aspects will definitely change in relation to the numbers and so forth, but I'm excited about the opportunity."

Barr was 20-27 during his time at Lower Richland. After going 0-10 in his first season, the Diamond Hornets went 20-17 over the next three years. That included winning two region titles and posting an 8-5 record this past season.

Barr was offered the head job at Wando, the largest high school in the state, last month, but it didn't include the AD job. He declined to replace former Sumter High School football player Jimmy Noonan, who stepped down after 12 years at Wando and is now the head coach at Georgetown.

Barr said he is leaving LR in good shape and left of his own volition. He was just looking for another opportunity.

"The Scott's Branch offer kind of came out of the blue," he said. "It wasn't a situation where I was pushed out of LR, anything like that. We've had some good successes over the past four seasons. We won two region championships, (had) the first winning season in 25 years, so things were looking up."

Barr takes over for Leonard Johnson, who was 3-9 in his only season in his second stint at Scott's Branch. The job was open to applicants due to the fact that Johnson is a retiree, and the decision was made to offer the job to Barr.

In his first stint at Scott's Branch, Johnson led the Eagles to 1A Division II state championships in 2008 and 2010 after taking over in the midst of a 32-game losing streak.

Johnson, who came back to Scott's Branch after a 6-year absence, had no comment on the situation.

Barr will be the fourth head coach at Scott's Branch in four seasons. He plans to gain the trust of the players and the community.

"I feel like I can go into a place and help it grow," "Everywhere I've been I've always felt like I've left it in a better situation than it was before. I feel like I can come in and bring a lot of my experience and beliefs to infiltrate into the Scott's Branch community and just make it a better place, athletically and overall."

Before coming to Lower Richland, Barr spent three seasons as head coach and athletic director at Overhills High School in Spring Lake, North Carolina. He was 14-22 there.

Barr, who will be moving his family to Sumter, is originally from Florence. He sent to Wilson High and played football and baseball at Shaw University.

After graduating from Shaw, Barr came back to his alma mater where he was the baseball head coach and the defensive coordinator on the football team for eight seasons.