Gray leaving Brookhaven Academy

Published 6:33 pm Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Barry Gray’s 16-year tenure as Brookhaven Academy girlsbasketball coach has come to an end. Gray submitted his resignationto BA headmaster Mike Sumlin Monday morning, thus ending anear-legendary coaching career with the Lady Cougars.

Gray, 48, a 1981 BA graduate, directed the Lady Cougars to sixstate tournament championships and two MAIS Overall Tournamenttitles, the latest in 2011. He has accumulated over 800 wins in his26-year coaching career.

A strong Christian who never hesitates to share his faith, Graysaid, “I feel like the Lord is leading me. He has re-convicted meto make a step of faith.”

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Gray said he has several coaching opportunities but nothing hasbeen settled. “We don’t have an exact place to go but I feel likewe will be going to a spot where we can make a difference.”

Sumlin said Gray would be dearly missed. “His legacy speaks foritself. He has banners hanging all over the gym. Barry is going outon top. He’s looking for the Lord to lead him in a newdirection.”

Sumlin said the school would work quickly to replace Gray with thebest possible candidate. “We have to move on and do the best wecan.” He said a selection committee has been formed.

“We already have received some resumes,” said Sumlin. “We hope tohave a new coach in the next few weeks.”

During his 16 years at BA, Gray has forged an outstandingbasketball program. His Lady Cougars are annual state titlecontenders. They have won 12 of the last 13 district championshipsand 11 of 12 South State titles.

Relying on a relentless, full-court pressure defense, the LadyCougars boasted few superstars over the years but relied heavily onteam play. For the past few years, Gray has conducted practice at6:30 each morning, prior to classes.

“I want to thank all of the athletes who dedicated themselves tomaking Brookhaven Academy a top-notch program,” said Gray. “It’sbeen fun, a neat experience.

Before each game, Gray conducted a time of devotion, usually led byplayers. Gospel music was featured in the dressing room before andafter games.

Gray thanked the school’s administration and fans for theirenthusiastic support. “I want to thank all the people who helpedour players grow and mature in Christ.”

Gray’s final edition finished 31-4. The Lady Cougars were Class AAstate runners-up to Leake Academy for a second straight year butthey made a recommitment entering the Overall Tournament anddefeated three straight AAA opponents, beating favored JacksonAcademy 54-44 in the finals.

“I’ll always bleed blue and white, wherever I go,” said Gray. “I’vehad the opportunity to work with some really great coaches and I’velearned a lot.”

Gray oversaw the girls basketball program and began coaching themin the seventh grade, with the assistance of his wife, Lindy, aformer BA standout herself. He also coached the BA junior highfootball team and worked with the varsity football team as aspotter in the press box.

Gray won several junior high football championships during histenure. He was part of the Herbert Davis staff that won a statefootball title in 2009.

Gray also coached BA’s golf team for several years. The Cougars wonthe AA State Tournament last week at The Refuge Golf Club inFlowood.

His wife teaches tutorial and special education atEnterprise-Lincoln.

“I appreciate Lindy so much,” said Gray. “She has been a greatasset to me and we are excited about the future.”

The Grays have two children; Alan, age 22; and Alex, 15, a BAsophomore who just won a state singles championship.

Gray’s father, John R. Gray, was a headmaster and coach at BA forover 25 years. The gymnasium is named in his honor. Barry’s olderbrother, Ricky, is boys basketball coach at Parklane Academy.

Gray is an Ole Miss graduate and a biology major. He is continuingwork towards a master’s degree in education.