Often, to be inducted into a hall of fame in your field, you have to retire.
Well, Al Wallace retired in 2006. But he's never stopped coaching.
The former Beaufort High and Battery Creek boys and girls track and field coach wil be inducted, nontheless, to the S.C. Track and Cross Country Coaches Association Hall of Fame on Saturday at the Bob Jenkins SCTCCCA Coaches Classic track meet at Spring Valley High School in Columbia.
"It's well deserved," Beaufort High athletics director Jerry Linn said. "He's been around here a long time. I'm proud of him."
The honor was unexpected, at least to Wallace.
"Coach Glaze called me about a month ago and told me I had been chosen," Wallace said. "It was totally unexpected."
A 1972 Beaufort High graduate and Eagles Hall of Fame athlete, Wallace went on to run track and play football at The Citadel.
After college, he returned to Beaufort County and began a 31-year run as a physical education teacher at St. Helena Elementary School and a head track and assistant football coach at Battery Creek and Beaufort High.
After working at Battery Creek from 1976 to 1987, Wallace took over as head track and field coach at Beaufort High from 1987 to 2003. While with the Eagles, he worked under head football coaches Greg Hall, Richard Brady, Chuck Mars and David Pratt.
After finishing second in 1989, Wallace led the Eagles to the 1990 Class 3-A state championship, the 13th, and so far last, boys track championship in school history.
"That was the year that Beaufort High won and Battery Creek was second and Hilton Head was third," Wallace said. "That was pretty amazing."
Wallace returned to Battery Creek in 2003, assisiting Andy Smith on the football field and coaching the boys and girls track teams before retiring in 2006.
But even in retirement, Wallace can't stay away.
"I still help out with track, help run their meets," Wallace said of Beaufort High. "if they need some advice on a kid, I look at them. I enjoy working with the young people and seeing the impovement that they make. Being aroud them working, seeing them do well."
According to Linn, Wallace has been known to help run a meet, even when employed by a rival school.
"I don't get the rival syndrome," Wallace said. "It doesen't matter what school a kid goes to. if i see somethig I can help them with, I will. Because it's all about coaching. It doesn't matter what school they go to. That's the great thing about track, it's one big family."
Beaufort High's A team will compete Saturday at the Coaches Classic, and several Beaufort County coaches, past and present, will be on hand for Wallace's induction.
Though retired, Wallace is still busy helping out with Beaufort High's track teams and coaching the Eagles' JV baseball team.
He said he has just one regret about his coaching career.
"If I ha to do it again, I'd work a lot more for a lot less pay," Wallace said, laughing.
WRESTLING NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS
Eight area wrestlers are taking part in the 25th annual NHSCA High School Wrestling Championship to be held Friday through Sunday at the Virginia Beach Convention Center.
In the senior division, Bluffton's Levy Joly (106 pounds) and Mike Meyerink (132) will compete, while Hilton Head Island's Matt Levy (120) and Brock Massey (132) will wrestle.
Sophomores William Spann of Beaufort High (120), Talon Seitz of Bluffton (138) and Martin Duane of Hilton Head Island (182), along with middle schooler James Roberts (119) will compete, as well.