Greg Hall created a high standard for his Beaufort County students and football players and held them to it with a tough, fair demeanor.
He helped raise two daughters who graduated at the top of their high school classes and taught them compassion. He was married almost four decades.
Hall, the former Beaufort High School football coach and longtime math teacher at Lady's Island and Beaufort middle schools, died Thursday of a heart attack at his home on St. Helena Island. He was 60.
During five football seasons at Beaufort High School from 1988-1992, Hall won three region championships. As a math teacher, his students' test scores were among the best in the county.
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The honors algebra program Hall helped start at Lady's Island Middle was adopted county-wide, said Hall's wife of 38 years, Nancy. At Beaufort Middle, Hall was chairman of the math department and athletics director before retiring after 34 years teaching.
He asked for full effort and didn't accept accolades when it paid off, Nancy said.
"He really devoted his life to kids and got them to see the world is a huge place and they could be anything they want to be," said Hall's daughter, Dana, who was salutatorian at Battery Creek High School two years after her sister, Amy, finished at the top of the class.
When a new teacher started at Beaufort Middle School from another part of the country, Hall treated the teacher like family, Beaufort Middle principal Carole Ingram said.
"He meant all business, but he had a heart of gold when it came to helping kids, helping colleagues," Ingram said.
Hall was a standout football player and successful coach. A scholarship player at Southwestern College in Kansas, Hall became one of the youngest graduate assistants in the country when he went to work at Wichita State on a staff with Jim Wright and Phil Fulmer, Nancy said.
At Beaufort High, Hall's tough style made him a memorable coach. He was known to ask players to don full pads on game days after school and conduct full-contact drills, said Mike Rentz Jr., whom Hall hired as Beaufort Middle football coach and whose father coached with Hall at Beaufort High.
Scott Mullen, who played quarterback for Hall four years at Beaufort High, remembered the coach as the meanest guy on the field but one who treated players as sons.
"He earned his respect, there's no doubt" Mullen said. "His commitment on the field was infectious."
Able Simmons, a former Beaufort High offensive lineman, said Hall stressed a regular weight-training program and remembered the coach picking up and dropping off players in his van to ensure they made summer workouts. With Hall's motivation and lessons about commitment, Simmons said, he made the football team at Oklahoma and earned multiple degrees.
Hall was didn't play favorites, Simmons said.
"He pushed us in a way that was going to benefit each of us individually," Simmons said by phone from his home in Sweden. "You can't put a price on that."
Follow reporter Stephen Fastenau at twitter.com/IPBG_Stephen.
- There's more to life than football and the sports page, Sept. 27, 2008