Longtime PHS coach Isaacs headed to state hall of fame

PICKENS — Legendary Pickens High football coach Bill Isaacs will be one of eight men inducted into the South Carolina Athletic Coaches Association Hall of Fame next month.
Isaacs’ 28-year tenure at Pickens spanned from 1965 to 1993. During those 28 years, Isaacs tackled a variety of positions, ranging from teacher to athletic director and assistant principal. In addition to football, Isaacs also coached basketball and softball for the Blue Flame.
However, it is Isaacs’ accomplishments as a coach on the gridiron that will allow him to take his place in the spotlight, honored as one of the state’s all-time greats.
“I just don’t know how to express it,” Isaacs said. “I feel like it’s an honor for the kids and the coaches that I had as much as it is for me. They probably did as much work as I did. Maybe more.
“I believe my biggest accomplishment would have to be surviving coaching that long,” Isaacs recalled, laughing.
During his football coaching career, Isaacs’ Blue Flame team won 181 games, including a remarkable 57 straight regular-season games from 1969 to 1975.
For Isaacs, however, the wins are not what immediately come to mind upon reflecting on his coaching days at PHS.
“I have a lot of pleasant memories and a lot of bad memories from my coaching experience,” he said. “I remember the losses more than I remember the wins.”
Among Isaacs’ fondest memories of coaching at Pickens High were the fans that would come out to support the football team at their games.
“They were there every Friday night, and I don’t think we’ve ever played anyone, with maybe the exception of Easley, at their place that had more fans than us,” Isaacs said. “Even at Seneca, which was always our biggest rivalry, we had more fans than them. Our fans followed us.”
Isaacs’ impact in the Pickens community is still felt today, so many have expressed their pleasure with his selection to the state hall of fame.
Current Pickens High athletic director Steve Corn is among those who have been influenced by Isaacs and are delighted with his upcoming induction.
“He is one of the reasons that I do what I do today,” Corn said. “I’ve been coaching for 31 years, and the athletic director at Pickens for 11 years. I appreciate what he has done for all of the people who were fortunate enough to play for him.”
Isaacs retired due to health concerns in 1993, but says his health is better now than in the last 20 years or so. Isaacs feels so much better in fact that he joked with his wife that he would like to attempt to apply for a coaching job in the near future.
“He would be in jail in less than two weeks,” said Peggy, Isaacs’ wife, referring to the ever-changing generations along with his tough coaching style.
If there is one thing Isaacs is proud of in his coaching career, it is remaining in one place for so long.
“I had a lot of opportunities to move…. I had a chance to go to Gaffney along with several other places, and I always looked at what I had coming back,” said Isaacs.
“I love this place,” he said.
Isaacs will be inducted into the SCACA Hall of Fame July 24 at the Carolina First Center in Greenville.