Stratford football coach's emotional goodbye

      By Dean Stephens

      GOOSE CREEK, S.C. (WCIV) -- Stratford Head Coach Ray Stackley is moving on.

      The coach held a press conference Friday after announcing his retirement on Thursday.

      He was a coach who led by example, coached with passions and had his emotions sewn into his sleeve. And he conducted his final press conference the same way.

      It started with heartfelt handshakes but soon turned into an emotional farewell.

      "I miss it. I miss relationships with players and coaches," he said. "Everyone has to retire. Everyone has to do it on their own terms, if they are lucky. I'm a lucky person because I do it on my own terms."

      "We all gonna retire at one time," he added. "We gonna retire from a job or we gonna retire like this flat to the ground in the graves. I'd like to get out before that happens to me," he added.

      For three decades, Coach Stackley's terms were simple - turn football players into successful men.

      "We got a player here now who's a decorated war veteran, West Point graduate, four-year starter - many other examples like that," he said.

      Stackley is not leaving because he lost his love for coaching. He is leaving because his heart-strings are now being pulled by four grandchildren.

      "My wife raised my two kids because I was building my career. I want to give back to them what I couldn't give to my kids," said Stackley. "Be the best granddaddy in the world. And I'm heading that way."

      Stackley's son Josh played for his father and was nicknamed 'The Rock.' But anyone who knows this family knows his wife Lane is the real rock.

      A search for Stackley's replacement starts immediately.