AIKEN - Aiken High School's David Barksdale choose his health over the game he loves.
The boys basketball coach, who has been on sick leave since Feb. 9, resigned as head coach and teacher due to health reasons Tuesday, according to school officials.
"When he left here a week (ago) last Friday, he was sick," principal Joe Padget said. "Between his illness and whatever else is going on, he felt this was the best thing."
As for Tuesday's games, Aiken gave interim coach Vic Lancaster his first varsity win as the Hornets defeated North Augusta 70-56. The Lady Hornets defeated the Lady Yellow Jackets 52-30 to remain in third place in Region 3-AAAA at the James A. Taylor Activities Center.
Lancaster, who has been interim coach since Feb. 9, will be at the helm Friday, when the Hornets conclude their regular season against Airport.
Athletics director Mike Crawford received formal word of Barksdale's resignation Tuesday morning.
"I don't think we'll find a finer teacher of the game than David," Crawford said. "I'm sorry things didn't work out for him."
A Furman University graduate, Barksdale coached at Ridge Spring-Monetta and Orangeburg-Wilkinson before winning five state championships in West Virginia. Barksdale was hired to replace Pat Keating, who resigned as head coach after last season.
Barksdale did not return messages left at his home Tuesday evening.
Padget and Crawford said Barksdale was willing to help anyone who wanted to learn and play basketball.
"I'm sorry that things didn't work out and I'm sorry that his health got in the shape that it did," Padget said. "He's doing what he thinks is in the best interest of his health."
When Barksdale left, Aiken was 7-14, and uncertainty loomed over the Hornets basketball program.
"Its been very hard on the kids," Lancaster said. "The kids were limbo and didn't know if he was coming back. Today, they found out."
Padget said that once the regular season concludes, the position will open and a search for a new head coach will begin.
Reach Miguelangelo Hernandez at (706) 823-3304.