Glen Roberson walked away from coaching and teaching on Tuesday after 29 years.
The county's teachers are eligible for retirement after 30 years. Roberson, Stallings Island Middle School's basketball coach and a former longtime teacher and coach at Riverside Middle, bridged the difference with 180 sick days.
His newfound freedom will give him the opportunity to work on his hobby -- art.
"I'd honestly just like to teach a half day and go home," Roberson said. "I've got a studio. I'd love to get in it and produce some artwork."
Roberson coached his final two games Tuesday at home against Columbia Middle. His RedHawks split with a girls win and a boys loss.
Between games, Roberson was honored with a glass plaque, as Casey Heckathorn, the school's athletic director, read the highlights of the 57-year-old's resume
When Roberson was fresh into his first teaching job at Harlem High School in 1975, he was hauled to the office along with other students after trying to break up a fight. Roberson stayed at Harlem for four years, teaching art and coaching.
He took a brief sabbatical from education to work as a photographer for yearbook giant Herff Jones. The job paid better, but required Roberson to be on the road more than he liked. His wife, mother and father all were teachers. He was drawn back in.
"I was missing my family and everything," Roberson said. "It was a big decision, but I feel like I was destined to teach."
Roberson spent 17 years at Riverside Middle and served as the athletic director while coaching a variety of sports. He also taught art.
When Stallings Island opened on Blackstone Camp Road, Roberson was initially torn about leaving Riverside. But Riverside Principal Don Putnam was leaving for Stallings Island, and Roberson embraced the opportunity to open a new school.
He traded places with Heckathorn, who worked under Roberson while Roberson served as AD at Riverside.
"I was hoping Casey would take over," Roberson said. "I didn't need to be the one raising the money and doing everything if I was going to leave."
Estimates between games Tuesday put Roberson's coaching totals at 712 games, more than 1,500 athletes and nearly 500 wins, although he thinks the win total might surpass 500 because of the way records were kept when he started coaching.
Some of Roberson's former players and colleagues were on hand for his final game, including some from more than 20 years ago. A sign hanging on the wall thanked him for 30 years of coaching and was signed by Stallings Island pupils.
"Today was kind of different from all the other ones," Roberson said. "You didn't think you'd feel any different. It sure has been a fun trip."
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