If you’ve ever cramped up, sprained or pulled something, or got knocked silly while wearing the colors of Rock Hill during the last three decades, chances are Walter ‘Doc’ Gainey laid healing hands upon you. When Gainey takes the field Friday night at District 3 Stadium for the Bearcats’ game with Conway, it’ll be his 30th season of roaming the sidelines as the school’s athletic trainer.
“It’s a passion,” Gainey said Wednesday at the Bearcats’ afternoon football practice. “It allows me to come to work and do what I love to do. There’s some folks who don’t have that ability, have that feeling.”
Gainey’s wife, Cathi, said her husband has missed one Rock Hill High School football game since 1984. The reason? The birth of son Benjamin.
“We were playing Spartanburg at Spartanburg and I did not go,” Gainey remembers. “I had somebody else go in my place and I had the athletic director at Spartanburg look after our boys. My son was born, and that was a great joy.”
Rock Hill athletics director Bill Warren, a certified athletic trainer himself and the president of the state’s organization of high school athletic trainers, said Gainey welcomed him with open arms when Warren arrived at Northwestern High School in 1994.
“Back in ’94 he sort of took me by the hand and showed me the way here in Rock Hill,” Warren said. “He introduced me to all the doctors and showed me how he ran his program and I kind of modeled my program after his.”
Gainey mentors Winthrop students learning to be athletic trainers and has also been integral in updating the district’s concussion policy. He said one of the biggest changes during his 30 years is the increased awareness of concussions, saying “it’s been a lot of learning for all of us.” The size and physical development of teenagers has increased since Gainey started too.
Through all of the developments, Gainey has showed up each day and treated or prevented injury to high school students.
“He’s just done an overall great job,” said Warren. “He’s one of the most respected athletic trainers in the state.”
Five questions with...
South Pointe senior offensive tackle Whit McGuirt
Q: South Pointe had a really big, good offensive line last year and lost some of those guys. How is it going so far this year filling in those gaps?
We’ve got a new offensive line coach, coach Zap (Zapolnik); man he works us. We’re working every day in practice. We lift weights, we’ve been busting our butts, really. We just want to be great and go back to the state championship. Coach Zap told us at the beginning of the year what we had to do if we wanted to win, and we’re just trying to impress him, impress the fans, week in and week out.
Q: As a lineman would you rather block on a running play or a passing play?
I’d say a running play. I like to put my nose in there, get off the ball. Old school.
Q: What’s the hardest class period of the day to be attentive and stay focused?
I’d say my third block: I have math. After third block I have lunch, and I’m always looking for lunch, so that’s probably my hardest class to pay attention, real hungry. But I push through.
Q: Which, in your opinion, is more lame: Facebook, Instagram or Twitter?
That’s a hard one. I don’t have Twitter, so I’d say Facebook is probably the lamest now. All the younger kids, even younger than me, my little sister, she’s in seventh grade, she goes to Sullivan, they all think Twitter and Instagram; so I guess Facebook, that’s for the old folks.
Sorry to all the old folks. I still have one, I still have one.
Q: South Carolina or Clemson?
Go Tigers, baby. Clemson all the way.
Neil Williams snags
pick against Duke
N.C. Central’s football season hasn’t gotten off to a great start, though that’s not entirely the case for former Chester defensive end Neil Williams. Now playing linebacker for the Eagles, Williams, a redshirt sophomore, made two tackles and intercepted a pass last Saturday in the season opener versus Duke. Central lost 45-0, only weeks after coach Henry Frazier III was fired after being charged with violating a domestic violence protective order.
Williams, 6-foot-2, 220-pounds, was a standout for Maurice Flowers at Chester. He played in the 2010 North-South All-Star game under Lancaster coach Bennie McMurray and was named All-State his senior year.
N.C. Central, picked to finish fourth in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, faces Saint Augustine’s on Saturday.
Dupree Hart gets offer from Appalachian State
Northwestern’s pint-sized terror Dupree Hart picked up a football scholarship offer from Appalachian State on Tuesday. The offer is the junior’s second after Coastal Carolina offered him a baseball/football package deal earlier this summer.
Hart has 16 catches for 130 yards and a touchdown in two games for the Trojans this fall, after leading Kyle Richardson’s team in catches (103) and receiving yardage (1,180) last season as a sophomore.
McCormick: • 329-4032; Twitter: @BretJust1T