Former coworkers at South View High School and friends from the education community remember McKinley “Macky” Hall Jr. as a devoted supporter of education who had a strong loyalty to his many friends in the South View school district. Hall, a former football coach, Hope Mills political leader and longtime school board member, died earlier this month at the age of 85.
Bobby Poss was head football coach at South View during Hall’s final years as the school’s athletic director. He had a special nickname for Hall no one else used, calling him Tiger One.
“He was so encouraging and supportive,’’ said Poss, who guided the Tigers to their only state 4-A football championship in the fall of 1991. “He was a great administrator but also a very good friend. That’s all he tried to do, be a helper. He was thinking and the wheels were turning.’’
When Poss arrived at South View in 1989, the school had never made the North Carolina High School Athletic Association football playoffs in its previous 17 years.
Poss was placing his first equipment order with Hall, and Hall asked if there was anything missing. Poss told Hall that at his previous job at Seventy-First, he always ordered new socks for his team to wear in the state playoffs.
“South View had never been to the playoffs, but Macky said we better order playoff socks,’’ Poss recalled. South View finished the 1989 season 9-4 and won the first two state football playoff games in school history.
“We ordered playoff socks and we got to wear them,’’ Poss said. “That was an example of the kind of encouraging he can do for a guy.’’
Poss said Hall did the same for other South View coaching legends like Randy Ledford, Ron Miller and Eddie Dees.
“I don’t think a coach ever felt slighted by Macky,’’ Poss said. “He was the first all-in guy before it became a popular term.’’
Greg West served with Hall on the Cumberland County Board of Education. He called Hall a pleasure to work with and someone who cared deeply about schools, both the buildings and the people in them.
“He didn’t raise his voice, and he spoke to the point and spoke his mind,’’ West said. “He wasn’t confrontational. He worked with people to try to talk you into seeing it his way.’’
Current South View athletic director Chad Barbour first got to know Hall five years ago when Barbour took over the position. Though retired, Barbour said Hall continued to show support for the schools, and especially South View.
“Anything you look at as far as South View athletics and the success we’ve had in the past is basically a direct reflection of his efforts here as athletic director,’’ Barbour said. “He was the engineer behind that great state championship run.’’
Over a period of about a half-dozen years just before and after Hall stepped down as South View athletic director, the Tigers won state championships in baseball, football, boys golf, boys basketball and softball.
“He got the right coaches in place, gave them what they needed, and they built somewhat of a dynasty through his leadership,’’ Barbour said. “That carried over for many years.’’
Even after his health began to fail, Barbour said, Hall was a regular at South View home football games and was instrumental in getting the school a larger, modernized press box. Unsuccessful attempts have been made to have the press box named in Hall’s honor.
“He held South View very near and dear to his heart,’’ Barbour said.
Former Cumberland County Schools student activities director Fred McDaniel coached with Hall when the latter was head football coach at Terry Sanford in the mid-1970s.
“He was really an advocate for kids,’’ McDaniel said. “As a board member, he was concerned with athletes, not so much winning and losing, but our integrity, making kids do the right thing. He worked hard for kids and their well-being, giving them the best opportunity.’’
Hope Mills Mayor Jackie Warner followed Hall's work as athletic director at South View and recalled he was a familiar fixture at town events, athletic fields and restaurants.
“He was involved in the community beyond being on the school board,’’ Warner said. “He was always very active until the last few months.’’
Warner said Hall was part of a special time when South View was the only school in Hope Mills, before Jack Britt and Gray’s Creek opened.
“It was the height of school spirt in Hope Mills,’’ she said. “That was when they decorated the town orange and black.’’ This was something that Tiger One certainly appreciated.
Photo: McKinley "Macky" Hall