Remembering Coach Hodges

Coach Hodges- MemorialTribute for Coach Hodges written by Rives Coleman (’88) and Philip Isley (’85):

On Sunday, June 16, 2024, former Carlisle Boys basketball coach John Hodges died after his battle with cancer. Coach Hodges was introduced as the head basketball coach for the Chiefs in the 1983-84 season after coaching the outstanding Martinsville Booster Club team for many years. In that first year, he coached 3 11th graders, a 10th grader, and 4 8th graders who played a daunting schedule across Virginia and North Carolina, even facing perennial power Oak Hill on their home court! That season set the pace as the Chiefs’ program grew each year, and finally, in 1986, they played for the VIC Championship. Coach Hodges’s teams were constantly in the hunt, fighting great North Cross Schools in the late 80’s and returning to the title game in the early 90’s against the Holy Cross School. Coach Hodges was also very instrumental in the local AAU program as a coach and director in its early years when several players from Carlisle played against future NBA players in the state and national AAU tournaments.

Coach Hodges went on to work for the national AAU programs in Orlando, FLA, before retiring with his wife Bonnie to the Pinehurst area several years ago. Coach Hodges was always remembered for his quick wit on and off the court. In 1987, after Lynchburg Christian Academy hosted the Chiefs for the second year for their basketball homecoming at Liberty University (and losing to the Chiefs again!) Jerry Falwell commented to the victorious Coach Hodges. “Coach, Y’all have a pretty good team,” Coach Hodges replied, “ We do have a great team, so quit scheduling us for Homecoming!” The post-game food debates often hinged on how the teams played: McDonald’s for the win, a 5-minute stop at a gas station for a loss!

Coach Hodges was a great mentor to all of his players, whether with the Martinsville Booster Club or the Carlisle Chiefs. Everyone who played for Coach Hodges learned countless lessons in perseverance, humility, and teamwork. Those of us lucky enough to have played for him greatly benefited from everything he taught us. His loss is felt by all, and he will be greatly missed, but the lessons he instilled in all of us are being followed and passed along to our friends and family every day. His legacy will thrive for many years, and for this, we are lucky to have known such a great man.