South View basketball's Brent Barker, who led the Tigers to a state championship, celebrated at retirement ceremony

June 9, 2021
Brent Barker, seen here in 2006 with former assistant coach Nattlie McArthur, spent nearly 30 years as head coach of the South View girls' basketball team.

In between wide grins, Brent Barker kept coming back to one word Monday evening at Dirtbag Ales Brewery and Taproom. 

Surrounded by family, friends, former players and colleagues, the 52-year-old Barker arrived at the Hope Mills establishment for what was supposed to be a surprise celebration for the longtime coach and teacher. 

But, like the true basketball fan he is, Barker was settled in on his couch in preparation for a night of NBA playoff action before his wife, Jennifer, told him what was planned that night at Dirtbag. 

“I’ve used the word overwhelmed. It’s just amazing because as you’re doing it, you’re just working hard, trying to do the right thing and trying to get kids to do the right thing,” said Barker, who announced his retirement in late April after coaching girls’ basketball at South View High School for nearly 30 years. 

“You build these relationships and I’ve had a tiny bit of time to reflect. You start thinking, ‘Wow, these are amazing kids that I’ve been lucky to be around.’ The adults that have worked with me, the teachers and the staff … I get goosebumps thinking about how lucky I am to have gone through this with amazing people.” 

Barker, who has been a teacher and coach at South View for 29 years, logged more than 550 victories with the Tigers, including a state championship in 2007. 

On Monday night, it was clear his influence goes well beyond what his teams were able to accomplish on the court. 

A crowd of former players showed up Monday at Dirtbag Ales Brewery & Taproom to show their appreciation for Barker.

All about relationships 

Whitney Sentine, Nattlie McArthur and Jamilia Williams were among the former players in attendance Monday to celebrate Barker’s retirement. 

Wins, records and memories of games took a backseat to their recollection of Barker’s incandescent passion for coaching and teaching. 

“To know Coach Barker is to know that he cares about the players. He builds relationships with each of us,” said McArthur, who coached and played under Barker before taking over the Jack Britt girls’ basketball team.