SPANISH FORT, Ala. – If you want to meet a Spanish Fort High School institution, look no farther than volleyball and soccer coach Barclay Kercher. She’s been there since the school opened in 2004.
“She’s disciplined, she works hard at what she does in volleyball, soccer and in the classroom. You just can’t replace that,” Assistant Principal Gregory Brown said.
Unfortunately for the school, they’re going to have to try…at least where volleyball is concerned.
Kercher was diagnosed with breast cancer last year and survived the disease. But she’s not quite finished yet. She has a final surgery that conflicts with the start of volleyball.
“I had to redirect my passion and my passion now needs to be recovery and fitness and to actually put myself first,” Kercher said. “And I feel like my teams deserved someone that could give them the energy that they needed. And so that’s why I decided that this is the right time.”
Kercher added that between soccer and volleyball, she hardly had any time to spend on herself and her family. That said, she’ll be sorely missed by her players.
“She loves the sport. She loves coaching. She puts everything she has into it and it really shows. She works so hard with the girls,” sophomore Samantha Pote said.
And while Kercher will stay with the Toros as a physical education teacher and a soccer coach, she leaves behind shoes that will be tough to fill.
“The things that she’s done for the volleyball program, you can’t fill those shoes as far as what she’s done and the path that she’s put it on and what she’s got going,” Brown said.
Kercher hopes women will learn from her story and take the time to get a breast cancer screening, especially when they turn 40.