CCSD: Long-time Burke H.S. coach passes away

VIDEO: Remembering Modie Risher
(Source: CCSD)
(Source: CCSD)
(Source: CCSD)
(Source: CCSD)

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - A former Burke High School coach has died, according to a Charleston County School District spokesman.

Modie Risher, Sr., passed away Monday at 88-years-old. The details surrounding his death were not immediately available.

Risher was an educator and coach at Burke High School for more than three decades.

"Coach Risher had a profound impact on my life," said Earl Brown, Sr., former Athletic Director and career leader in wins for basketball at Burke High School. "He was my ninth grade P.E. teacher. He was strict, and made sure everything was done right; very meticulous. I took that approach to life and coaching with me when I started my career as a coach. He instilled in me a desire to execute the finest detail in everything I did. Modie was one of the few guys who played all the main sports- football, basketball, and baseball, and played them at a high level."

The former student-athlete graduated from the school in 1946.

According to CCSD, Risher went on to attend Allen University (Bachelor's degree), and Columbia University (Master's degree).

Risher also played professional baseball for the Jacksonville Eagles of the Negro Leagues where he faced legends such as Jackie Robinson, Josh Gibson and Satchel Paige.

Following his athletic career, Risher taught health, physical education (P.E.), creative dance, and gymnastics at Burke High School. During his time there he became one of the most success multi-sport coaches in school history.

According to CCSD, he led the Bulldogs to the 1955 South Carolina AAA state championship in football, served as athletic director, department chair, consultant and school evaluator for the South Carolina Department of Education, and health and P.E. curriculum writer for CCSD.

"His influence didn't stop off the court," Brown said. "Coach Risher was a great speaker and a poet. He was great in all that he did. Coach Risher will be missed because he stayed involved with the Burke community until the very end of his life. There wasn't a game I can remember when he wasn't in the stands. He was one of my biggest supporters. He was the greatest."

Risher was also an active member in the Chalreston community, serving as president and executive committeeman for the Charleston County precinct #13, and volunteering his services to a number of community organizations including Jack and Jill of America and the Charleston Chapter of the National Federation of the Blind. He was also a member of Morris Brown AME Church.

"Modie Risher is a true Charleston sports legend. People outside of our area don't understand the difficulty he faced in serving as a bridge for Burke as the school district transitioned from segregation to integration," said retired CCSD Director of Athletics, Dave Spurlock. "I enjoyed facing him as an athlete, then as a coach. Being the amazing individual he was, he was not only able to serve the needs of his student-athletes, but helped them succeed in competition, and led his teams to prominence. Modie truly was one of the greatest high school coaches ever in our state. His physical presence will be missed in the stands and on the sidelines, but I am confident his memory will always live on at Burke and in Charleston."

Risher was married to DeLaris with whom he had two children, Modie, Jr. and Devonne R. Smalls, and two grandchildren, James II and De Ana Smalls.

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