Northpoint Christian School basketball coach/athletic director Barry Gray already had a stellar resume established when he left Brookhaven Academy and moved to Southaven to coach girls basketball.
In the MidSouth Association of Independent Schools (MSAIS), formerly known as the Mississippi Association of Independent Schools (MAIS), Gray amassed 622 victories coaching varsity girls’ programs at Winston Academy, Indianola Academy, Kirk Academy, and at Brookhaven, which is Gray’s high school alma mater.
He had positive marks at each school, but especially back at Brookhaven, where Gray’s teams won 479 games against 100 losses, claimed 13 district championships, 10 South State championships, six state AA titles and two Overall State titles.
Girls’ basketball was not the only sport Gray had an impact on in the Mississippi independent school ranks, however. Football, golf, boys’ basketball, and track were other sports that Gray coached at some level at those schools, as well as Hillcrest Christian, where he began his career coaching junior high basketball, football, and also coached golf.
Gray’s influence on young men and women over 26 years with MAIS schools has carried on through his seven years coaching at Southern Baptist Education Center, now known as Northpoint Christian School. Seven straight TSSAA Division II-A Final Four appearances, two state championships, one runner-up finish and seven straight regional final appearances are part of a 193-34 girls’ basketball coaching record.
Add to that two seasons where he has coached boys’ basketball, including last year’s 24-7 finish, district championship, regional finals and Elite Eight finish.
It’s a Hall of Fame-level career that is not over for Gray, yet, but the MSAIS Coaches Association made certain his time in Mississippi was properly recognized. Gray was named one of six inductees to the MSAISCA Hall of Fame during an event on Saturday, Aug. 10 at Pearl.
For Gray and Lindy, his wife of 35 years who is one of his assistants for the girls’ program, coaching basketball is not only a passion, but is also a ministry.
“It’s who we are,” Gray said. “There’s a philosophy that says, ‘You never have any contentment in life without praising God, giving glory to Him, and helping other people.’ Everything that we do in our coaching together the whole time has been under the parameters of praising God and helping other people.”
All the records have Barry Gray’s name on them, but he is quick to say he and Lindy, herself at one time a star basketball player and a former coach, really work together for his girls’ teams.
“Where Lindy’s skills are more on the devotional side and more into the encouragement and compassion side, mine is tougher,” Gray explained. “You can’t have the tough love that I give without the compassion side that she gives. It would be awful hard to be successful without what she brings to the table.”
Gray also has Ryan Richardson assisting him on the girls’ bench and Simon Barnett as a boys’ assistant. The group has formed Northpoint into a girls’ basketball power among Tennessee private schools and is a growing threat to the top rung of boys’ basketball.
Coaching was not something Gray initially wanted to get into, seeing the struggles the career carries with it. His father John R. Gray was another long-time coach who was among the first inductees to the same Hall of Fame in 2002.
“I saw the dynamic and I knew the struggles that dad went through and (older brother) Ricky being a coach,” Gray said. “I saw the financial distress it puts on you and the sacrifice that’s required. One thing I’ve learned is that ‘great love requires sacrifice.’ That’s how I view this.”
Gray also took note of the time he’s spent away from the Mississippi ranks, making the Hall of Fame selection especially meaningful.
“We really didn’t think it was going to happen,” Gray said, with Lindy adding, “When you see him in that association for 26 years and that it (Hall of Fame) had never come up, it was a big weekend for us.”
The induction provided opportunities for family, former players, coaches and supporters to come to Pearl and acknowledge what Barry and Lindy have meant to them. However, Gray was quick to say the accolades are not what he is in it for.
“We don’t want to leave a legacy and we don’t even care if you remember our names,” Gray said. “We just want you to know that our hearts are in the right place.”
Bob Bakken is Sports Editor for the DeSoto Times-Tribune.