Ray Stackley, the coach who built the Stratford High School football program into one of the best in the state, has announced his retirement at the end of the academic school year.

The 63-year-old Stackley will retire as one of the most successful coaches in state history. He's been a coach for 29 years, compiling a 270-100 record at the Berkeley County school. He led the Knights to a state championship in 1999 and two other appearances in the title game, including the 2013 championship against Northwestern in December.

Stackley had a stretch where his program was one of the top five in the state. In a 10-year stretch, the Knights posted a 118-18 record, won a state title (1999) and finished No. 2 in the state (2004).

But the opening of Cane Bay High School siphoned off some of the area's top talent and the numbers dropped in both players and victories. He turned the program around and Stratford finished 12-3 last season.

Stackley, who also served as the school's athletic director, was unavailable for comment Thursday. A press conference is expected to be held Friday.

He talked about the possibility of retiring at the beginning of the 2011 season.

"You have to have the energy and passion to do this job, and I'm still energetic and passionate," Stackley told The Post and Courier. "To be honest with you, being around young people keeps me feeling young."