Stevens: Former Sanderson coach Bill Harrington dies

tim.stevens@newsobserver.comJanuary 16, 2013 

Bill Harrington, Sanderson High’s first boys basketball coach, died last week Friday and his memorial service is scheduled for this coming Friday at 2 p.m., at Hayes Barton Baptist Church in Raleigh.

Harrington was a part of Sanderson’s remarkable first year. He had coached at nearby Carroll Junior High (now a middle school) and was on the Spartans’ staff when the school was supposed to open in the fall of 1968.

The Sanderson building was not ready so Broughton High, which was to become Sanderson’s biggest athletic rival, housed both Broughton and Sanderson. Two different schools. Two faculties. Two administrations and one building.

Compounding the emotions was that many of the Sanderson students, including some seniors, had attended Broughton the year before and had been reassigned to the new school.

Harrington had some outstanding teams. Dirk Ewing, who later played at N.C. State and Stetson, may have been his most acknowledged player.

“One of the things that I appreciate about Bill is the impact he had on his players,” said former Sanderson athletic director Bob Catapano. “They speak about him with such affection.”

Harrington coached boys basketball for 14 seasons and also coached girls softball, golf and cross country at various times. I never knew him to not be a gentleman, win or lose.

His game that I remember best was around 1972 when Rocky Mount played at Sanderson. Rocky Mount was led by point guard Phil Ford and Ford’s play that night is a vivid memory.

Coach Richard Hicks’ Rocky Mount team played outstanding defense and Ford was out front, making steals and scoring layups. He must have been knocked down a dozen times that night, but he would quickly roll off the floor and onto his feet to sprint away. His quickness was remarkable.

After the game, Harrington said we had seen one of the best high school players of all time.

Harge joins Knights: Damon Harge, who attracted national attention last year as a sixth-grader, has transferred to North Raleigh Christian and is splitting time between the middle school team and the varsity.

The 5-foot-6 seventh grader has videos posted on YouTube that have attracted more than 10 million views.

“I had never heard of him, but the guys had,” said North Raleigh coach Eddie Rogosich. “He is very special.”

North Raleigh, now 11-4, was playing well before he transferred during the holiday break and Rogosich still is incorporating him into the attack.

“The other guys recognize his talent, not his age,” Rogosich said. “He is such an unselfish player that he has fit in. We are running the sets that feature him a little more.”

Harge played at Creedmoor Faith Center last year and played some against varsity players. Reportedly, Harge already has received some college scholarship offers.

North Raleigh is at home against Ravenscroft on Friday night.

Young standout: Mack Wilder, a 12-year-old 5-foot-5 seventh grader, is splitting her playing time between the middle school team and the varsity at Raleigh Neuse Christian. She is averaging 22 points per game with the middle school team and had a game with 11 points, 15 rebounds and 12 assists.

But when the varsity needs her, she has played well. Wilder didn’t play the first three quarters of her first varsity game, but scored 11 points in the fourth quarter loss at Norlina Christian. Neuse had scored only nine points in the first three periods.

“She is absolutely fearless,” said Neuse athletic director Scottie Richardson. “She is really good on defense, particularly getting steals.”

The Wildcat is averaging double figures scoring in her limited varsity games.

Double fun: Clayton, No. 2 in the N&O Metro Raleigh boys basketball rankings, and Garner, which is ranked No. 3, will play each other twice next week in Greater Neuse 4A games.

Clayton (14-1) will play at Garner (11-2) on Wednesday in a game that was rescheduled and will be at home against the Trojans on Friday, Jan. 25.

T. Stevens: 919-829-8910

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