White Imps celebrate high school friendship 60 years later

tim.stevens@newsobserver.comApril 3, 2013 

The ranks of the Cary White Imps club are declining more rapidly than in the past as the players who are former Cary High coach Simon Terrell’s living legacy approaches their 80s.

The ranks of the Cary White Imps club are declining more rapidly than in the past as the players who are former Cary High coach Simon Terrell’s living legacy approaches their 80s.

Terrell coached only two seasons at what was then the high school for a mostly rural Wake County community, but his impact has lasted for five decades.

The White Imps was Cary’s mascot when Terrell left Warrenton John Graham High to coach football, basketball and baseball at Cary in 1952. He left the school following the 1954 season to coach at Durham High and later became the executive director of the N.C. High School Athletic Association.

His two football teams posted 10-0 records and his two basketball teams were a combined 60-2.

As remarkable as those achievements were his most noteworthy accomplishment probably was the impact he had on his players.

That’s why 50-some years later his players still gather to talk of old times and discuss what contributions they can make now.

The club is made up of players who were coached by Terrell at Cary and has about 95 members left, even though their has been an expansion to include cheerleaders and a few honorary members through the years.

“But there are fewer each year,” said Charlie Adams, who played for Terrell and eventually succeeded him as the head of the NCHSAA. “That’s part of life.”

There are thousands of high school coaches who have had successful teams and who have impacted lives, but how many clubs can there be like the White Imps, men and women in their 70s who come together to remember the past and embrace the future and who give thousands of dollars in scholarships?

High school athletics are much more organized now then they were in the early 1950s. The undefeated football teams didn’t advance to the playoffs because they had exceeded the maximum number of regular season games. Adam believes Terrell did it knowingly to get the guaranteed revenue from one more game.

The year after Terrell left, Cary played only nine regular-season games and went 13-0 to win the state title. The team’s closest game was a first-round squeaker over Mebane. The game finished 0-0, but Cary advanced because the tie-breaker then was total offensive yards.

The Imps had a 48 yards to 18 yards advantage.

Terrell’s first Imps basketball team finished 31-1. The next year, the White Imps won the state basketball title and finished 30-1, including a loss to eventual 3A champion Raleigh in a game played before a huge crowd at N.C. State’s Reynolds. The game was the preliminary game to Penn State vs. N.C. State.

It was that game that inspired Adams to move all of the NCHSAA championships to neutral sites when he became the NCHSAA executive director.

TSTEVENS: 919-829-08910

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