High schools

Readers respond to list of top 100 coaches

tstevens@newsobserver.comJune 24, 2013 

Readers around the state reacted to the N.C. High School Athletic Association’s list of 100 high school coaches to remember, which was released last week. No one who contacted me had any complaints with the coaches who were selected, but several people were bewildered by their coach not making the list.

A person from the Charlotte area who left a voice message said it was unbelievable that former South Mecklenburg basketball coach Dave Price wasn’t on the list.

“We won two state titles in public school ball and two in private school ball. I don’t think anybody else has ever done that,” the caller said in a voice mail. “He developed some great players like Bobby Jones.”

Billy Puckett, a wrestling coach at Matthews Butler, had an advocate, and so did Doug Barnes, who won more than 500 basketball games at Belhaven John A. Wilkinson and Yeatesville Northside. Barnes coached the boys and girls state championship teams in 1978.

William Peerman of Chapel Hill Lincoln got some support, too. His football teams won three state titles in the N.C. High School Athletic Conference, which was the interscholastic association for black schools in the segregated system. His 1961 team was undefeated, untied and unscored upon.

Another coach among the missing was Chapel Hill track and cross country coach Ron Olsen, whose teams won nine boys and girls cross country team titles.

Albert Ray Worthington of Middlesex probably spoke for many former athletes when he lauded his high school coach. Worthington grew up in the Freewill Baptist Children’s Home in Middlesex. He said Middlesex High basketball coach Enid Drake changed Worthington’s life.

Drake coached at the high school for 11 years before coaching at Louisburg College for 41 years.

“He was a tremendous coach and man,” Worthington said, “but I guess a lot of guys feel that way about their high school coach. Having a list like this is just wonderful.”

The list of the top 100 female athletes will be announced at the end of July, and the top male athletes will be announced in early September.

WCA change: Wake Christian Academy has named Stephen Cochran as its varsity football coach, succeeding veteran coach Randy Johnson. Cochran is a Fuquay-Varina High and East Carolina graduate.

Cochran was an undergraduate assistant at East Carolina University in 1995 and 1996 and was an assistant coach at WCA in 2009. He was named head coach at Mount Dora Bible School in Mt. Dora, Fla., in 2010 and held the position for three years.

Coaching changes: More than 90 of the NCHSAA’s 396 schools will have new head football coaches in 2013. Former Fayetteville Seventy-First High coach Bob Paroli is not among the new coaches.

Paroli, 82, resigned from Seventy-First after the 2012 season with 55 years as a head coach and 403 career victories, which is No. 2 in the state behind Jack Holley’s 410 wins.

Paroli announced his resignation from Seventy-First last year but said he was not retiring from coaching.

Football practice: Most high school football teams in the state are involved in voluntary off-season workouts now but will have to shut down Monday. The NCHSAA has mandated a dead period from July 1 through July 7 when the teams cannot gather for workouts.

A second dead period will be July 22 through July 27, which is the week of the N.C. Coaches Association summer clinic.

NCHSAA football practice officially begins on Aug. 1.

tstevens: 919-829-8910

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