CHAPEL HILL — Sherry Norris will go out at the top.
Barely two weeks after coaching the 32-0 Chapel Hill High School girls basketball team to a second state championship, Norris filed the paperwork to retire this month as a physical education teacher, she said.
“This was a really tough decision,” she said. “I didn’t want to say anything to the team during the year, because I didn’t want to do anything that might have had a negative impact on the girls.”
Norris, coming to the end of her 37th year in teaching, all in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro system, had contemplated retirement for some time. Completing an undefeated season with a 69-56 win in the Smith Center against Hickory for this year’s 3A championship seemed like the perfect ending for her.
The news was announced on the same day that Norris won the 2013-14 Associated Press girls’ prep basketball coach of the year award for North Carolina.
Norris coached Chapel Hill to 540 wins in basketball and to a first state championship in 1981. She is also the N.C. High School Athletics Association’s all-time leader in volleyball victories (732), including two state championships in that sport as well.
“This would have to be the top year for me,” Norris said. “To have a basketball team go from 0-20, 1-19 to being undefeated four years later – that’s just amazing.”
Norris said her retirement becomes effective April 30, just days after the annual Seawell Folkmoot she organizes at the Chapel Hill elementary school.
“I love teaching, and I love coaching, and I love working with the kids,” she said. “I have really enjoyed my tenure … but I can’t do 15-hour days any more.”
State law requires a retiring teacher to abstain from any activities on a school campus for a minimum of six months. Norris cannot coach the Chapel Hill volleyball team next fall but would be eligible to coach the girls basketball team if hired.
“It would be nice to be there for the seniors,” she said. “I taught Raziyah (Farrington) and Jesse (Wall) when they were in kindergarten.”