Sherry Norris, the most successful coach in Chapel Hill High School history, and UNC’s Dr. Tim Taft are two of the eight people from North Carolina athletics who have been selected for induction into the N.C. High School Athletic Association Hall of Fame.
Norris and Taft will be part the 29th group of inductees into the NCHSAA hall, joined by Gil Bowman of Fayetteville, Mac Cumbo of Hendersonville, Suzanne Grayson of King Mountain, Bill Harrison of Fayetteville, the late David Price of Charlotte, and Jimmy Tillman of Wilson have been named.
That will bring the hall’s membership to 171 members.
The new inductees will be honored during special halftime ceremonies at a football game at Kenan Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 17, when North Carolina takes on Wake Forest. The University of North Carolina has designated the day as the 31st annual NCHSAA Day. The new class will officially be inducted at the special Hall of Fame banquet next spring in Chapel Hill.
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The NCHSAA Hall of Fame is supported in part by a special grant from GlaxoSmithKline.
“These individuals joining the Association Hall of Fame this year have had a tremendous impact on high school athletics across North Carolina,” said NCHSAA interim commissioner Que Tucker. “Their accomplishments are impressive, but the character they exemplify and the lives they touched are truly representative of what the NCHSAA stands for. Their selection maintains the standards of excellence established by our previous inductees, and we are looking forward to honoring these deserving individuals.”
Sherry Norris has been one of North Carolina’s top coaches in volleyball and women’s basketball for many years, and she has led CHHS teams to two state championshops in each of those sports.
Born in Lumberton and a graduate of Bladenboro High and the University of North Carolina, Norris has enjoyed a great career at Chapel Hill High School, serving as women’s head basketball coach since 1977 and coaching volleyball there from 1977 to 2013. She was also head softball coach for six seasons.
She is the NCHSAA’s all-time leader in career volleyball victories with a brilliant 739-257 record, with state championships in 1994 and 2003 and a runner-up finish in 2000. In women’s basketball, her teams rolled up a record of 545-376 and won state titles in 1981 and 2014.
Norris was one of the 100 Coaches To Remember during the NCHSAA’s Centennial Celebration and also has earned the Toby Webb Award and the Doris Howard Coach of the Year honors from the NCHSAA.
She has been very active in her church and was also the Teacher of the Year at her school, Seawell Elementary, on four different occasions.
Dr. Tim Taft
Dr. Tim Taft has made a unique contribution to the NCHSAA through his work in sports medicine.
A graduate of Kirkwood High in Missouri and Princeton University, Dr. Taft spent 35 years on the faculty of the School of Medicine at the University of North Carolina, but during that time was very involved in athletics. He was a varsity team physician and senior orthopedic surgeon for many teams at UNC, but also served as the medical director of the Special Olympics State Games for many years. He has been a team physician at the Olympic Games and for a number of USA teams in international competition in swimming and men’s and women’s basketball.
Through all of that, however, Dr. Taft stayed involved with the NCHSAA, first a sports medicine advisor to the executive director and then on the Sports Medicine Advisory Committee, and he also served as an on site physician for many NCHSAA state championships.
He has previously received a Distinguished Service Award and the Elton Hawley Award for sports medicine from the NCHSAA.
Gil Bowman distinguished himself as an outstanding coach in a couple of different sports as well as a great German teacher during his 41-year career at Terry Sanford High School in Fayetteville.
Born in Stuart, Virginia, and a graduate of East Carolina, Bowman built Terry Sanford into both a women’s basketball power and a tennis power during his coaching tenure. His women’s varsity basketball record during his years with that sport was 463-278, with three trips to the NCHSA state championship game. He also coached cross country and assisted with football for several years.
He also developed tremendous programs in tennis, with a record at one point in men’s tennis of an amazing 532-40 and a mark of 339-36 in women’s tennis. He coached numerous state champions in both singles and doubles and at one point his women’s team earned four consecutive dual team state championships.
He has been inducted the Fayetteville Sports Club Hall of Fame and earned the Homer Thompson Eight Who Make A Difference Award for sportsmanship from the NCHSAAin 2001. He also helped to found the Fayetteville Area Tennis Association.
Mac Cumbo compiled an impressive slate as a high school coach as well as an administrator.
Cumbo, a graduate of Thomasville High School and Western Carolina University, began his teaching and coaching career at Flat Rock Junior High and was very successful before moving to the high school ranks He was head football coach and athletic director, first at Edneyville and then at the new North Henderson school.
He guided teams to the football playoffs at both schools and also served in other capacities, including on the NCHSAA Realignment Committee and as president of two different conferences.
Cumbo served on the Board of Directors of the North Carolina Athletic Directors Association, including a term as president in 1997-98, as well as the Board of Directors of the North Carolina Coaches Association with a term as president. He also had a stint on the NCHSAA Board.
He was inducted into the North Carolina Athletic Directors Hall of Fame in 2004 and is an active member of Mud Creek Baptist Church.
Suzanne Grayson was an outstanding coach and athletic administrator during her career, primarily in the Cleveland County school system.
Grayson attended Shelby High School and then graduated from Western Carolina University before beginning her teaching and coaching career. After several years at the middle school level, she had an 18-year stint at Crest and then spent 10 years at Kings Mountain, the final four of which she served as athletic director.
She coached volleyball for a total of 24 years and rolled up a record of 417-21, with a state championship at Kings Mountain in 2001. Her overall career record in fast-pitch softball was 215-77, including two state titles in that sport at Kings Mountain in ’05 and again in ’06.
Grayson has previously been inducted into the Cleveland County Sports Hall of Fame and the Kings Mountain Hall of Fame. She has also served on the American Legion World Series Executive Committee, which helps bring that event to Cleveland County, since 2000.
Dr. Bill Harrison
Dr. Bill Harrison has been an outstanding school administrator and very involved as a leader in the NCHSAA.
Harrison has been involved with public education in the North Carolina since 1984 and is presently serving as interim superintendent of the Alamance-Burlington school system. Previously he has served as a teacher, principal and superintendent, including 12 years as superintendent of the Cumberland County schools. He also served as superintendent in the Hoke and Orange County systems. From 2009 through ’31, he was chairman of the State Board of Education and senior advisor to Governor Beverly Perdue for education transformation.
Bill served two different terms as president of the NCHSAA and was on the “100 to Remember” list of administrators as part of the NCHSAA Centennial Celebration.
He is a graduate of Methodist University, received a masters at East Carolina and his Ed.D degree at Vanderbilt.
David Price, who passed away in March of this year, was a brilliant high school basketball coach during his career in Charlotte, although he coached many different sports over the years.
A graduate of Waynesville High School, Price went on to Western Carolina University and then embarked on a coaching career that spanned over 40 years. He helped build South Mecklenburg into a real hoops power, winning four NCHSAA state titles there in a 20-year span and earning 321 victories against 167 losses. He then spent 12 years at Providence Day where his teams won a couple of independent school state championships and an additional 217 victories.
Price also served on the Board of Directors of the NCHSAA and coached in the North Carolina Coaches Association East-West basketball game in 1972.
A Korean War veteran, Price was an active member of Pineville United Methodist Church for over 50 years.
Jimmy Tillman touched a number of bases during his career as a teacher, coach, athletic director and principal at a variety of high schools.
Born in Mount Olive, Tillman is a graduate of Southern Wayne High School and UNC-Wilmington. During his career he served as a teacher and coach at Rosewood, Lucama, Beddingfield and SouthWest Edgecombe, adding the duties of athletic director during his time at SouthWest.
He earned Coach of the Year honors in three different sports (football, baseball and softball) and coached in both the Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas and East-West all-star football game.
He also served at Wilson Fike, including four years as an assistant principal and eight as principal.
Tillman also enjoyed an excellent career as a game official, calling high school basketball and softball for almost 20 years and working the 1984 NCHSAA state 4-A softball championship.
His contributions to the NCHSAA were huge, including serving several terms on the challenging Realignment Committee as well as the Nominating Committee.