New Holly Springs High School girls basketball coach Peace Shepard Easton looks back on her professional basketball career and wonders what she was thinking.
Easton played in Italy, Greece, Brazil, Ecuador and Finland during her three-year pro career. She remembers being homesick.
“What an opportunity I had,” she said. “It was wonderful, but I was young and homesick. I wish I could go back.”
Easton was named the Hawks’ varsity girls coach on Friday. The coaching position is her first in high school, but the 6-foot-3 native of Swansboro has been active in club and recreation basketball for years.
Easton, whose maiden name is Shepard, helped N.C. State and Coach Kay Yow to the NCAA Final Four in Kansas City in 1998. The Wolfpack team, which also included Tyneshia Lewis, Jennifer Howard and Chasity Melvin, lost to Louisiana Tech in the semifinals.
Tennessee beat Louisiana Tech in the title game.
Easton had been a standout at Swansboro High and played with Lillian Purvis, who later played at the University of Maryland.
“Peace is the type of person that I would want to coach my child,” said Andy Wheeler, the Holly Springs athletics director. “She knows basketball and is a great person. She has worked helping young players develop their skills and refining their abilities.”
Easton said she looks forward to working with high school players.
“I’ve worked with younger players for years,” she said. “It will be good to work with players who have a little more experience.”
Easton works at Aetna Insurance.
Grace was led by senior Alex Dolwick (16:35), who finished 16th.
The title was won by Atlanta (Ga.) St. Pius.
The Falcons combined for a score of 249, four strokes ahead of second-place Fuquay-Varina. Holly Springs was 10 strokes back in fourth. Apex was ninth in the 13-team field.
Fuquay-Varina’s Catherine Ashworth shot a 1-over 73 to finish second. Green Hope’s Meghan Symonds shot a 77 to tie for fourth.
The team is trying to raise $5,500, or $500 per team member. Contact team captain Chris Tobul at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Team members are: Amy Trail, Chris Tobul, Amy Gardner, Candace Wehr, Kellie Bridges, Mary McCann, Jill Weinburg, Cori Odom, Heidi Moreno, Kristen Stocking, Missy Witzke, Kristal Nelson, Lauren Riley and Audra Pyles.
Kennedy, a native of Cary, enjoyed an illustrious career as a junior player. Kennedy, a two-time high school All American and NCHSCAS Player of the Year, won North Carolina tennis state titles in the Boys 14s, 16s and 18s at the end of the 1970s. He followed those performances with titles at the National Interscholastic Singles and National Clay Court Doubles championships in 1981. In 1985 he was selected to the United States Junior Davis Cup roster.
Kennedy played college tennis at NCAA powerhouse Trinity University in Texas. Besides having a Division 1 All-American playing career, he received the Raphael Asuma Sportsmanship Award and the John Van Nostrand Memorial Scholarship Award. Through all of his endeavors, he has been known as one of the “good guys” of tennis.
Kennedy played on the ATP World Tour for five years from 1985-89. He achieved his highest world singles ranking at No. 301 in 1988 and his highest doubles ranking at No. 144 in 1986.
Some of Kennedy’s notable accomplishments on tour included knocking off the No. 2 doubles seed of Mark Edmonson and Kim Warick at Wimbledon in 1986. He won singles matches against Mikael Pernfors and Richey Renenberg. Kennedy also defeated Andre Agassi in doubles in 1985.
Off the court, Kennedy frequently participates in and contributes to charitable tennis fundraising events. He participated in USTA promotional activities during his tenure with the Junior Davis Cup team, and he helped out with various community events while playing in college and on the pro tour.
“Tennis has been the foundation for my life. I value the people that tennis has brought me and I use the experiences that tennis taught me every day,” Kennedy said.
Austen, a quarterback for the Knightdale Dragons, was selected for this honor from a group of young athletes numbering in the thousands across the country.