CHAPEL HILL Sherry Norris will go out on top.
Barely two weeks after coaching the 32-0 Chapel Hill High School girls basketball to a second state championship, Norris filed the paperwork to retire this month as a physical education teacher, she told the Chapel Hill News.
“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.
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“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.”
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.
Completing an undefeated season with a 69-56 win in the Smith Center against Hickory for this year's 3A championship might seem like a perfect ending. But, while Norris is retiring from teaching, she could still coach. Ideally, she’d like to think about the same sort of arrangement Lindsay Linker made with East Chapel Hill when she retired as a P.E. teacher; Linker took off the fall season and returned as a head coach the following spring.
State law requires a retiring teacher to abstain from any activities on a school campus for a minimum of six months.
Norris said her retirement becomes effective April 30, just days after the annual Seawell Folkmoot, an international dance festival she organizes at the Chapel Hill elementary school. She couldn’t be at CHHS for the start of practice in October, but could be back Nov. 1, before the start of regular-season games.
“It would be nice to be there for the seniors,” she said. “I taught Raziyah (Farrington) and Jesse (Wall) when they were in kindergarten.”