HIGH POINT — Gene Littles, a former coach of the Charlotte Hornets who was the all-time leading scorer in High Point University men’s basketball history, has died. He was 78.
A news release from the school said Littles died on Sept. 9, but didn’t give a cause of death. Details of a memorial service will be released later, it said.
Littles was a three-time NAIA All-American who in 1969 led High Point to a school-best 28-3 record and the quarterfinals of the NAIA Tournament. His No. 14 jersey was retired by the school.
Littles was drafted by the Dallas Chaparrals of the ABA and the New York Knicks of the NBA. His ABA rights were acquired by the Carolina Cougars, with whom he earned a spot on the league’s all-rookie team as a starting point guard. He finished his career with the Kentucky Colonels, who beat the Indiana Pacers to win the 1975 ABA title.
Littles then joined the coaching staff at Appalachian State before moving to the head coaching job at N.C. A&T, where he led the Aggies to two Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference titles. He was the MEAC coach of the year in 1979.
In 1986, Littles became an NBA assistant coach, leading the Cleveland Cavaliers for the last 19 games of the season. In 1990, Littles was named head coach of the Charlotte Hornets midway through the season and remained in that role for the following season. He was an assistant coach with the Denver Nuggets in 1994-95 and served as the interim head coach for the last 19 games of that season.
Littles is a member of both the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame and the High Point University Athletics Hall of Fame.
Bill Hayes always hated homecoming when he was coaching at Winston-Salem State and N.C. A&T. Too many distractions on those weekends could lead his teams down the wrong path.
Hayes finally found a homecoming he could embrace as he watched his football life flash before his eyes on Saturday night at Maple Chase Golf & Country Club in Winston-Salem.
Hayes, 77, was brought to tears a few times as around 20 of his best former players from each school gathered for a dinner to honor a man who shaped their lives.
The dinner was the brainstorm of A&T’s Maseo Bolin and WSSU’s Robert Weeks at Hayes’ home club, where he has a single-digit golf handicap and plays four or five times a week. “Let’s honor the man now when he’s above ground and he can appreciate it,” Weeks said. “And I think he is having a great time.”
Hayes, nicknamed “Wild Bill,” was as old-school as they come, demanding more from his players than they ever expected.
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One of six North Carolinians in the National High School Hall of Fame, he covered high school sports for The Raleigh Times and The Raleigh News & Observer for 48 years, winning numerous national awards. Named as one of the top 10 sports reporters in the country by the AP Sports Editors, Stevens is a member of the NCHSAA Hall of Fame and its media award is named in his honor.
But his gift for writing extends far beyond the realm of sports and has demonstrated itself in a number of other areas, such as plays he has written for presentation at his church. A native of Garner, Stevens also has always been interested in history and very supportive of his hometown. So his stage productions have included historical plays, often using real-life Garner people and highlighting such events as the Vietnam War, World Wars I and II and even the challenge of integration. Several of his works have won awards from the North Carolina Society of Historians for historical plays.
Memorial Day Show: https://youtu.be/kcabbl2M3WY
World War II: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ZOFZXxBeSQ&t=3
2016 NC Sports Hall of Fame inductee Freddy Johnson was awarded the Morgan Wooten Award for Lifetime Achievement in Boy's High School Basketball in an announcement on Feb. 26, 2020. Johnson has spent his entire coaching career at Greensboro Day School, and is the winningest coach in North Carolina high school basketball history.
What the pair started, now grown to unimaginable proportions, helped to define the Atlantic Coast Conference.
The better-known pioneer was N.C. State coach Everett Case, a masterful promoter whose program’s competitive excellence shaped and elevated basketball in the new conference. But as the ACC and corporate partner ESPN shamble toward the debut of a league-centric cable network, it’s also worthwhile recalling Castleman D. Chesley, the visionary entrepreneur who married the fledgling conference to television, then an emerging and little-appreciated tool.
“His place in history is unmatched in a lot of ways with the foundation that it set,” John Swofford, ACC commissioner since 1997, says of C.D. Chesley, “and what it meant to this league and to the development of fans in this league and the prominence of basketball in the league.”
GREENSBORO SWARM FINALIZE COACHING STAFF
Tacheny, Harville, Kenah, Melvin and Goose Join Staff Of Head Coach Joe Wolf
Melvin Becomes First Female Coach Hired Via NBA Assistant Coaches Program
Hornets Assistant GM Buzz Peterson To Oversee All Swarm Basketball-Related Matters
October 19, 2018 (GREENSBORO, N.C.) – The Greensboro Swarm, the NBA G League Affiliate of the Charlotte Hornets, today announced the team has named Dan Tacheny, Evan Harville, Dave Kenah and Chasity Melvin as the assistant coaches on the staff of recently named Head Coach Joe Wolf. Additionally, Daniel Goose has been named Manager of Player Development & Basketball Operations.
Tacheny joins the Swarm after being the lead assistant for the then-Delaware 87ers, now Delaware Blue Coats, for two seasons (2016-18). Prior to Delaware, he was a Coordinator of Player Development with the Washington Wizards for two seasons (2014-16). Tacheny has head coaching experience as well with five years (2009-14) in the Mexican basketball leagues, Cicuito de Baloncesto de la Costa del Pacifico (CIBACOPA) and Liga Nacional de Baloncesto Profesional (LNBP). The UNLV graduate began his NBA career as a scout with the Minnesota Timberwolves (2007-09) and Orlando Magic (2004-06).
Harville comes to Greensboro with extensive work with player development. He most recently was as an assistant coach at Wingate University (2017-18) under Head Coach Brian Good. Harville attended Westminster College and served as an assistant coach on Kevin Siroki’s staff immediately after graduation (2014-15). Every offseason Harville conducts player workouts with NBA and G League caliber players.
Kenah brings two seasons of G League experience to Greensboro. Last season (2017-18) Kenah was an assistant coach for Agua Caliente (L.A. Clippers affiliate) and prior to that he worked with the Santa Cruz Warriors during the 2016-17 campaign. From 2014-16, he was a coordinator of basketball operations for Rutgers University. He started working in the NBA with the Boston Celtics (2012-13) and Brooklyn Nets (2013-14) after graduating from Rutgers in 2012.
Melvin becomes the first female coach in Hornets and Swarm history. The North Carolina native was a standout at North Carolina State University (1994-98) and was the No. 11 selection in the 1999 WNBA Draft. A WNBA All-Star in 2001, she played for the Cleveland Rockers, Washington Mystics and Chicago Sky over the course of 12 seasons (1999-2010). Melvin’s hire comes through the NBA Assistant Coaches Program, which prepares current and former NBA, WNBA and G League players for coaching careers. Former program participants include James Posey (Cleveland Cavaliers), Jerry Stackhouse (Memphis Grizzlies) and Vin Baker (Milwaukee Bucks).
Goose enters his third season with the Swarm but first in his current role as Manager of Player Development & Basketball Operations. He previously served as a Swarm basketball operations intern (2016-18). A graduate of the University of Connecticut, Goose was a four-year manager (2012-16) for the men’s basketball program including a prominent role on the 2014 NCAA Championship team. He has additional experience as a member of the support staff for the USA Basketball Men’s National Team.
Additionally, Hornets President of Basketball Operations & General Manager Mitch Kupchak today announced that effective immediately Hornets Assistant General Manager Buzz Peterson's responsibilities will include overseeing all basketball-related matters for the Swarm. Swarm General Manager Cam Twiss will report directly to Peterson. Hornets Director of Player Personnel Larry Jordan and Director of Team Strategy/Team Counsel David Duquette will continue to work closely with Peterson and Kupchak on all Swarm basketball-related matters. Also, Tyler Lesher returns in his role as Swarm head athletic trainer.
The Swarm open the 2018-19 season on Friday, November 2, at the Wisconsin Herd. The Home Opener is set for Saturday, November 10, against the Grand Rapids Drive at 7 p.m. at the Fieldhouse at the Greensboro Coliseum Complex.
Single-game tickets for the 2018-19 season are on sale now. Fans can select from a number of different ticket packages, including season memberships, 6 Game Plans and Group Packages. For more ticket information, visit www.gsoswarm.com.
About the Greensboro Swarm
The NBA G League affiliate of the Charlotte Hornets, the Greensboro Swarm will play the 2018-19 season as a member of Southeast Division in the Eastern Conference. All home games are played at the renovated Fieldhouse at the Greensboro Coliseum Complex. Season tickets are on sale for as low as $8 per ticket, per game, with club seats starting as low as $17 per ticket, per game and courtside seats as low as $35 per ticket, per game. Season ticket members receive exclusive benefits, which include a no hassle exchange policy, team autograph sessions, priority for Hornets and Swarm playoff tickets, discounts on Swarm merchandise and more. Group tickets are also available for parties of 10-plus people, starting as low as $9 per ticket, per game. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit gsoswarm.com or call 336-907-3600. Follow the Swarm on Twitter (@greensboroswarm), Facebook (/greensboroswarm) or Instagram (@greensboroswarm).
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Manager of Communications, Greensboro Swarm
Dwight Clark, the NFL receiver who made one of the most memorable plays in NFL history (“The Catch” with Joe Montana on January 10, 1982) and jump-started the San Francisco 49ers’ dynasty, may be associated with the West Coast. But to us, this native son and winner of two Super Bowl titles will always be a North Carolinian.
To honor this spectacular Kinston native–who tragically lost a battle with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) in June 2018 at the age of 61–the North Carolina Sports Hall Of Fame will dedicate a case to Clark on Thursday, September 6. Scheduled for display on the first day of 2018’s NFL regular season, the case includes a commemorative helmet, signed by Dwight Clark and Joe Montana, as well as the Sports Illustrated cover of the “The Catch” from 1982.
Clark was born in Kinston in 1957, graduated from Garinger High School in Charlotte, and went on to play football at Clemson University. He was drafted by the 49ers in 1979 and spent his entire nine-year career there, winning two Super Bowl titles and going to two Pro Bowl all-star games. Clark was inducted into the NCSHOF in 1997.
During the 2018–2019 NFL season, the 49ers will pay tribute to Clark by wearing his jersey number, the number 87, on their helmets. An 87 will also mark the end zone, where he made The Catch, and a statue of the play will be unveiled during the October 21 game against the Los Angeles Rams.
Jack Ray Holley was born Aug. 15, 1938, in Pender County in a small community called Ashton Crossroads. He was the youngest of three children born to William “Harvey” Holley and Doris Pershake Holley. Due to his father's battle with alcoholism, Jack moved around a lot with his mother, living with relatives in Wilmington and in Miami, Fla., then back to Wilmington.
He formed a close bond with his junior high school and high school coaches – men that would become role models and mentors to him: Billy Mason, Al Black, Wimpy Johnson, Leon Brogden, Jap Davis, Bill Brooks, Buck Hardee and Calvin Lane. Jack always remembered fondly how his mother never missed his games. When he was asked by his children about his dad coming to watch him play sports, he said, “My daddy didn't really understand sports and always thought I should be working. He never came to any ballgames, except one of my football games at New Hanover. After the game, when I went home, he was up waiting for me. I asked him what he thought. He said, ‘Son, I'd beat the hell out of somebody if they hit me like that!’ That was his first and last game.”
Jack excelled as a three-sport athlete at New Hanover High School, graduating in 1957. He played on four state championship teams in football and basketball and one state runner-up team in baseball. After a less-than-stellar first year academically at Guilford College, he enlisted in the U.S. Army, where he served for two years. After being honorably discharged, he returned to Guilford as a three-sport student athlete. He would be inducted into its hall of fame in 1998.
While at Guilford, he met and would go on to marry Judy Wells, a cheerleader for the Quakers. After graduating in 1963, Jack began his first teaching and coaching assignment at Carolina Military Academy in Maxton, where he was an assistant football coach to head coach Clyde Parrish. Jack's first head coaching job was at Tabor City High School in 1964, and his passion for coaching and teaching took him to stints at Hallsboro High School, Wallace-Rose Hill, West Columbus, South Columbus, and Harrells Christian Academy.
In all, Jack coached for 49 years, all but six as a head coach. His teams, known for their quickness and strength though not always their size, won 412 games. He was inducted into the Greater Wilmington Sports Hall of Fame in 2007 and the North Carolina High School Athletic Association Hall of Fame posthumously in 2014; he had passed away in May 2013 at his home in Wallace. Surviving are Judy, three children (Julianne, Jemma and Battle), nine grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
He always believed in leaving a program better than the way he found it. He enjoyed every minute of teaching and coaching. In an interview late in his career, he said, “I wasn't trying to be funny, but I said my favorite time going to school was recess. Coaching to me has just been an extension of recess for 44 years.”
Most members of the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame earn their induction because of their excellence in a single sport.
There are some, although it is fairly unusual, who achieve greatness in two sports. But to be a champion in three distinctly different disciplines? That is rare indeed.
But Mindy Ballou Fitzpatrick, a 2018 inductee to the NCSHOF who grew up in Morehead City and currently resides there, completed a rare trifecta during the summer of 2018.
Her credentials for induction to the Hall are well known. She is the only athlete to be a high school and college all-American in basketball and then a national surfing champion. Mindy lettered in volleyball, track and field and basketball during her athletic career at West Carteret High School, earning all-conference honors four times each in volleyball and basketball while earning all-state and all-American honors in basketball. She was in the inaugural class of the West Carteret High School Athletic Hall of Fame and the only athlete to have her jersey retired.
She went on to star in college basketball at South Carolina from 1982-86, where she was a three-time all-American and scored over 1,000 points for her career while setting a number of school assist marks that still stand.
After graduating from South Carolina with a degree in exercise science, Mindy moved back to the beach and began pursuing a different sport—competitive surfing. She won the 1994 Women’s Amateur National Championship in Sebastian Island, FL, as well as several Eastern Surfing Association championships.
But here is the third championship for this talented performer, and it came on the water as well. She was part of the boat that captured top honors in the 21st annual Keli Wagner Lady Angler (KWLA) Blue Martin Tournament. The boat Hit-N-Run topped 160 other boats in the one-day billfish release competition, earning a whopping $66,406 in the process.
Captain David Fields of the Hit-N-Run put Mindy on a blue marlin just over an hour into the start of the fishing competition, and she tallied a release after a 77-minute fight. That proved to be part of the 525 points the team accrued en route to the title.
Mindy was also one of the ’18 inductees who participated in the panel discussion on the Saturday morning after the 2018 induction ceremonies as part of the NCSHOF Student-Athlete Program seminar at the North Carolina Museum of History.
Admittedly, this is not my story to tell.
It all began in 1998, when Dale Earnhardt won the Daytona 500 for the only time in his legendary career. The day before that race, a girl named Wessa Miller gave Earnhardt a lucky penny. He glued it to his dash on the spot, and the next day, that penny was in the car as Earnhardt crossed the finish line.
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