Gainey Award Winners Announced By NCHSAA

EAST BLADEN COACH PATTY EVERS,TWO STUDENTS EARN NCHSAA’S FIFTH ANNUAL PAT GAINEY AWARDS

       CHAPEL HILL—The North Carolina High School Athletic Association announced today the winners of two special awards established in the name of the late Pat Gainey.

       East Bladen High School head women's basketball and softball coach Patty Evers and two students, Haley Lanier of Pender High School and Elizabeth Batchelor of Washington High School, have been named this year’s winners of the Gainey Awards. They will be honored at the NCHSAA Annual Meeting at the Smith Center on the University of North Carolina campus on Thursday.

The awards are in memory of Gainey, a native of Dunn who recorded a outstanding record in women’s basketball at a couple of different stops during his coaching career and was a great supporter of women’s athletics. His overall record at Pamlico was an incredible 93-6 in women’s basketball and he also coached outstanding baseball teams there. He then moved to Taylorsville, where he coached from 1955-64. His women’s basketball teams won five Western North Carolina High School Activities Association titles and at one point recorded 54 consecutive wins and an amazing 140 straight conference victories. His overall women’s basketball mark was 358-57. He was inducted into the NCHSAA Hall of Fame in 2007.

       The Pat Gainey Coach Award recognizes excellence in character, achievement and coaching. It is awarded to a varsity coach at an NCHSAA school who provides great leadership, shows interest in his or her athletes on and off the field or court, is recognized as scrupulously honest, and has strongly supported an anti-drug and alcohol policy. All NCHSAA member schools may nominate individuals for the coach's award.

       Evers has coached women's basketball for 15 years, the last nine at East Bladen, and is the only coach to lead a team from Bladen County to an NCHSAA women's championship. She has had her basketball team in the finals for the past three years in two different classifications, approaching 300 career victories, and has also coached softball.

       She has been involved with Special Olympics as a volunteer coordinator and has also taken student-athletes to the NCHSAA Student-Athlete Summer Institute (SASI) for over a decade. She has led the school's Fellowship of Christian Athletes as well as the DREAM team that has tutored, mentored and started reading programs at area elementary schools.

       The Gainey Student Scholarship Awards are available to NCHSAA member schools in counties having a poverty rate of 20 percent or more for children 17 and under.  Student scholarship recipients alternate annually between a female athlete and a male baseball player meeting the established criteria.

       Lanier is a four-year varsity player in both softball and volleyball at Pender, helping lead her team to back-to-back NCHSAA state volleyball championships in 2009 and '10 and earning Most Valuable Player honors in the 2010 championship.  She is the sports editor of the award-winning Pender school yearbook and is also involved in the Beta Club and Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

       Active in her church, Lanier did a graduation project that centered on organ donation, and as part of that she organized a successful two-day organ donation registration program on the Pender campus. She plans to attend Catawba College in Salisbury and major in athletic training.

       Batchelor is a three-sport, four-year varsity player in tennis, women's basketball and women's soccer. She is a two-time Coastal 3-A Conference Player of the Year in tennis; all-conference, team MVP and captain who led her team in scoring at 21 points per game in basketball; and is the all-time leading goal-scorer at her school in soccer and serves as captain of that team as well.

       Beth is president of the Student Government Association at Washington and ranks in the top five students in her senior class. She will continue her career at East Carolina University in the fall.

       The awards are made possible by a gift from Gainey’s daughter, Mrs. Berry Jo Gainey Shoen, who currently resides in Port Townsend, Washington.

       “These awards are a wonderful tribute to the legacy of Pat Gainey and all that he did for high school athletics throughout his career,” said NCHSAA commissioner Davis Whitfield. “This year's recipients are outstanding representatives of the attributes that helped make Pat a great educator and coach.”