NCHSAA Awards presented at Regional Meetings

CHAPEL HILL - The North Carolina High School Athletic Association presented special awards at its just completed eight regional meetings across the state.

Commissioner Que Tucker of the NCHSAA and associate commissioner Karen DeHart, on behalf of the Association, presented both the Charlie Adams Distinguished Service Awards and the Special Person awards to recipients in each region.

The Charlie Adams Distinguished Service Awards are given per region and go to a person with at least 10 years of experience in education and athletics who is still active in the field and has regularly gone "above and beyond" the call of duty at both the local and the state level. The Special Person award is similar but may go to a contributor to the NCHSAA who is not directly in coaching or education.

The award winners included:

REGION 1

Charlie Adams Distinguished Service Award - Ron Butler, Pitt County Schools –

Ron Butler was a product of Pitt County Schools, having graduated from J.H. Rose High School, where he was a star varsity football player and two-time state wrestling champion with a 54-0 record. Butler received many accolades in both sports, including being selected as an All-American in 1980. He went on to receive an athletic scholarship to UCLA, where he lettered all 4 years. 

Butler was hired by Pitt County School in 1997 as a business teacher and assistant coach at North Pitt High School, later becoming head football coach, head golf and wresting coach – a program which he started at the school in 1998.  He was later named the school’s athletic director. In 2009, Butler stepped into the role of district Athletic Director for Pitt County Schools, overseeing all middle and high school athletic programming. Among his many accomplishments in this role, Butler helped implement concussion protocols in Pitt County Schools athletic programs and collaborated with East Carolina University to provide certified athletic trainers to high school sports programs. Butler is married to Paige Butler and is the father of two children, Chandler and Madison.

Special Person Award - Barbara Hill, Columbia High School –

Barbara Hill moved to North Carolina from New York in the early 1990’s, starting her career with Tyrrell County Schools in August of 1993. Since then she started the volleyball program at Columbia Early College High School and has helped build the program into a force to be reckoned with. She has also coached Track & Field and Softball during her time at Columbia.

As an educator, Hill described her goal as, “to have every child begin to believe in their ability to learn. Education for me was a way to give to others the kind of things that were given to me. It was the only career I ever wanted.” She believes very strongly in students learning about other cultures. After a brief retirement, she returned to Columbia to coach the volleyball team in 2015.

REGION 2

Charlie Adams Distinguished Service Award - Fred Lynch, Laney High School –

Fred Lynch coached basketball in New Hanover County Schools for 37 years. He has completed 23 years as Athletic Director at Laney High School where he has been inducted in the school’s Hall of Fame. As a hoops coach, Lynch has compiled a record of 426-243 in basketball and been named the Mid-Eastern Coach of the Year seven times. His team won the Eastern Regional Championship in 1999, three sectional championships, a state runner-up finish and seven conference championships.

He was honored to coach the East team in the NCCA East/West All-Star Game in 2006 and the North Carolina team in the 2011 NC/SC Classic. In 2002 he was named the Regional Athletic Coach of the year and in 2014 he was recognized as one of the 100 Athletic Directors to be Remembered. He has coached athletes that have gone on to play professionally in the NFL and NBA, including the famous #23, Michael Jordan. In 2012 a summer basketball tournament was established in his honor, the Fred Lynch Invitational.

Special Person Award - Chris Roehner, South Brunswick High School –

Since joining South Brunswick High School as a teacher and a coach 18 years ago, Chris Roehner has tirelessly worked to better the lives of student-athletes. He has coached baseball, men’s and women’s basketball and men’s tennis in addition to serving as an assistant football coach. He has also served as the school’s athletic director for 15 years, becoming a Certified Master Athletic Administrator in 2008. During his time as athletic director, South Brunswick has won the Wells Fargo Conference Cup as the best overall athletic program in their conference six times.

Roehner has served as a Conference President for 12 years, 10 in the Waccamaw Conference and two in the Mideastern Conference. He also has served on the NCHSAA Realignment Committee as well as the Cape Fear Umpires Association Board for six years. He is actively involved in the North Carolina Athletic Directors Association, serving on the group’s Board of Directors for four years. He was NCADA Secretary in 2014, Vice President in 2015 and is the Executive Board President of the NCADA for 2016. In 2016, he was named the NCADA’s Region 2 Athletic Director of the Year as well as the group’s 2015 State Athletic Director of the Year.

REGION 3

Charlie Adams Distinguished Service Award - Bob Hill, Vance County Schools –

Bob Hill, long-time Durham County Schools Coach and Athletic Director, now Vance County Schools employee, began his athletic career in Tennessee where he excelled in football and track and field at Dobyns Bennett High School. Upon graduation, he earned a scholarship to North Carolina Central where he was named Male Athlete of the Year. After graduation from NC Central, he began his coaching career as a volunteer coach under the tutelage of NCHSAA Hall of Fame Coach Russell Blunt.

Hill coached football and track at Durham High School and then Hillside winning the NC State County Conference Coach of the Year award 8 times, the NC State Track and Field Coach of the Year award 4 times and was named the NCAAHPED Athletic Director of the Year. He was the first national Certified Master Athletic Administrator in the Durham Public School System and has served as the Vice President for the North Carolina Athletic Directors Asosciation. In 2010, he was awarded the National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association Award of Merit, the highest award given on a state level to an athletic director.

Special Person Award - Alex Bass, Cardinal Gibbons High School –

Alex Bass, a graduate of Cardinal Gibbons HS and Cathedral School, has served as Cardinal Gibbons' Sports Information Director since July 2007. In this role, Mr. Bass has regularly volunteered his time and graciously served the North Carolina High School Athletic Association (NCHSAA) in a variety of capacities. For close to 10 years, Mr. Bass has helped coordinate and manage event admissions and souvenir programs for NCHSAA championship events in volleyball and swimming & diving, while also serving as an on-site media coordinator for these championship events. Given his many years of involvement with the volleyball and swimming & diving championships, Bass has been an important resource for all of the coaches and parent volunteers from the many school communities who help host these events. 

At Cardinal Gibbons, Bass has championed many student recognition programs, and helped to preserve the school’s rich history and legacy through the introduction of an athletics Hall of Fame. Bass serves on the school’s Athletics Hall of Fame Selection Committee and regularly acts as the Master of Ceremonies for “Senior Day” activities and “Signing Day” ceremonies. Bass also acts in a compliance role for the school, certifying interscholastic eligibility for all teams and corresponding with the NCHSAA on scholar-athlete recognition for individuals and teams.

Bass has served, concurrently, as the Sacristan, and served three years 2007-2010 as the school's Yearbook Adviser. Prior to joining Cardinal Gibbons as a full-time employee, Mr. Bass served as the Sports Editor for the Cary News. Bass still regularly contributes as a freelance journalist for many high school media outlets around the state. Bass holds a B.A. degree in History from UNC Chapel Hill and a M.S. degree in Technical Communication from NC State. As a senior at Cardinal Gibbons, Bass was awarded the Bishop Waters Memorial Award, presented annually to the graduating senior who has shown outstanding witness to the Roman Catholic Faith, by living out each day, the Christian call to holiness.

REGION 4

Charlie Adams Distinguished Service Award - Brooks Matthews, Harnett County Schools -

Brooks Matthews has spent his entire professional career in Harnett County after earning an undergraduate degree in biology as well as his master’s degree in Science Education with an add-on certificate in School Administration from Campbell University. He has been a high school science teacher, assistant & head principal as well as an athletic director. Matthews served at Triton High School for 11 years and has long been a part of the NCHSAA, serving on the association’s Board of Directors from 2007-2012, including a stint as the President from 2011 to 2012. He currently serves as the Board of Director’s Past President and is the Assistant Superintendent for Auxiliary Services with Harnett County Schools.

Matthews was selected as Harnett County’s Assistant Principal of the Year in 1998 and Principal of the Year in 2008. He and his wife Rosa Maria live in Buies Creek and have three children, two of whom are public school teachers) and five grandchildren.

Special Person Award - Jason Cox – Carolinas Golf Association –

Jason Cox serves as the Director of Junior Golf and Tournament Operations for Carolinas Golf Association and helps partner with the NCHSAA to host NCHSAA State Championships in the Pinehurst area and provide outstanding support to the NCHSAA throughout the year. Jason is a graduate of Jacksonville High School where he was a member of the 1987 NCHSAA 4A State Championship Team.

He and his staff help with the NCHSAA with USGA Rules Clinics and Interpretations as well as secure Carolinas Golf Association officials for Regional Championships. Cox and the organization also secure CGA officials for the seven different NCHSAA State Championships (3 classifications for women and 4 for men), set up course markings, tee box and pin locations

REGION 5

Charlie Adams Distinguished Service Award - Charles Elmore, Davidson County Schools –

Charles Elmore has been with Davidson County Schools since starting at West Davidson High School in 1983. He has served West Davidson as Head Football coach for 10 years, head women’s track coach for 12 years, head softball coach for 2 years, and has spent time as JV Girls and Boys Basketball Coach for various seasons. Elmore has even served a year as the school’s athletic trainer.

Working his way up, he was chosen as the school’s Athletic Director, a position he served in for 14 years before being selected to become Davidson County School’s County Athletic Director, a job he’s held for 8 years. He has served as the conference president for three different conferences as well as a State, Regional and County Track Meet Director. In 2011 and 2012, he was a member of the NCHSAA’s Realignment Committee, tasked with the 2013-2017 Realignment. In 2013 he was inducted into the Davidson County Hall of Fame and had the football field at West Davidson High School’s J.C. Glosson Stadium named “Charles Elmore Field” in his honor.

Special Person Award - Roger Morton, Piedmont Soccer Officials’ Association –

Roger Morton has officiated NCHSAA basketball for 34 years, he is the Past President of the Triad Basketball Officials Association. He currently serves as an NCHSAA regional supervisor in soccer while serving at the collegiate level as the supervisor of the Southern Conference and Carolinas Conference Coordinator of Officials. He is the NCAA National Coordinator for Soccer for Region III.

He has officiated an NCHSAA State Championship in basketball, as well as the East/West Soccer All-Star game. In addition to his high school officiating distinction, Morton has worked numerous NCAA conference championship and has been selected to post-season soccer assignments for 18 consecutive years with the NCAA, including three different NCAA National Championship games. Morton has been honored with the Dick Knox Distinguished Service Award and recently completed an eight year stint on the NCHSAA Board of Directors as the Officials representative.

REGION 6

Charlie Adams Distinguished Service Award - Kelly Lewis, Independence High School –

Kelly Lewis has been a very active part of the Charlotte and Mecklenburg County Schools athletic program since he began working with the system in 1994. He has served as a coach in the sports of football and baseball, a conference chairperson and conference president, and as an athletic director during his time at Independence High School.

As a certified athletic administrator, Lewis also serves on the Metrolina Football Officials Association Board of Directors. He was named the NC Athletic Directors Association “Athletic Director of the Year” for the 2013-14 year, and has long been a member of the NCADA Awards Committee. He began serving on the NCADA’s Board of Directors in 2015-16 and earned the NCADA’s Distinguished Service award in 2016.

Special Person Award - Butch Ross, West Lincoln High School –

Butch Ross is a state championship winning wrestling coach at West Lincoln. His Rebel wrestling team won State Dual Team Wrestling Championships in 2000 and 2015. He has organized the 2A West Regional Wrestling Tournament for more than a decade and has performed exceptionally in his administrative role. Ross has continued to serve the last several years at West Lincoln despite having been with the school system long enough to retire for some time.

Ross is a West Lincoln alum and took over the school’s wrestling program in 1996. He has been inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame and was given the annual “Lifetime Service to Wrestling Award” for his dedication to the sport since childhood. His teams have averaged roughly 27 dual-team match wins per year.

REGION 7

Charlie Adams Distinguished Service Award - Tony Duncan, Elkin High School –

Tony Duncan is a graduate of Elkin High School and Appalachian State. Since graduating he has been teaching at Elkin High School for 29 years, 19 of those years he has served as the school’s athletic director. He has served as an assistant football coach at Elkin High School for each of his 29 years and was part of State Championship teams in 2002, 2003, 2005 and 2006.

Despite never playing tennis, Duncan has coached men’s tennis for eight years at Elkin, winning a dual-team state championship in 2013 and coaching six individual state championships. He has been named conference coach of the year seven times compiling an impressive 123-14 record. He has coached baseball and basketball as well. In addition to his school duties, Duncan serves as an official in the Blue Ridge Soccer Officials Association as well as the North State Football Officials Association.

Special Person Award - Donald Price, Late Athletic Director at Mt. Airy High School – Posthumously (to Mt. Airy High School)

Donald David Price passed away at age 52 after a battle with pancreatic cancer. He was a graduate of Monroe High School before he continued his education and football career at Appalachian State. Price served as Mount Airy’s athletic director since 2003 and the Granite Bears saw a tremendous amount of success under his leadership. Since Price took the A.D. role, Mount Airy amassed 40 conference championships, 38 individual state championships and 10 team state titles. Just this past year Price was inducted into the Greater Mount Airy Sports Hall of Fame and was tapped as the North Carolina Soccer Coaches Association as the group’s Athletic Director/Administrator of the year.

REGION 8

Charlie Adams Distinguished Service Award - Tony Baldwin, Buncombe County Schools –

Dr. Tony Baldwin is currently the Superintendent of Buncombe County Schools, a position he has held since 2009 and recently served a four-year term on the NCHSAA Board of Directors representing Region 8.

Baldwin is a graduate of T.C. Roberson High School and served an Associate Superintendent as well as a Principal in Buncombe County prior to his selection as Superintendent. He received the NCHSAA Citation Award in 2007. He was named the Service Award winner in 2005 by the NC Association of School Administrators (NCASA) and has been named both the Principal of the Year in Buncombe County and the Western Regional Principal of the Year in 2003.

Special Person Award - Dawn Lowe, Mitchell High School -

Dawn Lowe has been the head women’s basketball coach at Mitchell High School from 2004 to 2013. During that span, Lowe’s teams have amassed five conference championships and two conference tournament championships. They have appeared in the Regionals on three separate occasions and Lowe was named the Western Highlands Conference Coach of the Year four times. She also was named the North Carolina Basketball Coaches Association Coach of the Year for District 12 three times during that span. Her teams posted an impressive 154-57 record.

Lowe also was dedicated to improving student’s lives and has long been involved in the NCHSAA’s Student Leadership programs serving as Region 8 coordinator of the Student Athlete Summer Institute. SASI is intended to develop leadership skills for student-athletes and build teams of student athletes to serve as role models in the areas of alcohol and substance abuse, violence prevention and sportsmanship.