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CHAPEL HILL -- Retired North Carolina High School Athletic Association executive director Charlie Adams has received a special honor from his hometown.
The Wake County Board of Education has approved the naming of the Cary High School gymnasium in honor of Adams, who was an outstanding athlete at Cary High and then later coached basketball there. He retired recently after a 42-year career with the NCHSAA, 25 as executive director.
It actually makes a unique double for the Adams family in terms of school buildings bearing the family name. Charlie's father, Henry R. Adams, served for many years on the Cary Advisory Board and later on the Wake County Board of Education and an elementary school not too far from Cary High is now known as the Henry R. Adams Elementary School. In addition, Charlie's mother taught for 40 years at Cary Elementary.
"I have never been in athletics for awards or accolades, but I must admit that I was speechless when Steve Holleman, one of my former captains and outstanding players, told me what was going to happen," said Adams. "I was blown away and was completely speechless, with tears streaming down my face.
"Both my family (the Adams) and my wife Sue's family (the Creels) were very involved with education and athletics through their careers back when Cary and the school were very small. I am very humbled by this award and would like to thank everyone who had anything to do with making this honor a reality."
Holleman, who also coached at Cary, was one of those who helped coordinate the process to get the gym named in honor of Adams.
"I am very fortunate to receive this great honor in a town and school that meant so much to me," said Adams. "I accept this tremendous honor on behalf of my Cary teams, my high school teammates, and for Cary High School and especially for the late Paul W. Cooper, my principal there as a student and later when I was a teacher/coach for him. I also remember Simon F. Terrell, my coach for my junior and senior years at Cary, and later I worked for 17 years as his assistant at the NCHSAA from 1967 to 1984.
"We always tried to provide a memory forever for our participants and this is certainly be a wonderful honor and later a memory for me and my family."
Kurt Glendenning, the Cary athletic director, said the school plans to have the official dedication early in the fall, possibly in conjunction with a Cary football game. "This is very important to our community," he said. "There are lots of people who will want to join in the celebration and we want to make sure we do it right. He was just the obvious person for this kind of honor and from his reaction, it appears this really means a lot to him. Everybody in the state knows who he is and it certainly puts a great label on our gymnasium."
Adams is a 1991 inductee into the East Carolina University Sports Hall of Fame and a charter member of the Cary High School Athletic Hall of Fame. He is also a member of the North Carolina Athletic Directors Hall of Fame, the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame, the National High School Sports Hall of Fame, and the NCHSAA Hall of Fame. He is also the only North Carolinian ever to serve as president of the National Federation of State High School Associations.