North Carolina High School Athletic Association

2020-2021 NCHSAA State Awards winners announced

The State Awards are designed to recognize those who have done the most for high school athletics in the state rather than a single accomplishment or having an outstanding win-loss record. The awards are named in memory or honor of outstanding individuals in each category, seven of whom are in the NCHSAA Hall of Fame. 

DORIS HOWARD FEMALE COACH OF THE YEAR – Meredith Lombardi, Fred T. Foard Volleyball

This year’s award goes to Fred T. Foard’s Head Volleyball Coach, Meredith Lombardi. Lombardi has turned Foard Volleyball into a powerhouse program. Winners of the last two 2A State Championships, her Tigers have compiled a 52-1 record over the last two years.

HARVEY REID MALE COACH OF THE YEAR- Larry Williford, Farmville Central Men’s Basketball

This year’s award goes to Larry Williford, head men’s basketball Coach and Athletic Director for Farmville Central. Coach Williford has led the Jags to three-straight 2A State Championships in basketball, compiling a 76-2 record over the last three seasons, all while leading an athletic program through COVID-19 protocols and scheduling.


This year's award goes to Jason Amy, Athletic Director at Northwood High School. Amy has been a long-time Athletic Director at Northwood and the Chargers have had one of their best years in recent memory, sending a Men’s Basketball Team to the State Championship Game and making deep playoff runs in Football, Women’s Basketball and several other sports. Amy has been doubly busy this year, serving as the Athletic Director for Northwood and the new Seaforth High, which is set to open in the fall. 

BOB DEATON PRINCIPAL OF THE YEAR – Jerry Simmons, New Bern High School

This year's award goes to New Bern High School Principal, Jerry Simmons. Simmons has steadily guided the Bears in a COVID altered year, seeing several teams make deep playoff runs, including a regional finals appearance for the school’s football team. Simmons has also had his hands full as the President of the NCHSAA’s Board of Directors, guiding that group with a smooth and steady hand through the tumultuous challenges of COVID-19 and the 2020-2021 school year.

BOB MCRAE SUPERINTENDENT OF THE YEAR – Rodney Shotwell, Rockingham County Schools

The 2020-2021 Bob McRae Superintendent of the Year is presented to Rodney Shotwell, Superintendent of Rockingham County Schools. Shotwell has been an outstanding supporter of the NCHSAA throughout his long career in public education. He served a full term on the Board of Directors, serving an additional three years as president, vice president and past president. During the 2020-2021 school year, Shotwell chaired the Association’s Realignment Committee.

TIM STEVENS MEDIA REPRESENTATIVE OF THE YEAR – Dean Hensley, Hendersonville Times-News

The 2020-2021 Tim Stevens Media Representative of the Year goes to the Hendersonville Times-News’ Dean Hensley. Hensley has been a staple of high school sports coverage in Henderson County and the surrounding area since 1996. Hensley has provided outstanding coverage of Henderson County Teams and NCHSAA events all year during the challenges of 2020-2021.

ELTON HAWLEY ATHLETIC TRAINER OF THE YEAR – Carrie Powell, Swain County High School

Next, we recognize the Elton Hawley Athletic Trainer of the Year. This year’s recipient is Carrie Powell from Swain County High School. Powell is a multi-year veteran as a Licensed Athletic Trainer and has been dedicated to Swain County for nearly all of her tenure. She served as a training liaison in Region 8 for Wet Bulb Globe Temperature readings and various other NCHSAA initiatives.  

DR. TIM TAFT MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL OF THE YEAR – Dr. Heath Thornton, Wake Forest Baptist Health

This year’s recipient is Dr. Heath Thornton from Wake Forest Baptist Health. Dr. Thornton oversees the athletic training outreach for Wake Forest Baptist Health, which has helped put athletic trainers in many member schools in Forsyth, Davidson, Alleghany, Yadkin, and Surry Counties. He has served as a medical liaison for the NCHSAA at the State Cross Country Meet and at the State Wrestling Tournament annually.