North Carolina High School Athletic Association

30th Class of the NCADA Hall of Fame Inducts Vernon  Aldridge and Kelly Lewis

The North Carolina Athletic Directors Association (NCADA) is pleased to announce the 30th Class of the NCADA Hall of Fame. We congratulate Vernon Aldridge and Kelly Lewis for being selected for induction into the 2024 NCADA Hall of Fame. It is a well-deserved and great honor. They will be inducted during the NCADA Conference Banquet at the Renaissance Hotel in Asheville at 6:30 pm on Monday, March 18th. 

Induction into the NCADA Hall of Fame recognizes achievement and excellence in athletic administration. Selection to the NCADA Hall of Fame is a four-step process, including nomination, screening by the Hall of Fame Screening Committee, and rating by the NCADA Executive Committee. Finally, the NCADA Board of Directors selects those individuals to be inducted. Two outstanding athletic administrators will join the one hundred and twelve (112) previous inductees, bringing the total inductees to one hundred and fourteen (114). 

Here is a closer look at this year’s honorees: 

Vernon Aldridge, CMAA

Vernon Aldridge graduated from Pembroke State University with a social studies education degree; he would later return to UNC Pembroke to earn his master’s in school administration. In 2015, he graduated from East Carolina with an EDS in Administration and Supervision. 

Vernon retired from the Cumberland County School System in 2021 after serving the district as a teacher/coach, athletic director/assistant principal, principal, and director of student activities. Vernon served as an assistant football coach, softball coach, wrestling coach, baseball, bowling, tennis, and basketball coach at Douglas Byrd, Seventy-First, and South View High Schools in Cumberland County. Vernon coached in two state softball and two state football championships at South View High School. Following a twelve-year coaching career, Vernon was named assistant principal and athletic director at Pine Forest High School. He would serve in this position until 2010 when he became the principal of Gray’s Creek High School. In 2016, he moved to the central office to become the director of student activities, overseeing the athletic program of the system’s fourteen middle and ten high schools. He also would oversee the system health and physical education curriculum. 

Vernon joined the NCADA and NIAAA in 2003, earning his CAA in 2006 and CMAA in 2008. During his time as athletic director at Pine Forest, Vernon served on the NIAAA Certification Committee, was on the national and state LTI teaching faculty, and served as the Two Rivers Conference President and member of the Southeastern Athletic Officials Association Board. 

While serving as the student activities director for Cumberland County Schools, Vernon served on the NCADA Board of Directors 2016-2017 and has served as the Associate Director of the NCADA from 2017 to the present. 

Vernon served on the Fayetteville Parks and Recreation Board from 2016-2021, the NCHSAA Board of Directors from 2019-2023, The NCHSAA 2021-24 Realignment Committee, and The Special Olympics of NC Unified Sports Board from 2019-2021. Vernon brought Unified Sports of track and field and bowling to Cumberland County. 

During his five years at the central office, three schools received the NCHSAA Exemplary Program award: Cape Fear 2018, Terry Sanford 2019, and Gray’s Creek 2020. During this time, Cumberland County had the first high and middle schools to become NFHS level one and two schools nationwide. 

During his time as an athletic administrator, Vernon has taken over 30 LTI classes and has received the following awards: 2018 NCHSAA Special Persons Award, 2020 NCADA AD of Excellence, 2021 NCADA Citation of Merit, and 2022 NCADA Lifetime Achievement Award. 

Vernon has been married to his wife Kellie for twenty-nine years, and they have two daughters, Payton, who will be graduating with a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree in May, and Kylie, who currently attends Virginia Tech and is a member of the softball team majoring in public health. 

Kelly is in his 3rd year as the New Hanover County Schools Athletic Director and Driver’s Education Coordinator after four years as an Assistant Principal and Athletic Director at Eugene Ashley High School in Wilmington, NC. During his time as the district athletic director, the district has conducted a voluntary Title IX review of all athletic facilities, created a district athletic handbook, implemented unified track and field, started a project to replace each stadium field with artificial turf, and brought girl’s flag football to NHCS this spring. He is completing his second NIAAA-U Cohort this school year. He is in his 34th year of public education and 21st as an athletic administrator.

Before his time at NHCS, much of his career was spent with Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools at West Charlotte and Independence High School. He was a teacher, assistant football, and head baseball coach at West Charlotte. After serving as the head baseball coach for one year at Lexington High School, he returned to CMS to be a teacher and coach at Independence High School during their 109 consecutive game-winning streak in football. After accepting his first AD job at Waddell High School in 2003, he returned to be the AD at Independence High School from 2004 to 2017.

Kelly G. Lewis, CMAA

Kelly has been a member of the NCADA and NIAAA since 2003, earning his CAA in 2006 and CMAA in 2010. Since becoming an AD, he has served on the Southwestern AAAA Conference executive board, Metrolina Football Officials Association President, Mideastern Conference President, NCADA board of directors and executive board, NCADA Mentoring Committee, NCADA Awards Committee, NCADA teaching faculty as well as an NIAAA Committee Member. He has completed 40 LTC courses. Kelly has been awarded the Gerald McGee Award of Excellence in 2023, the Rusty Lee Professional Development Award in 2020, the NCADA State Distinguished Service Award in 2016, the Charlie Adams Distinguished Service Award in 2016, and the NCADA AD of the Year in 2014.

Kelly has been married to Kathryn for 32 years, and they have four daughters, Emma, Caroline, Diana, and Ruth, and one son-in-law, Jacob.

NCADA Hall of Fame Banquet Information

A special video presentation will introduce each new inductee, who will receive a commemorative NCADA Hall of Fame ring from Southern Recognition in honor of the induction. The NCADA Hall of Fame is the highest honor bestowed upon an individual. We encourage former players, coaches, colleagues, and friends to share lasting memories. Please plan to join us in Asheville as we celebrate the lifetime of achievement and the impact these individuals have had on our profession and their communities. 

If you would like to attend the NCADA Banquet on Monday, 3/18/24, at 6:30 pm, please visit the NCADA Website for more information and purchase tickets.