North Carolina High School Athletic Association

Association Spotlight:black History Month — Lawrence Dunn And Robert Steele


During the month of February, in honor of Black History Month, the NCHSAA website will feature information about African-Americans who have made major contributions to the great tradition of high school sports in our state. We hope you find these both entertaining and informative.


Lawrence Dunn enjoyed an excellent coaching career in basketball and baseball as well as track and cross country at a couple of schools in Wake County.

A graduate of Berry O’Kelly High and then North Carolina A&T State University, where he was an outstanding basketball player, Dunn is probably best remembered for his success coaching basketball.

He guided the Garner women’s basketball team to a state championship and a perfect record in the 1977-78 season. Then, from 1979 to 2001, he guided the Athens Drive men’s basketball program to 445 victories against just 193 defeats. His teams won numerous conference championships in men’s basketball and also captured titles in cross country.

Dunn coached the East squad in the North Carolina Coaches Association all-star basketball game in 1990.

He was involved with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and as advisor for the student council at Athens Drive. He will be officially inducted into the North Carolina High School Athletic Association Hall of Fame in April.


Robert Steele has been one of the state’s most outstanding coaches in track and field for a number of years, helping to build North Rowan into a state powerhouse in the sport.

A graduate of East Rowan High and then Livingstone College in Salisbury in 1975, Steele coached from 1977 through ’86 at Webb High School in Oxford, guiding his track team to six conference titles. Then he moved to North Rowan, where his teams have rolled up an incredible 15 NCHSAA state championships.

His men’s track and field squads at North have earned 11 state crowns, including five in a row from 1994 through ’98. He also served as an assistant football coach at both stops.

Steele has earned numerous Coach of the Year honors as well as a couple of national recognitions from the National Scholastic Sports Foundation, and has been honored for his community service in Rowan County.

Steele has previously been inducted into the Rowan-Salisbury Hall of Fame and the Livingstone College Hall of Fame. He will be officially inducted into the North Carolina High School Athletic Association Hall of Fame in April.