Celebrating Black History Month: Willie Bradshaw

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. Our thanks to Rick Strunk, former NCHSAA Associate Commissioner, on his research into many of these articles and Championships.


A native of Durham, Willie Bradshaw has devoted a lifetime of service to his city and his alma mater. Bradshaw was an outstanding athlete at Hillside High School in Durham and played on the 1943 football team that was unbeaten, untied and unscored upon. He went on to North Carolina College, now North Carolina Central University, and was a great athlete there, joining the NCCU Athletic Hall of Fame in 1985. He coached at I.E. Johnson in Laurinburg, Lincoln High in Chapel Hill, and at Dudley in Greensboro before going to Hillside in 1963. He served as a coach and athletic director there for 15 years, and then was the athletic director for the Durham City School system, becoming the first black city/county athletic director, until 1991.

A former president of both the North Carolina High School Athletic Directors Association as well as the North Carolina Coaches Association, Bradshaw’s career coaching mark as a head football coach was 96-43-6, while his basketball coaching slate was 215-119 in 14 seasons.  He was honored with a North Carolina High School Athletic Association Distinguished Service Award in 1992 and has also been involved at the national level with the National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators’ Association. Bradshaw is one of just a handful of North Carolinians in the National High School Hall of Fame. He joined the ranks of the NCHSAA Hall of Fame in 1995. He also was recognized as one of the “100 To Remember” administrators during the NCHSAA’s 100th anniversary.

The NCHSAA created a scholarship in Bradshaw's honor to provide scholarship support to an outstanding African American, American Indian/Alaska Native* and/or Asian Pacific Islander American**, or Hispanic American student-athlete participating on a sanctioned varsity team at a North Carolina High School Athletic Association member school. Award Process: One male and one female from each of the eight regions will be selected to receive a $750 scholarship each to further their education. From the pool of sixteen (16) regional winners, one male and female will be selected as overall state winners and receive an additional $1,000 each. The deadline for this year is February 8, 2019, and interested students may apply at this link.