North Carolina High School Athletic Association

Central Academy Coach Wins North Carolina Spirit of Sport Award

CHAPEL HILL—Tad Baucom, the head football coach at Central Academy of Technology and Arts in Monroe, is the third annual recipient of the North Carolina Spirit of Sport Award presented by the North Carolina High School Athletic Association.

 The NCHSAA is participating in the  “Spirit of Sport Award” program sponsored by the National Federation of State High School Associations.  It was established to recognize those individuals who exemplify the ideals of the positive spirit of sport that represents the core mission of education-based athletics. 

The award is given in recognition of a specific act or an activity of longer duration.  Nominees can be a coach, athletic administrator, trainer, student-athlete or any others associated with the school’s athletic program.  Baucom’s efforts will be recognized at the NCHSAA Annual Meeting on May 2 at the Smith Center on the campus of the University of North Carolina.

Baucom has been involved in high school athletics since 1978 and has coached at Topsail and Monroe, among other stops. He is currently coaching both football and track and at Central Academy.

Central Academy was playing in its second NCHSAA playoff game in school history against Mount Airy during the 2012 season. According to the nomination information, Baucom and his players had heard about a special needs student who was a member of the Mount Airy team but rarely played.  Mount Airy players had even indicated to the Central players to “take it easy and don’t hurt him” if he got in the game.

Baucom had a different idea. Although his team was out of time outs and down 34-14 late in the contest, he asked the officials to stop the game when the player entered the game. Baucom told his team to let the player score without his knowing they were doing so, and then signaled to the Mount Airy bench to give the player the ball. The player in question got the ball and scored on the next play.

Davis Whitfield, NCHSAA commissioner, said, "Coach Baucom’s selfless act speaks volumes to the kind of person he is and the values that we believe are embodied by the spirit of sport. This is a great choice for the award.”