CHAPEL HILL – Legendary and long-time Executive Director of the NCHSAA, Charlie Adams, has passed away at the age of 81. He passed away peacefully this morning at his home in Chapel Hill, surrounded by his family and loved-ones.

Mr. Adams led the Association through huge transitions and great expansions during his tenure as Executive Director from 1984 until he retired in 2010. He was the fifth Executive Director in the history of the Association. Prior to becoming executive director, Adams served as assistant executive director and supervisor of officials for the Association for some 17 years.  He conducted rules clinics in various sports across the state during that time in addition to supervising a number of interscholastic programs.

He was a visionary leader of the NCHSAA, contributing to a number of innovations during his time with the Association. One of Adams’ legacies is the NCHSAA Endowment, which was conceived, discussed and implemented under his leadership. It will help ensure that certain athletic opportunities for student-athletes will always be available.

Other important contributions during Adams tenure include implementing a corporate sponsorship program, greatly expanding the state awards program, including the creation and implementation of Scholar-Athlete and Hall of Fame programs. He is also credited with developing more classified state championships and moving many to neutral sites. Under his guidance, the Student Services program was conceived, which includes a strong alcohol and other drug education-prevention component.

NCHSAA Commissioner Que Tucker began her time at the Association during Adams tenure, coming on staff to begin work with the Student Services department. She offered these thoughts:  

“Charlie Adams was a man who was kind and generous.  He loved all of us who worked with him, and it showed in his face every time we were together as staff and colleagues.  He was proud of and found tremendous joy in the work of the NCHSAA.  There was never a time, that I could not talk to Charlie or that he would not offer advice –asked for or not!  Some may have known him as I did, but those who didn’t, missed out on knowing not only a great leader, but more importantly, a great man.”

Adams NCHSAA roots run deep, as he was a member of a State Championship winning basketball team at Cary High School, where he later became a Championship coach and member of the school’s Hall of Fame. He left Cary to go to Garner as Dean of Boys and then join the NCHSAA staff in 1967.

Adams was well regarded by his peers in state high school association work throughout the country and was very active in the National Federation of State High School Association (NFHS) activities throughout his time as Executive Director. He is one of seven people with NCHSAA-ties to be selected and inducted in the NFHS Hall of Fame. He served as president of the NFHS in 1997-1998.

The NCHSAA’s Distinguished Service Award bears his name, presented annually at regional meetings to one person in each of the state’s eight regions.  It is given to an individual still actively serving as an educator who has gone above and beyond what would normally be expected in service to NCHSAA programs and served in education for at least 10 years.

Final arrangements have been scheduled for 2:00 p.m. on Sunday, October 1, 2017 at University Baptist Church in Chapel Hill, NC.

Remembering Charlie Adams: Personal memories and recollections of Charlie Adams from his friends and co-workers


Former NCHSAA Board Presidents

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