North Carolina High School Athletic Association

Earl Eller, long-time North Wilkes AD, passes away at 72

The NCHSAA is saddened to announce the passing of Earl Eller, long-time AD at North Wilkes High School and a stalwart in the athletic community in Wilkes County. The snippet below is from the obituary posted by the funeral home handling arrangements, Reins-Sturdivant Funeral Home. Read the full obituary on the funeral home website here.

"In 1968, Eller began teaching Biology, Health, and Physical Education at North Wilkes High School where he also started his coaching career, becoming the first head football coach. Earl inherited a tradition of winning because the Vikings were widely known for their basketball success, having won a state title. In his first two years, the football team played a junior varsity schedule with afternoon games on the baseball field. The Vikings played their first varsity home game in their new football stadium in 1970. In 1972, their third year of varsity competition, North Wilkes won its first conference championship. Coach Eller coached the football program for 13 years, participated in state playoffs for four years, and served as athletic director for 32 years.

Coach Eller worked tirelessly to upgrade facilities and establish programs for young men and women, and because of his dedication, the field house at North Wilkes High School is named in his honor. During Eller’s tenure, North Wilkes athletics grew from two sports to 32 teams when he retired. Coach Eller started the weight program for all athletes and helped coordinate Athletic Booster Club projects that included: adding bleachers in the gym, baseball field, and football field; press boxes at both fields; handicap viewing area; and a concession building for football. During Eller’s career, a football facility was constructed along with a running track, tennis courts, and women’s softball field. Coach Eller’s vision along with county and community support made this possible."

He was 72 years old. There will be a celebration of life for Coach Eller at North Wilkes High School Old Gymnasium on Tuesday, September 18 and the family will receive visitors immediately afterward.