NCHSAA Hall of Fame Class of 2012 member, Larry Rhodes, passed away this week. Rhodes was an outstanding coach at a couple of Gaston County schools in a couple of different sports. A graduate of High Point Central and then East Carolina University, Rhodes coached from 1956 through 1970 at Frank Ashley High in Gastonia and then the next 20 years at Gastonia Ashbrook. During his tenure as a men's varsity head basketball coach, Rhodes rolled up 336 victories to 174 losses, winning 10 conference championships and capturing the 1967 NCHSAA state 4-A basketball title.
During the Ashley 1967 State Championship run, Rhodes helped guide his players and the surrounding school community through the tumultuous times of integration. During the first year of integration in Gaston County Schools, Rhodes started five black players on the championship team, despite brutal comments from community members according to a story by the Gaston Gazette.
He also coached golf for 33 seasons combined at the two schools and then helped run a number of NCHSAA golf tournaments, earning numerous coach of the year honors in both golf and basketball. He was the head coach at Ashbrook when it played West Charlotte in a game at the Charlotte Coliseum on February 28, 1979, that drew 10,076 fans. Perhaps his most famous former player, James Worthy of UNC and Los Angeles Lakers fame, still sponsors an annual athletic scholarship in Rhodes' honor. The Ashbrook High gymnasium has also been named in his honor.
You can read more about the life and accomplishments of Coach Larry Rhodes here.