PEMBROKE—Ned Sampson, considered one of the greatest native American athletes and coaches the state has ever produced, passed away earlier this week at the age of 84.
Ned was an outstanding all-around athlete at Pembroke High, graduating in 1947, who later went on to a great career at UNC-Pembroke, which was then known as Pembroke State College. He captained the football, basketball and baseball teams there before his graduation in 1953 and is a charter member of the UNC-P Athletic Hall of Fame.
Sampson averaged 24.3 points per game during his senior basketball season in college in 1952, and he scored a long-standing school record 40 points against Campbell University.
After his graduation, Sampson coached from 1953 through ’67 at Magnolia High School, winning championships in both men’s and women’s basketball, and then from 1968-1983 was a teacher, coach and athletic director at Pembroke Senior High.
Sampson was the grand marshal of the Lumbee Tribe’s homecoming parade in 2010. That same year the 29th annual Lumbee Homecoming 5K run and fun walk was held in his honor.
Sampson was a charter member and president emeritus of the Pembroke Lions Club. He also was a deacon and a lifelong member of Berea Baptist Church in Pembroke.
An endowed scholarship for a basketball player has been established in Sampson’s honor at UNCP. He also was a long-time member of the Purnell Swett High School Booster Club, and helped re-start the football program at UNCP, making many public appearances with former players.
He was inducted into the North Carolina High School Athletic Association Hall of Fame in 2004.
A funeral for Sampson will be held at 2 p.m. Friday at Berea Baptist Church, with the Rev. Chris Hunt officiating. Burial will follow in the Lumbee Memorial Gardens.