Longtime track and field icon and NCHSAA Hall of Fame member from the Class of 2012, Robert Steele, passed away recently.
Steele was one of the state's most outstanding coaches in track and field for a number of years, helping to build North Rowan into a state powerhouse in the sport. A graduate of East Rowan High and then Livingstone College in Salisbury in 1975, Steele coached from 1977 through '86 at Webb High School in Oxford, guiding his track team to six conference titles.
After his stint at Oxford Webb, he moved to North Rowan, where his teams rolled up an incredible 15 NCHSAA state championships. His men's track and field squads at North earned 11 state crowns, including five in a row from 1994 through 1998. He also served as an assistant football coach at both stops. Steele has earned numerous Coach of the Year honors as well as a couple of national recognitions from the National Scholastic Sports Foundation, and has been honored for his community service in Rowan County. Steele has previously been inducted into the Rowan-Salisbury Hall of Fame and the Livingstone College Hall of Fame.