CHAPEL HILL– The North Carolina High School Athletic Association presented special awards at its just completed eight regional meetings across the state.
Interim commissioner Que Tucker of the NCHSAA and associate commissioner Rick Strunk, on behalf of the Association, presented both the Charlie Adams Distinguished Service Awards and the Special Person awards to recipients in each region.
The Charlie Adams Distinguished Service Awards are given per region and go to a person with at least 10 years experience in education and athletics who is still active in the field and has regularly gone "above and beyond" the call of duty at both the local and the state level. The Special Person award is similar but may go to a contributor to the NCHSAA who is not directly in coaching or education.
The award winners included:
Charlie Adams Distinguished Service: Robert Woodley, Currituck: Robert is currently the athletic director and men’s basketball coach at Currituck, where he has been since 2012. He has a long history of service to NCHSAA member schools since he also served at Edenton Holmes, where he coached basketball, and athletic director at Pasquotank.
He is a graduate of the College of the Albemarle and then got his bachelor of science degree at Atlantic Christian in Wilson. He has also worked at Princess Anne High School in Virginia Beach, Virginia.
Special Person: Scott Jones, Camden–Scott has served as coach, athletic director, and conference official and has been with Camden County Schools since 1992.
He has served as the head coach of the football team and has also coached women's basketball while serving as a social studies teacher. He is a graduate of Camden and received his Bachelor of Arts degree from East Carolina University. Very active in the North Carolina Athletic Directors Association, Scott served president of the organization during the 2010-11 academic year.
Charlie Adams Distinguished Service: Robbie Cauley, athletic director, Pender County schools—Robbie has served in the central office of the Pender County schools and is currently principal of the Pender Early College. He has coached in both Onslow County and Duplin County and has also been a principal at Pender High School.
A graduate of North Carolina State University who earned his masters at UNC-Wilmington, he has served the NCHSAA in a number of ways on special committees, including the Education and Athletics Committee currently.
Special Person: Kenesha Simmons, Southern Wayne— Kenesha Simmons teaches science, including biology as well as anatomy and physiology, at Southern Wayne.
She has served as the director of the Student Athlete Summer Institute, or SASI, for the Southeastern region of the state, one of the programs that is affiliated with the NCHSAA Student Services Program. SASI is a prevention program that targets teams of student athletes enrolled in grades 10, 11, and 12 in North Carolina’s public high schools. The curriculum includes activities centered on leadership development, effective teamwork, and lifelong skills for healthy living.
Charlie Adams Distinguished Service: Dexter Cooley, athletic director, Wakefield— Dexter has been the only athletic director that Wakefield High School has ever had until now and has also coached men’s basketball there. Cooley came to Wakefield when it opened in 2000 after serving as men’s basketball coach at Millbrook. Previously he had been the head basketball coach at Bunn, so he has enjoyed an excellent career as an athletic director and a coach.
Dexter was diagnosed with cancer in April and has been receiving treatment since that time. He has stepped down from the athletic director duties but will continue teaching physical education at the school. During Dexter’s tenure as athletic director at Wakefield, the school has been extremely successful in athletics.
Special Person: Melissa Knight, Orange and Cedar Ridge High Schools— Melissa is listed as the administrative assistant for athletics at both Orange and Cedar Ridge High Schools, but her service and involvement with the NCHSAA go far beyond that title. She started working at Orange in 1990 for Jim King, a well-known coach and athletic director.
Besides her work with those schools, she has been involved as the conference secretary for several conferences, currently working with the Big Eight and the North Central Athletic Conference, providing all the information that the NCHSAA needs from those two organizations. She has also assisted at the NCHSAA state wrestling championships in Greensboro.
Melissa grew up in Moore County and then graduated from Union Pines High School and Hardbarger Business College. Her daughters are both graduates of North Carolina State.
Charlie Adams Distinguished Service: Brian Edkins, principal, South View– Brian is principal at South View, taking over that role in 2007, after a stint as athletic director at the Cumberland County school, so he has an excellent background in athletics.
A graduate of Pembroke State, where he played soccer from 1988-92, Brian coached tennis at South Robeson and then coached soccer and bowling at South View during his coaching tenure. He has coached in the East-West all-star soccer game and was a Homer Thompson Eight Who Make A Difference winner back in 2000, and he founded “Kicking for Cancer”, a women’s soccer tournament in its 17th year that has raised over $50,000 for cancer research. He has also served on the Realignment Committee.
The Edkins have three children, and their son Caleb is a senior varsity soccer and tennis player who serves on the NCHSAA Student Athlete Advisory Committee.
Special Person: Tim Kinlaw, Cumberland County schools— Tim is the associate superintendent for auxiliary services for the Cumberland County schools, a role he has served for 22 years. He also has served as interim superintendent for the system, and prior to joining the Cumberland County schools he was director of operations and planning for Bladen County and is former manager of facilities at Duke University.
Tim has been very involved with the NCHSAA by providing excellent assistance with the Eastern Regional basketball tournament when it has been played in Fayetteville, which is a pretty massive undertaking. He is a graduate of Pembroke State University and earned his masters at Central Michigan. He also has served over 30 years as a volunteer fireman as well as coaching youth baseball and youth soccer.
Charlie Adams Distinguished Service: George Robinson, athletic director, Alamance-Burlington Schools— George is currently the athletic director for the school system after many years as a highly successful basketball coach at Burlington Cummings.
Robinson began his career in 1995 as a teacher assistant at Cummings and served as head varsity men’s basketball coach from 1999 to 2011, behavior modification coordinator from 1995 to 2011 and assistant principal since 2011. He led teams to NCHSAA state men’s basketball state championships at both the 2-A and 1-A levels, and was named conference coach of the year four times.
He has a bachelor’s degree in communication from Lenoir-Rhyne University in Hickory, a master’s degree in public administration from North Carolina Central University and a master’s degree in school administration from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. He is a graduate of Williams High School.
Special Person: Billy Edringston, North Carolina A&T State University—Billy is associate athletics director for game operations and facilities at A&T and has been tremendously helpful in helping the university host the NCHSAA track and field championships for years.
Edringston has served as the meet coordinator and facility contact for each meet since the track opened. He is the main liaison between A&T and the city of Greensboro and the meet coordinators from the various organizations like the NCHSAA. His responsibilities can include working with officials, timers, parking attendants, ticket-takers, custodial staff, volunteers, coaches and sponsors to ensure meets are conducted to the highest of standards.
Edringston began working at A&T as a student athletic trainer in 1981. In 1986, he became an assistant women’s basketball coach and Edringston became the facilities director in 1997. He was honored by the university system with the Erskine Bowles Award for his service last fall.
Charlie Adams Distinguished Service: Masanori Toguchi, Hough– Masanori is the athletic director at W.A. Hough High School in Cornelius, starting there when the school opened, and has also served as AD at West Charlotte. He was an outstanding athlete who played football and graduated from Wake Forest University after graduating from Olympic High School in Charlotte.
He has also been involved with the North Carolina Athletic Directors Association and served capably on the Non-Traditional Schools Committee that met actively a few years ago to help develop new policies.
Special Person: Mark Lackey, North Lincoln— Mark is an outstanding golf coach at North Lincoln High School, where he has been since 2003. Prior to that he coached golf as well as football and women’s basketball at East Lincoln, also coached at Lincolnton prior to that, and he has previously served as the North Lincoln athletic director. His North Lincoln men’s golf team has won a couple of NCHSAA state championships and contended for the title several other times, and the team has won eight consecutive conference championships.
He is a graduate of Appalachian State University and a member of the Lincoln County Sports Hall of Fame.
Charlie Adams Distinguished Service: Jim Woodruff, athletic director, St. Stephens— Jim has had a long and distinguished career in athletics. He was a teacher, coach and athletic director at Bunker Hill High School in Catawba County for 28 years, including a 20-year stint as men’s basketball coach. He taught and coached at St. Stephens from 1979 to ’84, then went to Bunker Hill. After a one-year retirement from Bunker, Jim has since been working at St. Stephens.
He is a native of West Jefferson and graduate of Lenoir-Rhyne University.
Special Person: Rodney King, North Stokes— Rodney is a 1997 graduate of North Stokes and a 2001 graduate of Appalachian State University. He has been teaching United States history and coaching since the fall of 2001.
He is the head cross country coach, head indoor track coach and the head women's track and field coach with several conference championships and the 2014 state 1-A men’s team championship in outdoor track.
Along with coaching, Rodney has served well at the state level. He has been the NCHSAA Meet Director for the State Cross Country Championships, the 1A/2A Indoor State Championships and the NCHSAA 1A State Track and Field Championships.
Charlie Adams Distinguished Service: Bill Miller, superintendent, Polk County— Bill is currently serving as past president on the NCHSAA Board of Directors after a term as president. He is a 1980 graduate of Wingate University and did graduate work at both UNC Charlotte and the University of South Carolina.
After serving on the men’s basketball staff at Wingate, Miller was a teacher and coach at the high school level for five years, serving as head men’s basketball coach at the old Tryon High School as well as coaching tennis and golf at various times.
He went on to serve as principal at Polk County High School before moving into the Polk central office, where he was personnel director and assistant superintendent before assuming the superintendent’s role. He has also served on the Realignment Committee and has been president of the WRESA Superintendent’s Council.
Special Person: Neil Blankenship, Swain County athletic director and head football coach— Neil has worked in some capacity for Swain High School since 1992, and has served as athletic director and head football coach at the school since 2012.
Swain has a great football tradition and his three-year record of head coach of 38-8 gives him the most wins of any coach in school history in that time. As athletic director, he has seen Swain win the Wells Fargo Conference Cup for overall sports excellence in each of the last two academic years.
Neil is working at his high school alma mater, as he is a graduate of Swain and then graduated from Mars Hill College.