NCHSAA Selects Homer Thompson Memorial “Eight Who Make a Difference” Award winners for 2018

The Homer Thompson Memorial “Eight Who Make a Difference” Award winners have been selected by virtue of their commitment to sportsmanship and leadership. These recipients serve as excellent role models to our student athletes with their positive and deidcated approach to the coaching profession. The award is presented by North Carolina Farm Bureau Insurance.


Andy Downing — Football, Basketball and Track Coach @ John A. Holmes High School 

Region 1 —Nominated by Athletic Director, Wes Mattera

Coach Downing has coached 3 sports for a number of years.  He also pastors at a local church. He is known to prepare meals for teams during the sports seasons.  Instrumental in forming a coaches Bible Study group and does “street” ministry to reach disadvantaged youth for organized community service for youth in order to educate and prevent crime and drug awareness.


Samuel Bobbitt — Men’s and Women’s Cross Country & Track and Field Coach @ Laney High School
Region 2 —Nominated by Athletic Director, Fred Lynch and Teacher Ruby Sutton

Sam is an outstanding teacher/coach.  You can always find Coach Bobbitt talking to students about their academics and encouraging them to get involved in school activities.  He consistently instills the importance of being a student athlete.  He insists they be selfless and committed to demonstrating high morals and the values of being a positive role model at school and in the community.  Sam is an energetic and motivational classroom teacher and has passion for his subject matter.  The energy, motivation, commitment, passion and patience he exhibits in the classroom extends to his coaching.


Matt Brown — Wrestling Coach @ Northern Durham High School
Region 3 – Nominated by Athletic Director, Alan Riggsbee .

As an off-campus coach, Coach Brown goes out of his way to support thee school and its wrestling program.  Matt is an advocate for education based athletics. He is in constant contact with teachers and other coaches to me sure his wrestlers are completing their work and behaving in school, exemplifying character and integrity.  He teaches his young men the right way to do things, a reason to treat people with respect, and cares for all wrestlers, his own and opponents alike.  He is a walking example of how a coach should present himself.


Todd Edge — Cape Fear Men’s and Women’s Golf Coach
 Region 4 — Nominated by Athletic Director, Matt McLean

Coach Edge is a “Coaches Coach.”  He cares for all students and coaches, not just the ones at Cape Fear High School.  A fellow coach at a competing schools once said, “He has set a standard for me and many others.”  Todd has been selected as the Cape Fear Teacher-of-the-Year and above all he is a values based coach educator. He works hard to instill integrity, sportsmanship and dedication in all of his student athletes.


Sean Vestal — North Forsyth High School Basketball Coach

Region 5 – Nominated by Kyndle Moore, Athletic Trainer

Coach Vestal is a great candidate for this award because of his demeanor, work ethic and consistency as a head coach.  He wants the best for his athletes and strives for greatness on and off the court. He is committed to improving his team as a whole and as individuals who will be able to function successfully in society. Sean is a father figure to his athletes showing them to have respect in any environment and how to treat people positively.  His dedication is truly admirable.


Brooke Stouder –Basketball Coach @ Jesse Carson High School
Region 6 – Nominated by Athletic Director, Becky Shopf

In a nutshell, she loves them as hard as she coaches them.  Brooke has one rule for her players – Do The Right Thing.  She is a great role model and models communication skills – social media, texting, and face-to-face.  Coach Stouder builds positive relationships with her players by leading a pre-season book study each season (this year they read The Positive Dog by Jon Gordon) revolving around leadership and character.  Additionally, she takes the girls on a mission trip every 2-3 years so they can see other cultures and learn to be truly thankful.


Jerome Ramsey – East Burke High School Basketball Coach 
Region 7—Nominated by Shane Mace, Principal

Coach Ramsey is truly a coach who embodies the attributes of this award.  As an 18-year administrator, I have never worked with a coach with greater integrity or desire.  He demonstrates the highest character possible both on and off the court. He holds his players to a very high standard and refuses to allow his players to question calls or make excuses for poor choices. He expects everyone to respond and react in a manner that brings honor to the school they are representing. His goal is to provide every player the opportunity to reach their fullest potential regardless of their ability. His peers respect him highly and search him out for advice on coaching and how to handle many situations they encounter.  As a principal, I couldn’t ask for our student athletes to have a greater role model.


Eric Filipek — T.C. Roberson High School Baseball Coach 
Region 8 – Nominated by Athletic Director, Laura Beatty.

From Day 1 on the TCR campus, Coach “Filly” has partnered with Bumcombe County’s Progressive Education Program which educates the mild to moderate handicapped students.  This partnership includes a student from the PEP organization to be recognized at each home game and throw out the “First Pitch.”  In addition, his teams volunteer each Saturday during the season to host the “Ted E. Tourist” adaptive baseball league.  His players have “bought” into this partnership and recognize the value and unbelievable opportunity to be a part of these student’s lives.