North Carolina High School Athletic Association

NCHSAA State Award Winners announced for 2016-2017

CHAPEL HILL – The North Carolina High School Athletic Association is proud to announce the State Award winners for the 2016-2017 Academic Year. These seven winners represent positions throughout the NCHSAA and have served with distinction in their respective areas of service.

The Association annually presents these statewide awards in seven different categories, all based on those "who have done the most for high school athletics" rather than a single accomplishment or having an outstanding won-loss record. State awards are presented to a male coach, female coach, athletic director, principal, superintendent, sports medicine representative and a media representative. These awards will be presented at the NCHSAA’s Annual Meeting on Thursday, May 4th at the Dean E. Smith Center in Chapel Hill.


Presented in conjunction with the North Carolina Coaches Association (NCCA)

Elizabeth “Liz” Gary, Southeast Raleigh High School

Liz Gary has been a health and physical education teacher for 23 years. She has spent 21 of those years as a Track and Field Coach between middle school and high school teams. Now the Head Track and Field Coach at Southeast Raleigh, Gary has seen her teams win seven 4A team State Championships with three 4A State Runner-up finishes. Her Bulldogs are nine time regional champ and she was the 2016 Female Track and Field Coach of the Year for the state of North Carolina.

Her teams have captured 16 Greater Neuse River Conference Championships and she has been named the Greater Neuse River Conference Coach of the Year 11 times. Liz is the proud mother of Jordan and Khalil Gary and recently engaged to Craig Morris.


Presented in conjunction with the North Carolina Coaches Association (NCCA)

Reginald “Reggie” Lucas

Reginald Lucas has been a Health and PE teacher in Wake County since 1994 following a football career at Lenior Rhyne University where he played defensive back. After graduating from Lenoir Rhyne and earning his teaching certificate from St. Augustine’s College in Raleigh, Lucas returned to his high school alma mater, Wake Forest-Rolesville High School, where he was an all-conference performer in three sports, and he has not left. He was named the Head Football Coach in 2009, leading the program to an impressive 102-15 record during his tenure, including 4 conference championships, 4 Eastern Regional titles, and won the school’s first state championship in 2016. The victory was the first Football State Title for a school from Wake County since Garner’s 1987 Title.

Coach Lucas track record shows a commitment to excellence and accountability, maximizing student success in the classroom and on the playing field. Many of his student-athletes have been able to continue their academic and playing careers at the next level, including Dexter Lawrence, now a National Champion at Clemson, Bryce Love at Stanford, Dylan Inteman and Hunter Williams at Wake Forest, Marcus Jones at Minnesota and Xach Gill at UNC just to name a very few. Coach Lucas is a native of Wake Forest, and resides in Raleigh with his wife Ericka and 11-year-old son Nigel.


Cory Crossen, Plymouth High School

Cory Crossen, a 1997 graduate of North Carolina A&T State University, holds a Masters in Educational Leadership. He has taught Agricultural Education at Plymouth High School for 20 years, while serving as an assistant football coach for the last 18 seasons, the last 12 of those as the defensive coordinator. He was a member of the coaching staff in 2007, led by Coach Robert Cody, that took the 2007 Football team to the school’s first-ever state title.

Crossen is a Distinguished Service Award Winner from 2001-2002 and was named the Plymouth High School Teacher of the Year for 2008-2009. He received the Making A Difference Mentor Award for his work investing in the lives of at risk students through athletics in 2006-2007 and was given the Athletic Commitment Award in 2014-2015. On a state level, Coach Crossen has demonstrated great organizational skills, and performed exceptionally in his duties as an AD by communicating clearly and effectively with any opponents Plymouth has had in the playoffs.


Doris Sellers, A.C. Reynolds High School

Doris Sellers has been principal of A.C. Reynolds High School in Asheville since June of 2011. She has been named Buncombe County Schools Principal of the Year and Region 8 Principal of the Year, in consideration for North Carolina’s Principal of the Year. Last year she received the Eblen Compass Award for significant improvement in Graduation Cohort Rate. She is active as a District and Regional New Principal Mentor and has served as a delegate for the Chinese Bridge for American Schools.

In Athletics, Ms. Sellers has been very strongly supportive of the athletics program at her school. She has been an advocate of sportsmanship and according to her co-workers is one of the best in Buncombe County in the organization of game and event supervision by her administration. She has supported the professional development and growth of her athletic staff and athletic administration and has served on the NCHSAA’s Education in Athletics committee since its inception in 2013-14.


Stan Williams, Harnett County Schools

Stanley P. Williams II graduated from Dunn High School in his native Harnett County in 1974, he went on to Campbell University, earning a Bachelor’s of Science degree and then NC State University where he earned a Masters’ Degree in 2001. After graduating Campbell, Williams began teaching and coaching at Harnett Correctional Center, before moving to Harnett Central High in 1985 where he coached football, wrestling and track at the school.

In 2000 he became the school’s Athletic Director and Assistant Principal on his way to becoming a Principal at Dunn Middle and then Western Harnett High in 2011. He moved to the Central Office in Harnett County in 2012 as Assistant Superintendent and County Athletic Director, transitioning to Superintendent of Harnett County Schools. He served as the NCHSAA Eastern Chair of the Realignment Committee, was named Conference Coach of the year in Wrestling three times, is a certified athletic administrator and has been named Harnett County Principal of the year. He and his wife, Beverly, make their home in Harnett County and have one daughter, Lauren Cotton, who is a teacher and Coach at Western Harnett Middle.


Owen Hassell, The Daily Advance (Elizabeth City) and Wilmington StarNews

Owen Hassell has covered high school athletics in his native Northeastern North Carolina for more than 15 years. He began writing at his hometown newspaper, The Daily Advance of Elizabeth City, after high school in 1998 as a correspondent. Hassell's aim has been to garner exposure to the rural region whether on or off the printed page, which includes social media (Twitter hashtag #nencsports), more appearances for athletes on all-region and all-state lists, treating athletes to an all-area banquet — even printing T-shirts with team logos and giving them to schools for free to sell as a fundraiser.

After his graduation from UNC-Chapel Hill in 2002 with a degree in journalism and mass communication, he started a full-time writing career as a one-person sports department at the Outer Banks Sentinel in Nags Head. He later worked as the general manager of the Outer Banks Daredevils, a summer collegiate baseball team, before a return to full-time sports writing with the Advance in 2012. Hassell won first-place awards for sports news reporting and multimedia project from the North Carolina Press Association, the latter for implementing the NENC Sports Radio Show, which highlighted high school athletics and aired throughout the area and Southeastern Virginia. In March, he accepted the position of sports editor at the Wilmington StarNews.


T’Keyah Henry, LAT, ATC; Eastern Guilford High School Athletic Trainer via outreach through Guilford Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine Center

T’Keyah Henry was born in Denver, Colorado, graduating from Denver East High School in 2010, her academic career brought her to Greensboro College in 2014 where she earned a Bachelor’s of Science in Athletic Training in 2014. Currently, Henry serves as Eastern Guilford High School’s Athletic Trainer through an outreach by Guilford Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine Center.

She has served as an athletic trainer at many NCHSAA events including Men’s and Women’s Tennis Individual and Dual-Team Championships, the State Softball Championships, and the Basketball Regional Championships since 2014. She also has worked the NCHSAA Wrestling Championships since 2011, the first three years of that as an athletic training student. She will work the East/West All-Star Basketball game this summer and has served as a trainer for the Table Tennis Rio Olympic Trials, US Figure Skating Championships, Powerade State Games and NC Youth Soccer Association State Cup.