CHAPEL HILL – The NCHSAA is proud to announce the recipients of the annual Homer Thompson “Eight Who Make a Difference” Award for the 2016-2017 academic year. The award is named in honor of the late Homer Thompson, the long-time Winston-Salem Parkland coach and member of the NCHSAA Hall of Fame.
Coaches receiving this award are nominated for exemplary sportsmanship and are 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 dedicated approach to the coaching profession. The award is presented by the North Carolina Farm Bureau. Winners will be recognized at the NCHSAA's Annual Meeting on May 4th in Chapel Hill.
Region 1 – Amanda Morris – Volleyball and Track & Field Coach at North Pitt High School
Coach Morris has been an influential leader and role model at North Pitt for 13 years. She has been integral in many community activities as our SASI Coordinator the past 9 years. She runs a “Think Pink” week during Volleyball season to raise money for breast cancer awareness in honor of her mother. She organizes a “Black Out” before prom in which students dress in all black and have a story around their neck to identify tragic accidents relative to prom as an educational and preventive measure.
Region 2 – Bill Mercier – Cross Country and Track & Field Coach at Heidi Trask High School
Coach Mercier has excelled as a coach with 13 conference championships, 3 regional titles and 2 state championships. He hosts outdoor conference championships and regional championships at the state level. He also serves as the assistant athletics director. The same leadership qualities that make him an excellent coach are shown in the classroom, as he was chosen the Trask Teacher of the Year in 2009-10. He serves on various leadership teams and is the Science Department Co-Chair. Outside of school, his leadership qualities are once again evident as he is very active in his church. Hardworking and super organized, he exhibits the character reflective of this award.
Region 3 – Chris Davis – Assistant and now Head Basketball Coach at Millbrook High School
Coach Davis is a tremendous asset to the school culture. Known as “Coach D” he attends almost all athletic events displaying a bright and cheerful personality. He works with and mentors special needs students, and as Student Body President Bridgett Rogers states, “Coach Davis is the picture of productive involvement.” By that, more students invest themselves in the organizations they join. Coach D’s involvement is weighted with responsibility, leadership roles, and determination. His positive attitude is refreshing and infectious. He asks students and fellow teachers and coaches to be great and do great every day.
Region 4 – Bill Sochovka – Head Football Coach at Pine Forest High School
Coach Sochovka teaches AP and standard level courses in the Social Studies Department. He has a strong command of his content and effectively engages all students. He instills in his players the concepts of integrity, sportsmanship, self-discipline and teamwork. His mantra on the field is “One Body…One Mind…One Team…Family.” He regularly attends all other sporting events, helping with game administration and support. He has served on numerous community committees. His crowning achievement is he never gives up on his students.
Region 5 – Richard Herman – Football, Wrestling and Women’s Soccer Coach at Thomasville High School
Coach Herman is a great example of what this award is designed to honor. Whether providing academic, emotional, athletic or financial support, Richard is a great mentor to students at Thomasville. His accolades range from giving rides home, helping families in need, coaching 3 sports and supporting student athletes in sports he is not directly involved. Coach Herman loves students, embraces his community, and embodies leadership in the school each day. He is quick to lend support, information and advice to opposing staffs as well.
Region 6 – Jamey Harlow – Cheerleading Coach at Parkwood High School
Coach Harlow insists upon good sportsmanship and models it for our students daily. Her strict rule is cheerleaders may only cheer for our team and not “against” the other team. She expects to win with grace and lose with class. An example of this was when an opposing team cheered against the Parkwood team and cheerleaders, she stated, “We will take the high road and be the model for change.” When that team came to our school 2 weeks later, she had welcoming signs on the visiting seats, and sent our seniors to greet them upon arrival with a welcome package that included small treats and a hand-written welcoming card. That is a defining and teachable moment for everyone! She is one of 50 national award winners of the Positive Coaching Double Goal Coach Award.
Region 7 – Ed Martin – Soccer Coach at North Wilkes High School
Ed Martin is an active participant with NCHSAA Student Services. He takes teams to Coach & Captain Retreats, SASI programs, and used these students to build a Cross Country trail at school. Not only is he a great role model for students, but his service is much deeper. Last year an assistant coach at the school had a heart attack and Coach Martin performed CPR, utilized the AED and made every effort to save a life. In the days following that death, he handled the situation professionally and compassionately, making every effort to put the family and all concerned first. This exemplifies Coach Martin for always looking after others with community and support as his foundation.
Region 8 – Mark Cook – Baseball and Football Coach at Hendersonville High School
Coach Cook has turned the Baseball program into a yearly contender and is an excellent offensive line coach. His temperament is such that his teams always exhibit sportsmanship and integrity. Coach Cook’s teams practice togetherness in pre-game activities. He goes out of his way to work with other coaches in the conference, and has been named Coach of the Year 3 times by his peers. He is viewed by all as a natural leader.