Ray Horton, Zoe Bell Earn NCHSAA Honors


       CHAPEL HILL – Ray Horton of Pender High School and Zoe Bell of Ardrey Kell High School in Charlotte are the recipients of the sixth annual Toby Webb Coach of the Year Awards given by the North Carolina High School Athletic Association.

       The two outstanding coaches will be recognized at the NCHSAA’s Annual Meeting on May 5 at the Smith Center on the campus of the University of North Carolina.

       The Webb Award is made possible through the generosity of gifts from individuals and companies through the NCHSAA Endowment and annually recognizes an outstanding male and female coach. To be eligible for the award, a coach must be nominated by school personnel at the NCHSAA member school where he or she coaches, to have coached for a minimum of 10 years, and have made major contributions to the success of high school athletics at the school, in the community and beyond.

       Horton has been at Pender for the past 26 years and has 32 years of coaching experience. During his career he has served as a head coach in football, women’s basketball, track and field and volleyball. His volleyball record is phenomenal, with a career slate of 607-112 and state championships in 2009 and 2010, and four runner-up finishes.                   A Vietnam veteran, Horton has also been active at Pender in other ways. For example, he built the trophy case that sits in the gymnasium lobby to house the awards from the school’s 35-year history. And when another school in Pender’s conference had a change in volleyball coaches and the new coach was not very experienced in volleyball, he offered and then ran a week-long summer camp at the rival school to help build its program, even though Pender would play the school twice during the regular season.

Bell has been at Ardrey Kell for three years after 19 years at Charlotte’s Providence High, which opened in 1989, and has a total of 29 years of coaching experience. Her volleyball teams at Providence won 12 conference titles and four state crowns and her Ardrey Kell team made the state finals in 2009. Her career record in that sport is an outstanding 488-111.

       She has also made community service a priority, as among other projects her volleyball teams have raised money for breast cancer in the Serve For The Cure Tournament for the last seven years.

       “Ray and Zoe are dedicated professionals who epitomize in many ways the role of coaches and the far-reaching impact they have,” said NCHSAA commissioner Davis Whitfield. “They are most deserving of this recognition and receiving the prestigious Toby Webb Award is a credit to their service and dedication to young people.”

       The awards are given in honor of Toby Webb, a member of the NCHSAA Hall of Fame who was an outstanding coach as well as a principal and superintendent. He helped turn Albemarle into a football power and posted a brilliant 103-18-6 mark as a head coach there.