Elton G. Hawley passed away Saturday, April 9, 2016 at the age of 67. Hawley is credited with many improvements and investments in the health, safety and well-being of NCHSAA student-athletes during his over 40 years of involvement with the NCHSAA. The annual State Award for Sports Medicine Person of the Year bears his name, The Elton G. Hawley Sports Medicine Person of the Year, awarded annually to the top athletic trainer or sports medicine figure involved in NCHSAA athletics each year at the Annual Meeting each May.
"A true champion of the health and safety of student athletes," said NCHSAA Commissioner Que Tucker. "Elton always had such a passion to look after the best interests of the student-athletes and was a constant driving force in the NCHSAA's pursuit of student-athlete safety. He helped push sports medicine and licensed athletic trainers to the forefront of NCHSAA decisions regarding student-athlete safety. His contribution was great, and his loss is also great. He was a tremendous friend and advisor to the NCHSAA and we will sorely miss him."
Hawley completed athletic training education at Wake Forest University before he became the first athletic trainer employed by the Charlotte/Mecklenburg County School System in 1972. He was a founding member of the NC Athletic Tainers Association and was that organizations first recipient of the NCATA Athletic Trainer of the Year Award. Hawley looked after student-athletes on the sidelines for 27 years of Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas play, and served as the organization's chairman emeritus.
He taught at Olympic High School in Charlotte for over 20 years, working with the coaching staff as an athletic trainer while also serving as the school's Assistant Athletic Director. After leaving the school system, he took a job with Carolinas HealthCare System serving as the athletic trainer coordinator for Sports Medicine and Special Events. He even served the NFL's Carolina Panthers as interim athletic trainer for the final half of the 2000-2001 season.
Hawley taught athletic training classes at the NC Coaches' Association clinics in Greensboro for over 20 years as well as serving on the NCHSAA Sports Medicine Advisory Committee. He was recognized as one of "50 Who Made A Difference" during the NCHSAA's centennial celebration and is a member of the NCHSAA Hall of Fame, class of 2007. The NC Athletic Directors presented Hawley with their Distinguished Service Award in 2006.
There will be a Celebration of Life Memorial Service in his honor held at Olympic High School in Charlotte on May 1st at 11 a.m. followed by a barbeque lunch.
Memorials may be sent to:
NC Athletic Trainers Association
% Elton G. Hawley Memorial Scholarship Fund
Attn: Grady Hardeman
205 W. 5th Street
Landis, NC 28088