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Pursuing history: Stories of the N.C. High School Athletic Conference lead to pursuit of “lost records”

By Richard Walker

The North Carolina High School Athletic Conference began in 1928 when segregated all-black high schools chose to form an association that initially was called the North Carolina Negro High School Athletic Association.

W.T. Armstrong

Led from 1946 to 1970 by Rocky Mount’s Dr. W.T. Armstrong, there have been many efforts over the years to uncover the rich history of the athletic teams, coaches and athletes that played in the association.

An actual medical doctor in Rocky Mount, Armstrong had no office staff.

According to several reports in newspapers, Armstrong maintained that all he knew was that nobody liked losing but he wanted to run a fair-minded organization.

When his services were no longer needed due to the complete integration of N.C. high school athletics into the N.C. High School Athletic Association after the 1969-70 season, Armstrong discussed his tenure with longtime Greensboro News & Record prep sportswriter Tom Northington.

“I’ve enjoyed all these years and being involved in athletics,” Armstrong told the News & Record. “And I’m sure to misse the association.
“At the beginning, we operated with only 30 or 35 schools and grew to 215. We never had a full-time secretary or an office as such. There wasn’t sufficient money so I conducted the operation out of my medical office.”

When he left the NCHSAC, Armstrong was hired as the 75th president of the Atlanta-based National Medical Association in August 1970.

Perhaps because of his departure and lack of an office staff, many of the records of the old NCHSAC no longer exist and efforts to research championship winners remain incomplete. A member of the Shaw University and NCHSAA Hall of Fame, Armstrong died at 76 years old on Jan. 4, 1981.

Armstrong had navigated the association from a name change – it was called the N.C. Negro High School Athletic Association until the spring of 1958 – in addition to its demise caused by full integration of N.C. public schools that started in early 1960s but wasn’t completed statewide until the 1970-71 school year.

By the time of the name change, championships were being held in basketball (started in 1930), baseball (1950), tennis (1953) and track & field (1954).

Efforts continue to research those championships winners and individual accomplishments.

The following are some of the stories of success followed by the records that www.CarolinasSportsHub.com has been able to determine through years of researching school newspapers, digital websites and microfilms from all across the state. If you have any information to add or update to records printed in this article, please email [email protected].

 

Sweetest exit of all

West Charlotte was long a basketball power in the association, winning championships in 1963 and 1966, finishing runner-up in 1951 and 1965 and advancing to the 8-team state championship tournament 7 other times (1950, 1952, 1958, 1960, 1961, 1962 and 1964).

Charles McCullough

But legendary coach Charles McCullough’s top moment almost certainly has to be the Lions’ NCHSAC finale against a Durham Hillside team called the “Pony Express” because it averaged 105 points per game.

In that 1966 final, West Charlotte’s second half firepower led to surprising 96-67 blowout win at the Greensboro Dudley High gymnasium.

After the teams played to a 34-all tie, the Lions’ scoring balance among its five starters overcame the individual excellence of Hillside’s John “Goat” Bullock’s individual excellence of 41 points.

Arthur Davis led West Charlotte with 26 points, Clarence Montgomery 24, Daryl Cherry 15, Sterling Terry 11 and Robert Graham 10 as the Lions’ outscored the Hornets 26-13 in the third quarter and 36-20 in the fourth quarter to finish with a 22-1 overall record.

West Charlotte’s lone loss came against a Laurinburg Institute team that featured future University of North Carolina star and Basketball Hall of Famer Charlie Scott.

Making the win even sweeter was that it avenged an 80-78 overtime loss to Hillside in the previous year’s championship game.

“We waited a long time for this,” McCullough told The Charlotte Observer the day after winning the title. “We had to wait a whole year but we got them.
“This was a real team effort. The boys remembered last year and knew they had to play together to beat them. We beat a real good ballclub (and) it was probably our best all-around game of the year.”

West Charlotte joined the N.C. High School Athletic Association the following year as Mecklenburg County schools were fully integrated in the 1966-67 school year. And the Lions made the NCHSAA state tournament the next two seasons before later claiming 4A state titles in 1986, 1991, 1992, 1999, 2011 and a 3A state title in 2022.

Basketball state championship games:

1930 Oxford Mary Potter 20, Raleigh Washington 19 (March 12 at Raleigh City Auditorium)
1931 Henderson Institute 36, Smithfield Johnston Training School 11 (March 7 at Shaw University, Raleigh)
1932 Henderson Institute 41, Durham Hillside 7 (March 5 at Shaw University, Raleigh)
1933 Belmont Reid 30, Oxford Mary Potter 27 (March 14 at Shaw University, Raleigh)
1934 Henderson Institute 38, Belmont Reid 16 (March 12 at Shaw University, Raleigh)
1935 Henderson Institute 40, Shelby Cleveland 25 (March 13 at Shaw University, Raleigh)
1936 A — Greensboro Dudley 31, Fayetteville E.E. Smith 17 (May 14 at Shaw University, Raleigh)
B — Zebulon Wakefield (no West champion)
1937 Raleigh Washington d. Greensboro Dudley (March 15 at North Carolina A&T)
1938 A — Fayettville E.E. Smith d. Belmont Reid (March 25 at Shaw University, Raleigh)
B — Zebulon Wakefield d. Shelby Cleveland (March 25 at Shaw University, Raleigh)
1939 not held
1940 not held
1941 not held
1942 not held
1943 not held
1944 not held
1945 not held
1946 not held
1947 A — Laurinburg 56, Gastonia Highland 37 (March 26 at N.C. College, Durham)
B — Whiteville Central d. Charlotte Plato Price (March 26 at N.C. College, Durnam)
1948 Hickory Ridgeview d. unknown
1949 A — Laurinburg Institute 58, W-S Atkins 40 (March 25 at N.C. College, Durham)
B — Hickory Ridgeview 42, Rockingham Fremont 31 (March 25 at N.C. College, Durham)
1950 A — Fayetteville E.E. Smith 50, W-S Atkins 30 (March 9-11 at Raleigh, Spaulding Gym at Shaw)
B — Hickory Ridgeview 42, Kings Mountain Davidson/Compact 23 (March 9-11 at Raleigh, Spaulding Gym at Shaw)
1951 A — Laurinburg Institute 52, West Charlotte 50 (March 9-10 at Durham, NC Central)
B — Hickory Ridgeview 50, Durham Merrick-Moore 30 (March 9-10 at Durham, NC Central)
1952 3A — W-S Atkins 40, Gastonia Highland 36 (March 20-22 at W-S Atkins)
2A — Nash Training School d. Chapel Hill Lincoln (March 20-22 at Fayetteville)
1953 3A — W-S Atkins 62, W-S Carver 43 (March 19-21 at Rocky Mount Washington)
2A — Nash County Training School 60, East Spencer Dunbar 22 (March 19-22 at Fayetteville)
1954 3A — W-S Atkins 58, Laurinburg 53 (March 11-13 at W-S Atkins)
2A — Roxboro 57, Burlington Jordan-Sellars 43 (March 11-13 at Rocky Mount Washington)
1955 3A — Rocky Mount Washington 52, W-S Atkins 51 (March 10-12 at Fayetteville)
2A — Nash County Training School 47, Burlington Jordan-Sellars 41 (March 10-12 at Fayetteville)
1A — Pinehurst Academy Heights 66, Cherryville Chavis 57 (March 12 at Fayetteville)
1956 3A — Wilmington Williston 69, Greensboro Dudley 57 (March 8-10 at N.C. College, Durham)
2A — Nash County Training School 58, Roper Clement 40 (March 8-10 at N.C. College, Durham)
1A — Pinehurst Academy Heights 59, Catawba Rosenwald 42 (March 10 at N.C. College, Durham)
1957 3A — W-S Atkins 71, Raleigh Ligon 48 (March 14-16 at N.C. College, Durham)
2A — Morganton Olive Hill 62, Trenton Jones 53 (March 14-16 at N.C. College, Durham)
1A — Tryon Embury 46, Southern Pines West 45 (March 16 at N.C. College, Durham)
1958 3A — Greensboro Dudley 49, Rocky Mount Washington 40 (March 13-15 at N.C. A&T)
2A — Burlington Jordan-Sellars 40, Chapel Hill Lincoln 34 (March 13-15 at N.C. A&T)
1A — Shelby Cleveland 56, Southern Pines West 54 (March 15 at N.C. A&T)
1959 3A — W-S Atkins 46, Wilmington Williston 44 (March 12-14 at Greensboro, NC A&T)
2A — East Spencer Dunbar 54, Burlington Jordan-Sellars 41 (March 12-14 at Greensboro, NC A&T)
1A — Southern Pines West 44, Cherryville Chavis 37 (March 13-14 at Greensboro, NC A&T)
1960 3A — Rocky Mount Washington 58, Wilmington Williston 51 (March 24-26 at Greensboro, N.C. A&T)
2A — Burlington Jordan-Sellars 68, East Spencer Dunbar 65 (March 24-26 at Greensboro, N.C. A&T)
1A — Badin West 74, Red Springs Patterson 46 (March 25-26 at Greensboro, N.C. A&T)
1961 3A — Greensboro Dudley 63, Wilmington Williston 56 (March 15-18 at N.C. A&T)
2A — LaGrange Frink d. East Spencer Dunbar (March 15-18 at N.C. A&T)
1A — Badin West 55, Bahama Little River 54 (March 17-18 at N.C. A&T)
1962 4A — Asheville Stephens-Lee 66, W-S Atkins 59 (March 15-17 at Greensboro)
3A — Burlington Jordan-Sellers 52, Durham Merrick-Moore 47 (March 15-17 at Greensboro)
2A — Elm City Douglas 88, Charlotte York Road 77 (March 14-17 at Greensboro)
1A — Badin West d. Southern Pines West (March 14-17 at Greensboro)
1963 4A — West Charlotte 68, Greensboro Dudley 64 (March 14-16 at N.C. A&T)
3A — W-S Paisley 64, Washington Jones 62, 2 OT (March 15-16 at N.C. A&T)
2A — Clayton Cooper 69, Elm City Douglas 68 (March 13-16 at N.C. A&T)
1A — Bahama Little River 82, Laurel Hill Carver 56 (March 13-16 at N.C. A&T)
1964 4A — Wilson Darden 61, Asheville Stephens-Lee 50 (March 12-14 at N.C. A&T)
3A — W-S Paisley 54, Durham Merrick-Moore 52, 3 OT (March 12-14 at N.C. A&T)
2A — Elm City Douglas 71, Hallsboro Artesia 59 (March 12-14, 16 at N.C. A&T)
1A — Bahama Little River 70, Mooresville Dunbar 48
1965 4A — Durham Hillside 80, West Charlotte 78, OT (March 10-13 at Greensboro Dudley)
3A — Durham Merrick-Moore 67, Burlington Jordan-Sellars 55 (March 8-13 at Greensboro Dudley)
2A — Raleigh Berry O’Kelley 84, Kinston Woodington 76 (March 9-13 at Greensboro Dudley)
1A — Bahama Little River 83, West Southern Pines 66 (March 8-12 at Greensboro Dudley)
1966 4A — West Charlotte 96, Durham Hillside 67 (March 9-12 at Greensboro Dudley HS)
3A — Burlington Jordan-Sellars 74, Durham Merrick-Moore 64 (March 9-12 at Greensboro Dudley HS)
2A — Elm City Douglas 87, Kinston Woodington 65 (March 9-12 at Greensboro Dudley HS)
1A — Catawba Rosewald 86, Franklinton Person-Albion 74 (March 9-12 at Greensboro Dudley HS)
1967 4A — Raleigh Ligon 71, Durham Hillside 66 (March 16-18 at St. Augustine’s, Greensboro Coliseum)
3A — Durham Merrick-Moore 77, W-S Anderson 64 (March 15-18 at St. Augustine’s, Greensboro Coliseum)
2A — Whiteville Central 87, Garner Consolidated 71 (March 14-18 at St. Augustine’s, Greensboro Coliseum)
1A — Bahama Little River 81, Laurel Hill Carver 76 (March 14-18 at St. Augustine’s, Greensboro Coliseum)
1968 4A — High Point William Penn 63, W-S Paisley 58 (March 1-2 at Wilson Darden, final March 5 at Penn)
3A — Concord Logan 81, Nash Central 80 (Feb. 27-28 at Gatesville Central, March 2 at Wilson Darden, final March 5 at Nash)
2A — Whiteville Central 102, South Ayden 62 (Feb. 28-March 2 at Wilson Darden, final March 5 at Whiteville Central)
1A — Laurel Hill Carver 67, Proctorville 47 (March 5 at Laurel Hill Carver)
1969 4A — Kinston Adkin 82, Rocky Mount Washington 58 (Feb. 20-22 at Wilson Darden)
3A — Durham Merrick-Moore 78, Burlington Jordan-Sellars 72 (Feb. 26-28 at Wilson Darden, final March 4 at Jordan-Sellars)
2A — Kinston Woodington 69, St. Paul’s East Side 67 (Feb. 26-28 at Wilson Darden, final March 4 at Kinston)
1A — Hallsboro Artesia 96, Laurel Hill Carver 80 (Feb. 28 at Hallsboro)
1970 3A/4A — Wilson Darden 90, Burlington Jordan-Sellars 73 (March 10-14 at Wilson Darden)
1A/2A — Lucama Springfield d. Oak City West Martin (March 10-14 at Wilson Darden)

 

 

Second Ward special

Second Ward played in only one state football playoff game in its history.

Al Montgomery (middle) with Second Ward standout running backs Jimmie Kirkpatrick (left) and Andrew Watson (right) in 1964.

But did the Tigers’ ever make the most of theirs as they completed an unbeaten season with a 4A state title in the fall of 1963.

Frequently in the shadow of crosstown rival West Charlotte, Second Ward had one of the city’s most oustanding players in record-setting running back Jimmie Lee Kirkpatrick in the mid 1960s.

While West Charlotte won the popular “Queen City Classic” by a 16-8-1 margin, quarterback Walter Funderburk and Kirkpatrick led the Tigers to 30-12 and 58-0 victories over West Charlotte in 1963 and 1964, respectively, in front of the largest crowds in the history of the rivarly that was held annually at Charlotte’s 14,000-seat Memorial Stadium from 1947 to 1968.

Each of those contests were played in front of crowds in excess of 10,000 as Funderburk passed for 187 yards and 4 TDs in the 1963 victory played in front of the largest crowd in Queen City Classic history of 10,115 and Kirkpatrick rushed for 126 yards and 3 TDs and caught 2 TD passes in 1964 in front of 10,019 fans.

Kirkpatrick later became more famous in local history when he transferred to previously all-white Myers Park High in 1965, played collegiately at Purdue and his legacy is the legal battle that ensued when he was not selected to the 1965 Shrine Bowl game.

Him being omitted from the 1965 Shrine Bowl team led to public outcry and a lawsuit filed by civil rights attorney Julius Chambers (now the namesake of a Charlotte high school) that resulted in a judge ruling the 1965 Shrine Bowl would be played as scheduled but future Shrine Bowls would be played with integrated rosters.

Within days of the judge’s ruling, the homes of Chambers and three other civil rights leaders were bombed in Charlotte. And while police interviewed more than 50 people, including Ku Klux Klan members, the case remains unsolved.

In 1963, Kirkpatrick was a sophomore running back for a team that would finish 8-0-1 after going 0-8-1 the year before under coach Al Montgomery, a former Gastonia Highland and N.C. Central star quarterback who was in the 3rd year of his 7-year tenure.

After suriving a scare against a future star in another sport in the opener, a 14-all tie at defending state champion Winston-Salem Carver in the 2nd game of the season was the only blemish on the Tigers’ record.

In a 6-0 win in the opener, Funderburk’s 39-yard fourth quarter TD pass to Kirkpatrick gave Second Ward a 6-0 victory over visiting Asheville Stephens-Lee, who had a 58-yard touchdown run wiped away by a clipping penalty. That negated touchdown was scored by Stephens-Lee quarterback Henry Logan, who was a year away from becoming the first African-American athlete to play basketball at a previously all-white conference when he began his record-setting 4-year career at Western Carolina that paved the way to a professional career.

By season’s end, Second Ward was humming along as they closed the season with five straight blowouts – 32-6 over Gastonia Highland, 82-14 over Reidsville Booker T. Washington, 30-12 over West Charlotte, 44-0 at Greensboro Dudley and 28-14 over Raleigh Ligon in the state championship game.

Funderburk had 2 TD passes to record-setting receiver Leroy Thorne and Kirkpatrick had a TD run in the title game.

After the 1968-69 school year, Second Ward was demolished and later the Mecklenburg Aquatic Center was built on the site.

West Charlotte was one of three former NCHSAC schools who joined and remained in the NCHSAA – Durham Hillside and Greensboro Dudley were the others – with West Charlotte going on to win 18 league titles with 7 state championship appearances and 1 state title in the years since.

Football state championship games:

1928 Oxford Mary Potter 42, W-S Columbia Heights 0 (Nov. 23 at 14th Street Field, Winston-Salem)
1929 Raleigh Washington 38, High Point William Penn 0 (Nov. 21 at Raleigh League Park)
1930 Henderson Institute d. Goldsboro Dillard
1931 Raleigh Washington 6, Gastonia Highland 0 (Nov. 26 at Gastonia)
1932 Raleigh Washington
1933 Henderson Institute 14, Belmont Reid 6 (Dec. 8 at Greensboro)
1934 Henderson Institute 32, Gastonia Highland 13 (Dec. 8 at Memorial Stadium, Greensboro)
1935 Raleigh Washington 14, Asheville Stephens-Lee 6 (Dec. 6 at Shaw University, Raleigh)
1936 Durham Hillside
1937 Durham Hillside 12, Greensboro Dudley 0 (Dec. 17 at Memorial Stadium, Greensboro)
1938 Durham Hillside 20, Salisbury Price 0 (Dec. 9 at Durham Athletic Park)
1939 at Durham Hillside def. Salisbury Price (Dec. 8)
1940 Salisbury Price 19, Raleigh Washington 0 (Dec. 10 at Salisbury)
1941 High Point William Penn 14, Raleigh Washington 6 (Dec. 6 at Fayetteville State)
1942 Asheville Stephens-Lee 13, Durham Hillside 12 (Dec. 12 at Durham – called 4th annual Tobacco Bowl)
1943 Durham Hillside
1944 Durham Hillside
1945 Raleigh Washington 20, Gastonia Highland 0 (Dec. 7 at Raleigh, Chavis Park)
1946 Gastonia Highland 7, Raleigh Washington 6 (Dec. 6 at Gastonia High Stadium)
1947 Wilmington Williston 12, Lexington Dunbar 0 (Dec. 12 at Wilmington Legion Field)
1948 Elizabeth City Moore 8, Durham Hillside 7 (Dec. 8 at Elizabeth City State – called “Potato Bowl”)
1949 A — Raleigh Washington 2, Gastonia Highland 0 (Dec. 9 at Erwin Field, Gastonia)
B — Nash Training School 26, Hickory Ridgeview 0 (Nov. 18 at Talbert Park, Rocky Mount)
1950 A — Raleigh Washington 14, Salisbury Price 0 (Nov. 17 at Raleigh, Chavis Park)
B — Hickory Ridgeview
1951 3A — at Greensboro Dudley 13, Durham Hillside 6 (Nov. 17)
2A — Nash County Training School 7, Hickory Ridgeview 6 (Nov. 16 at Rocky Mount, Talbert Park)
1952 3A — at Kinston Adkin 7, Greensboro Dudley 0 (Dec. 5)
2A — at Salisbury Price 13, Tarboro Patillo 7 (Nov. 28)
1953 3A — at W-S Atkins 45, New Bern West Street 6 (Nov. 25)
2A — at Tarboro Patillo 42, Belmont Reid 0 (Nov. 26)
1954 3A — West Charlotte 14, at Kinston Adkin 6 (Nov. 24)
2A — Nash County Training School 19, at Burlington Jordan-Sellars 14 (Dec. 3)
1955 3A — Wilmington Williston 13, W-S Carver 7 (Nov. 25 at Bowman-Gray Stadium, Winston-Salem)
2A — at Jacksonville Georgetown 14, Mount Airy Jones 7 (Dec. 2)
1956 3A — New Bern Barber 13, High Point Penn 12
2A — at Lexington Dunbar 6, Chapel Hill Lincoln 6, TIE (Nov. 30)
1957 3A — at Asheville Stephens-Lee 25, Rocky Mount Washington 6 (Nov. 28)
2A — at Chapel Hill Lincoln 7, Lexington Dunbar 6 (Nov. 27)
1958 3A — at Rocky Mount Washington 34, W-S Carver 6 (Nov. 21)
2A — at Lexington Dunbar 32, Chapel Hill Lincoln 6 (Nov. 26)
1959 3A — at W-S Atkins 50, Durham Hillside 0 (Nov. 25)
2A — Lexington Dunbar 20, at Clinton Sampson 6 (Nov. 25)
1960 3A — High Point Penn 12, at Durham Hillside 8 (Nov. 23)
2A — Chapel Hill Lincoln 38, at Hickory Ridgeview 8 (Nov. 23)
1961 3A — Rocky Mount Washington 18, W-S Carver 0 (Nov. 17 at Bowman-Gray Stadium, Winston-Salem)
2A — at Chapel Hill Lincoln 22, Hickory Ridgeview 0 (Nov. 22)
1962 4A — at W-S Carver 34, Elizabeth City Moore 2 (Nov. 23)
3A — W-S Anderson 8, Chapel Hill Lincoln 0 (Nov. 24 at Lions Park, Carrboro)
2A — at Hickory Ridgeview 19 Edenton Walker 8 (Nov. 30)
1963 4A — Charlotte Second Ward 28, Raleigh Ligon 14 (Nov. 15 at Charlotte Memorial Stadium)
3A — at W-S Anderson 30, Chapel Hill Lincoln 15 (Nov. 16)
2A — at Lexington Dunbar 24, Ahoskie Vann 6 (Nov. 27)
1964 4A — at Wilson Darden 14, W-S Carver 12 (Nov. 20)
3A — Durham Merrick-Moore 37, at W-S Anderson 14 (Nov. 20)
2A — at Hickory Ridgeview 16, Hamlet Monroe Avenue 0 (Nov. 27)
1965 4A — Elizabeth City Moore 36, W-S Carver 0 (Nov. 19 at Bowman-Gray Stadium, Winston-Salem)
3A — Durham Merrick-Moore 8, at Lexington Dunbar 0 (Nov. 19)
2A — Winfall Perquimans Union 34, Kannapolis Carver 0 (Nov. 24)
1966 4A — Greensboro Dudley 6, at New Bern Barber 6 TIE (Nov. 18)
3A — at Williamston Hayes 60, W-S Anderson 12 (Nov. 20)
2A — Trenton Jones 8, at Kannapolis Carver 6 (Nov. 26)
1967 4A — Fayetteville E.E. Smith 6, W-S Paisley 0 (Nov. 24 at W-S Bowman-Gray Stadium)
3A — W-S Anderson 20, Durham Merrick Moore 19 (Nov. 24 at W-S Bowman-Gray Stadium)
2A — at Trenton Jones d. Hamlet Monroe Avenue (Nov. 17)
1968 4A — Fayetteville E.E. Smith 12, at Elizabeth City Moore 12 (Nov. 15)
3A — at Williamston Hayes 33, Edenton Walker 0 (Nov. 27)
2A — Wake Forest DuBois 6, at Clinton Sampson 6 TIE (Nov. 20)
1969 Open — Tarboro Patillo 14, at Kinston Adkin 0 (Nov. 25)

 

Future Negro League player-coach

When Carl “Satch” Forney and his Belmont Reid High teammates won back-to-back North Carolina High School Athletic Conference baseball state titles in 1954 and 1955, they knew they were one of the smallest schools to field a team and they knew their exploits were largely unrecognized due to the segregated era they lived in.

Carl “Satch” Forney during his Indianapolis Clowns career.

And they didn’t care.

They were simply enjoying the sport of their youth and happy to be successful enough to be called champions for two straight seasons when their school enrollment was barely 100 total high school students.

“That’s just the way it was,” Forney said at a 2003 Belmont Sports Hall of Fame banquet that where the Rams’ two state championship teams were honored. “You’re reborn again to see this. So, yeah, it does mean a lot to me” to inducted.

Forney was the star player and winning pitcher of both championship games.

In 1954, his two-run double in the bottom on the 9th inning drove in the game-winner of a 5-4 victory over Goldsboro Dillard in a game played at Belmont’s Davis Park. To advance that final, Reid edged Charlotte Clear Creek 2-1 in the Western championship game.

In 1955, Forney struck out 11 and threw 6 1-3 innings of no-hit ball before finishing with a two-hitter in a 3-1 win at Jacksonville Georgetown that ended his high school career with a 24-2 overall pitching record. William Davis’ two-run double highlighted Reid’s three-run third inning that gave Forney all the support he would need.

Forney went on to make a career of the sport he loved as he would spend a year in the St. Louis Cardinals organization before spending six seasons as a pitcher and outfielder for the Indianapolis Clowns of the Negro League. In 1960, he also was the Clowns’ player-manager and guided the franchise to a 139-11 record that season.

Baseball state championship games:

1950 Kinston Adkin d. Statesville Morningside (May 19 at Kinston)
1951 Gastonia Highland 18, Trenton 1 (May 18 at Erwin Field, Gastonia)
1952 Gastonia Highland 8, Tarboro Patillo 7 (May 23 at Tarboro)
1953 unknown
1954 Belmont Reid 5, Goldsboro Dillard 4 (May 28 at Davis Park, Belmont)
1955 Belmont Reid 3, Jacksonville Georgetown 1 (May 14 at Jacksonville)
1956 Henderson Institute 6, West Charlotte 0 (May 29 at Henderson)
1957 Reidsville Washington 5, Fayetteville E.E. Smith 4 (May 24 at Reidsville)
1958 Raleigh Ligon 11, Asheville Stephens-Lee 4 (June 3 at Chavis Park, Raleigh)
1959 Raleigh Ligon 8, Spindale Carver 7 (May 26 at Chavis Park, Raleigh)
1960 Raleigh Ligon 8, Graham 2 (June 1 at Chavis Park, Raleigh)
1961 Wilmington Williston 10, Graham 9 (May 30 at Wilmington)
1962 Raleigh Ligon 20, Caswell Training School 1 (May 29 at Chavis Park, Raleigh)
1963 Wilmington Williston 8, Asheville Stephens-Lee 0 (June 11 at Wilmington)
1964 Greensboro Dudley 11, Fayetteville E.E. Smith 0 (June 2 at Memorial Stadium, Greensboro)
1965 Greensboro Dudley 7, Laurel Hill Carver 3 (June 2 at Laurel Hill)
1966 Raleigh Ligon 4, Greensboro Dudley 3 (June 8 at Memorial Stadium, Greensboro)
1967 Raleigh Ligon 2, Fayetteville E.E. Smith 1 (14 innings, May 30 at Chavis Park, Raleigh)
1968 Rocky Mount Washington 3, Wilmington Williston 3, TIE/rain top 7th-declared co-champs (May 28 at Talbert Park, Rocky Mount)
1969 Fayetteville Chestnutt d. Snow Hill South Greene
1970 unknown

 

 

York Road ends the longest championship streak

When track was added as a sport, Durham Hillside High started the longest streak of success in any sport in the association’s history.

However, in one of the closest-contested sporting events ever held in 1964 at the West Charlotte track, Charlotte’s York Road High School ended a 10-year streak of state titles won by the Hornets and their legendary coach Russell Blunt.

Harding Kirkley led the Wapitis’ charge with victories in the 120- and 180-yard hurdles, including a record-setting effort in the 180-yard hurdles. York Road picked up 38 1/2 points to win by the slimmest of margins as Raleigh Ligon finished second with 38 points and Hillside third with 36 points.

Blunt’s excellence as Hillside coach began in the third year the state event was held in 1956 as he replaced another veteran coach (Nelson Higgins).

An Andover, Mass., native, Blunt graduated from Raleigh’s St. Augustine’s College in 1936 and would guide Hornets’ teams to 21 state titles (10 in the NCHSAC and 11 in the NCHSAA).

Russell Blunt

For his efforts, Blunt earned inductions into the Hall of Fames of Andover, Mass., High School (1977), the NCHSAA (1989), the National High School (1995) and North Carolina Sports (1996) before his death at 95 on Jan. 7, 2004.

Also a football and basketball coach at Hillside, Blunt won his last state title in 1997 when at 88 years of age he was the oldest head coach in the country.

Track champions:

Open/4A
1954 Durham Hillside
1955 Durham Hillside
1956 Durham Hillside
1957 Durham Hillside
1958 Durham Hillside
1959 Durham Hillside
1960 Durham Hillside
1961 Durham Hillside
1962 Durham Hillside
1963 Durham Hillside
1964 Charlotte York Road
1965 Wilmington Williston
1966 Durham Hillside
1967 Durham Hillside
1968 Raleigh Ligon
1969 Raleigh Ligon
1970 Henderson Institute

1A/2A/3A
1964 Lexington Dunbar/Nash Central
1965 Lexington Dunbar
1966 Lexington Dunbar/Raleigh Governor Morehead
1967 Burlington Jordan-Sellars
1968 Burlington Jordan-Sellars/Fayetteville Armstrong

Open/4A MVPs
1954
1955 Fred Rogers, Durham Hillside
1956
1957
1958 Robert McNeil, Durham Hillside
1959
1960 Levi Dawson, Durham Hillside
1961
1962 Albert Daniels, Durham Hillside
1963
1964 Harding Kirkley, Charlotte York Road
1965 Robert Keaton, Wilmington Williston
1966 Allen Pinkston, Asheville Stephens-Lee
1967
1968 Robert Searles, Raleigh Ligon
1969 Wallace Horton, Raleigh Ligon
1970

1A/2A/3A MVPs
1964
1965 Larry “Tojo” Burns, Lexington Dunbar
1966 Lonnie Winston, Raleigh Governor Morehead
1967
1968

Individual track records:

100 yard dash – Albert Daniels, Durham Hillside 9.7 (1962)
220 yard dash (curve) – Robert Keaton, Wilmington Williston 21.8 (1965)
220 yard dash (straightaway) – Charles Copeland, Raleigh Ligon 21.4 (1964)
440 yard dash – Ross, Fayetteville Smith 49.8 (1968)
880 yard run – Mayfield, Durham Hillside 2:01.1 (1967)
Mile run – Joe McAllister, Wilmington Williston 4:29 (1965)
120 yard hurdles – Harding Kirkley, Charlotte York Road 15.1 (1964)
120 yard hurdles (curve) – Levi Dawson, Durham Hillside 20.0 (1961)
180 yard hurdles (straightaway) – Harding Kirkley, Charlotte York Road 19.9 (1964)
Mile relay – (Lilley, Mebane, Dickey, Mack), High Point Penn 3:28 (1967)
880 yard relay – Fayetteville Smith 1:29.8 (1969)
Sprint medley – (Baldwin, Ferguson, Wheeler, McAllister), Wilmington Williston 3:40.6 (1965)
Discus – Williams Garrett, Rocky Mount Booker T. Washington 139-2 (1965)
Shot put – Jerome Gantt, Greensboro Dudley 51-11 (1966)
High jump – Horace Robinson, Raleigh Ligon 6-4 (1964)
Broad jump – George Holliday, Durham Hillside 22-10 3/4 (1961)
(Only Group 2 record that’s better)
Broad jump – Burns, Lexington Dunbar 22-11 (1961)

 

 

 

 

The “real” ACC pioneer

When most hear longtime ACC observers discuss the first African-American ACC athletes, they usually are referring to Maryland’s Darryl Hill in football or Billy Jones in basketball.

Irwin Holmes

Hill, a wide receiver, first played football for the Terrapins in 1963 by making his Sept. 21, 1963 ACC debut in a home game against N.C. State.

Jones broke the ACC’s basketball color line during the 1965-66 season.

But the actual ACC athletic pioneer came in the fall of 1956 when one of Durham Hillside’s many tennis stars, Irwin Holmes, first enrolled at N.C. State where he eventually became a Wolfpack tennis team captain.

Holmes, who won state titles in singles and doubles at Hillside in the spring of 1956, was one of the first four African-American students to attend the Raleigh school, first living off campus in a rented from a black family a mile from campus and eventually living in Watauga Hall.

The top player on the 1956-57 freshman team at N.C. State, Holmes was voted team captain in his senior year of 1959-60.

And Holmes wasn’t the only pioneer to come from the Hillside program that picked up one state team title, eight individual boys singles titles, four boys doubles titles, four girls singles titles and five girls doubles titles.

Bonnie Logan, a three-time girls singles champion from 1965 to 1967, became the first African-American to play on the Virginia Slims professional women’s tour in 1971.

Hillside’s dominance was guided by another veteran coach as Carl “Bear” Easterling coached the Hornets for their entire era in the NCNHSAA and NCHSAC. Also Hillside’s state title-winning basketball coach, he previously had coached Arthur Ashe in junior tennis and is credited by future NBA All-Star John Lucas with honing his tennis skills.

Tennis champions:

Team
1953-60 no champion named
1961 Winston-Salem Atkins
1962 Winston-Salem Atkins
1963 Raleigh Ligon
1964 Winston-Salem Paisley
1965 Raleigh Ligon
1966 Durham Hillside
1967 Raleigh Ligon
1968 Raleigh Ligon
1969 Raleigh Ligon
1970 Burlington Jordan-Sellars

Boys singles
1953 Eulis Malloy, Durham Hillside
1954 Joseph Alston, Durham Hillside
1955 Richard Malloy, Durham Hillside
1956 Irwin Holmes, Durham Hillside
1957 Charles Brown, Durham Hillside
1958 Charles Brown, Durham Hillside
1959 Charles Brown, Durham Hillside
1960 Joe Williams, Durham Hillside
1961 Sanford Howie, Winston-Salem Atkins
1962 Willie White, Raleigh Ligon
1963 Scott Howard, Washington Jones
1964 Scott Howard, Washington Jones
1965 J.D. Lewis, Raleigh Ligon
1966 J.D. Lewis, Raleigh Ligon
1967 J.D. Lewis, Raleigh Ligon
1968 Wilbur White, Washington Jones
1969 Michael Saulter, Raleigh Ligon
1970

Boys doubles
1953 Malcolm Little/Williams, Washington Jones
1954 William Daniels/Malcolm Little, Washington Jones
1955 Richard Malloy/Eli Singleton, Durham Hillside
1956 Irwin Holmes/Laverne Harper, Durham Hillside
1957 Gilford Sowell/Richard Lee, Durham Hillside
1958 Barron Stroud/James Crawford, West Charlotte
1959 Barron Stroud/James Crawford, West Charlotte
1960 Thomas Hawes/William Crummy, Wilmington Williston
1961 Scott Howard/Samuel Whitley, Washington Jones
1962 Scott Howard/Samuel Whitley, Washington Jones
1963 Willie White/Douglas Goodson, Raleigh Ligon
1964 Scott Howard/William Latham, Washington Jones
1965 Garland Barr/Robert Hines, Rocky Mount Washington
1966 Henry Berry/Victor Fryar, Clinton Sampson
1967 Mike Ruffin/Benjamin Page, Durham Hillside
1968 Wilbur White/Terry Snead, Washington Jones
1969 Wayne Hinton/Melvin Jackson, Raleigh Ligon
1970

Girls singles
1953 Patricia Stroud, West Charlotte
1954 Talma Holder, Winston-Salem Atkins
1955 Barbara Blackwell, Durham Hillside
1956
1957
1958
1959 Eleanor Nunn, Raleigh Ligon
1960 Carolyn Archie, Winston-Salem Paisley
1961 Carolyn Archie, Winston-Salem Paisley
1962 Marvis Archie, Winston-Salem Paisley
1963 Marvis Archie, Winston-Salem Paisley
1964 Marvis Archie, Winston-Salem Paisley
1965 Bonnie Logan, Durham Hillside
1966 Bonnie Logan, Durham Hillside
1967 Bonnie Logan, Durham Hillside
1968 Deborah Clements, Raleigh Ligon
1969 Deborah Clements, Raleigh Ligon
1970 Wanda Gattis, Burlington Jordan-Sellars

Girls doubles
1953 not held
1954 Talma Holder/Lois Mack, Winston-Salem Atkins
1955 Barbara Blackwell/Sylvia Bailey, Durham Hillside
1956
1957
1958
1959 Gaynelle Davis/Chavsie Herndon, Durham Hillside
1960 Carolyn Archie/Brenda Hooper, Winston-Salem Paisley
1961 Sandra Cross/Janet Amos, Durham Hillside
1962 Marvis Archie/Shirley Kelley, Winston-Salem Paisley
1963 Marvis Archie/Phyllis Thomas, Winston-Salem Paisley
1964 Marvis Archie/Phyllis Thomas, Winston-Salem Paisley
1965
1966 Bonnie Logan/Catherine Wright, Durham Hillside
1967 Bonnie Logan/Anita Cox, Durham Hillside
1968 Deborah Clements/Fabbette Smith, Raleigh Ligon
1969 Deborah Clements/Marsha Morgan, Raleigh Ligon
1970 Wanda Gattis/Rhonda Enoch, Burlington Jordan-Sellars