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Written by Rick Strunk   
Monday, 01 October 2012 11:29

The North Carolina High School Athletic Association presented special awards at its just completed eight regional meetings across the state.

Commissioner Davis Whitfield of the NCHSAA, on behalf of the Association, presented both the Charlie Adams Distinguished Service Awards and the Special Person awards to recipients in each region.
The Charlie Adams Distinguished Service Awards are given per region and go to a person with at least 10 years experience in education and athletics who is still active in the field and has regularly gone "above and beyond" the call of duty at both the local and the state level. The Special Person award is similar but may go to a contributor to the NCHSAA who is not directly in coaching or education.


The award winners include:



Charlie Adams Distinguished Service

Joe Tkach, Beaufort County Schools-- Joe Tkach is in the central office of the Beaufort County Schools, working with both athletics and driver education. He also serves as one of the state booking agents in wrestling, providing service to the membership by heading up the Eastern Wrestling Officials Association for the NCHSAA. He has been a coach, athletic director and even recently served in an interim principal capacity.

Special Person

Herman Little, Northeastern (retired)-- a veteran coach, teacher and administrator, Herman Little recently announced his retirement at Northeastern High School. Little had been athletic director at Northeastern for the past eight years and had 37 years in education, including a stint at Northeastern since 1988. In addition to his teaching there, he helped coach track and football and also served as wrestling coach. He was also serving a term on the North Carolina High School Athletic Association Board of Directors that was scheduled to run through June of 2013.

Suzanne Heath-- a resident of Chocowinity, Suzanne is a long time high school, NCAA and USA swimming official. She has been one of our state clinicians for swimming for many years and serves as the head referee at both the 1A/2A and 3A state championships and assists at the 4A meet. She has worked several 3A regional events and also continues to train and work with officials in eastern North Carolina and helping line up officials for schools for regular season meets. Suzanne also reviews and revises the referee's exam each year.



Charlie Adams Distinguished Service

Greg Grantham, White Oak-- Greg has served for a number of years as the athletic director at White Oak High School and spent many seasons coaching basketball there, starting his service to the school in 1993. He has been involved with the NCHSAA in a number of ways, most recently serving with the North Carolina Basketball Coaches Association, which has helped the Association put together a plan to seed the state basketball playoffs. He is a graduate of Southern Wayne High School and Coker College, and has previously taught and coached at Rosewood and SouthWest Edgecombe.

Special Person

Debbie Philyaw, Jones-- Debbie Philyaw has coached women's basketball for 26 years and has also served Jones Senior as athletic director. She has also coached volleyball and softball. She won the prestigious Toby Webb Award from the NCHSAA in 2010. She has been very involved in the NCHSAA's student services program, participating in the Student Athlete Summer Institute (SASI) for close to 20 years. In addition to teaching at Jones Senior, Debbie also volunteers as a firefighter and EMT attendant in the town of Comfort and at athletic events. She is a member of the Jones County Emergency Medical Services Advisory Committee, ensuring proper procedures are followed and personnel receive appropriate training.



Charlie Adams Distinguished Service

Larry McDonald, Durham Public Schools-- McDonald is the Director of Athletics/Health/Driver Education for Durham Public Schools. He served as principal of Southern Durham High School from 2001-2004. Prior to that, he was principal of Northwood High in Chatham for two years, and associate principal at Orange High School in Hillsborough. Larry was a teacher and coach at the high school level for a number of years in the Cumberland County and Wake County school systems during the 1980s and 1990s, and served a three-year tenure as an assistant professor and coach at Winston-Salem State University, and three years at North Carolina Central. He did an outstanding job serving a full four-year term as a member of the Board of Directors of the North Carolina High School Athletic Association.

Special Person

Carolyn Reitz, retired--  Reitz has enjoyed a tremendous coaching and teaching career that literally covers almost 50 years. She helped to open Enloe High when it started in 1962 and also helped to open Sanderson, where she taught and coached for several years. She was at Leesville Road for 11 years, where she was also assistant athletic director and has also coached at Knightdale and Broughton. She actually has been involved with coaching five different sports, including volleyball, basketball, tennis and swimming, although most recognize her tremendous work in the sport of golf. She has been both a regional and state championship director for both women's and men's golf and helped to organize Triangle Area High School Golf, which helped to establish the sport in a number of schools. Even today she still coordinates women's golf for the Cap Eight. She retired from the classroom in 2001 although she still substitute teaches.



Charlie Adams Distinguished Service
George Norris, Richmond County -- Norris is the superintendent of the Richmond County school system and had the challenging task of providing leadership as the chairperson of the Realignment Committee, which completed its work last May. A graduate of Methodist College with his doctorate from Campbell. George began his career in education teaching at E.E. Smith High and later was assistant principal there. He served as principal at Hobbton High School and has also filled the role as superintendent in Hertford County and Nash-Rocky Mount and Richmond in addition to a system in Tennessee.

Special Person
Teresa Coleman-- Teresa Coleman has done a tremendous job working with the NCHSAA Student Services Program. She has been teaching in Bladen County for over 20 years, including stints at Bladenboro and West Bladen High Schools. She is a graduate of Campbell University and has earned her national board teaching certification in physical education. She is a trainer for the Student Services program and has extensive experience with both the Coach-Captain Retreats as well as working directly with the Central Student Athletic Summer Institute, or SASI.



Charlie Adams Distinguished Service

Leigh Hebbard, Guilford County Schools-- Hebbard, in the central office of the Guilford County schools, attended Roanoke High and then graduated from East Carolina in 1986 with a degree in health and physical education. While at ECU, he completed the sports medicine curriculum and his experiences included an internship with the New York Giants in the summer of 1985. He began his career in education in 1987 as a teacher and athletic trainer at High Point Andrews and moved to a similar role at Eastern Guilford in 1993. The following year he was selected as athletic director at Eastern Guilford and remained in that position until filling an assistant principal vacancy at Eastern Guilford in January of 2006 and is now director of activities, athletics and drivers' education for Guilford County.  He has also served as director for the NCHSAA Individual State Wrestling Tournament for a number of years.

Special Person

Bob Owens, Elon University-- Owens has been a tremendous asset to the NCHSAA in many ways, primarily as serving as the state director for the 3-A state tennis championships. A graduate of Guilford College, where he was a two-time all-American in football, Bob is in his 11th season as the assistant coach of the Elon University men's and women's tennis programs after serving for many years as the tennis coach at Northeast Guilford. He was a six-time conference coach of the year.



Charlie Adams Distinguished Service

Ken Konstanty, Olympic -- Konstanty is the athletic director at Olympic and also teaches civics and economics in the School of Biotechnology at Olympic. Besides his athletic director duties, Ken has served as a conference president  and has also helped to host regional wrestling championships for the NCHSAA.

Special Person

Greg Hinson, Mount Pleasant High School--   Hinson is the wrestling coach at Mount Pleasant High School and guided his wrestling team to the team title in the 2007 state wrestling championships held at Lawrence Joel Coliseum. He has done tremendous work, though, in another sport, and that is in track and field, doing a terrific job as the public address announcer for the state championships in that sport.



Mike Kernodle, R-S Central High School-- Kernodle received a Special Person Award in this region since his school regularly attends this particular regional meeting annually, although the school is actually located in Region 8. He is the swimming coach at R-S Central and for many years has done a wonderful job serving as the meet director of the NCHSAA 3-A Western Regional swimming and diving championships. He also has served as chair of the NCHSAA Swimming and Diving Advisory Committee, which has recommended a number of positive changes in the regulations of the sport that have been approved by the NCHSAA Board of Directors.



Charlie Adams Distinguished Service

Chris Skabo, West Wilkes-- Skabo is the athletic director at West Wilkes High School and recently completed a four-year term on the NCHSAA Board of Directors. He did an outstanding job helping the Board deal with some major issues, speaking on behalf of the entire state but representing Region 7.  He served as the chairperson of the Review and Officiating committee while on the Board.


Special Person

Sandra Torrence-- Torrence was a long time athletic director at South Iredell High School, but she did not end her service to schools when she retired from that position. She continues to do double duty by serving as a conference president for two different conferences, both the North Piedmont and the South Piedmont, taking care of the variety of tasks that are required for the conference president, with everything from Wells Fargo points to playoff qualifiers in a variety of sports.



Charlie Adams Distinguished Service

Rex Wells, Asheville--  Wells is the veteran athletic director at Asheville High School and has been involved with the NCHSAA in a number of capacities. He has served as a conference president and has also been active in the North Carolina Athletic Directors Association, serving on the Board of Directors. Rex has also been recognized by the NIAAA with a State Award of Merit.


Special Person

Jennifer Brooks, McDowell--  Brooks is the women's basketball coach at McDowell, which is known as a perennial power in the sport. Jennifer actually was a star player at McDowell when her teams got to the state championship game twice, and then went on to become the leading scorer in Montreat College women's basketball history and is a member of the Montreat Hall of Fame.  She has been a leader in terms of involvement with the NCHSAA Student Services program, including bringing her teams to Coach-Captain retreats and her involvement in both SASI and Dream Teams at her school.


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