Thursday, June 30, 2011

RMHS summer activity calendar

Here is the activity calendar for Rocky Mount High School sports for the remainder of the summer.


25-29 -

Volleyball Camp: 6:30 p.m. (Grades 9-12 only)

30 -

Football practice starts: 12:01 a.m. to 1 a.m - Midnight Madness @ RM Athletic Complex. Please contact Coach Dickie Schock at 977-3085 (school) 977-3164 (football office).


1 -

All preseason fall sports practice begins:

Cross Country (Dee Davis): 7:30 a.m. @ Stone Park
Girls Golf (Kent Cox): 10 a.m. @ Northgreen Country Club
Boys Soccer (Andrew Nick): 6 a.m.- 8 a.m.; 5 p.m-7 p.m.
Girls Tennis (Barry Nethercutt): @ Sunset Park, TBA
Volleyball (Tabitha Wilcox): 9 a.m.-12 noon

4 -

Fall Athletic Picture Day: 3 p.m. @ Main Gym

8 -

Fall Athletic Parent (Mandatory) Meeting: 6 p.m. @ Main gym
RMHS Athletic Booster Club meeting: 8 p.m.

12 -

Authorization for Athletic Participation forms are to be turned in. These forms are required before your son or daughter can participate in any sport. You will receive this package at the parent meeting.

18 -

JV football vs. Bunn, 7 p.m.

19 -

Season opener: Varsity football @ Bunn, 7:30 p.m.

25 -

School starts.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Nash County's best baseball players

I recently received an inquiry from an area resident. He wanted to know if I could produce a list of all the Nash County high schoolers that went on to play college baseball - at any level

And he wanted to know which Nash Co. players were drafted and/or signed by a professional team.

My memory is pretty good, but I know I missed quite a few players. But 99 percent of guys on these lists were off the top of my head. 

So I decided to share these lists with you and if you know of someone that I missed, please send that person's info to me via the comment link at the bottom of the article. I will gladly add them. 

Certainly, it will be the players from the 60's and beyond that will not be in my memory banks, so I urge you to send them on to me. 

Can't wait to see your entries!

(Editor's Note - Many of you have responded to my plea for help and I have added as many as 30 more players to my original list. Keep them coming! 
Were there any players who went to Red Oak, Benvenue, Coopers, Spring Hope or Nashville High Schools that belong on these lists?)


Jack Allsbrook, Rocky Mount - Class of 1947 - to Atlantic Christian (Barton)
Dudley Whitley, Rocky Mount - Class of 1952 - to N.C. State
Harold Gilbert, Rocky Mount - Class of 1956 - to N.C. State
Bobby Ellis, Rocky Mount - Class of 1961 - to Frederick College
Danny Talbott, Rocky Mount - Class of 1963 - to UNC
Mike Tyson, Northern Nash - Class of 1970 - to Indian River C.C.
Gary Ange, Rocky Mount - Class of 1971 - to NC Wesleyan
Howard McCullough, Rocky Mount, Class of 1972 - to Louisburg, East Carolina
Terry Leonard, Rocky Mount - Class of 1972 - to Chowan 
Randy Warrick, Rocky Mount - Class of 1973 - to Louisburg, UNC
Marvin "Sonny " Wooten, Rocky Mount - Class of 1973 - to Louisburg, East Carolina
Larry Daughtridge, Rocky Mount - Class of 1973 - to Louisburg
Danny Weaver, Northern Nash - Class of 1973 - to Atlantic Christian (Barton)
Tommy Warrick, Rocky Mount - Class of 1974 - to Louisburg, East Carolina
Doug Henley, Rocky Mount - Class of 1975 - to Wake Forest, Georgia
Tommy Crocker, Rocky Mount - Class of 1975 - to N.C. State
Greg Proctor, Rocky Mount - Class of 1975 - to Louisburg CC
Steve Partin, Rocky Mount - Class of 1976 - to Louisburg CC
Buddy Luper, Rocky Mount - Class of 1976 - to Louisburg CC
Mike Leonard, Northern Nash - Class of 1977 - to Pembroke State (UNC-Pembroke)
Greg Clark, Rocky Mount - Class of 1978 - to NC Wesleyan
Kevin Bunn, Rocky Mount - Class of 1980 - to Wake Forest
David Downs, Rocky Mount - Class of 1980 - Wake Forest
Bill Merrifield, Rocky Mount - Class of 1980 - to Wake Forest
Jeff Newsome, Rocky Mount - Class of 1980 - to UNC-Wilmington
Bill Wilkes, Rocky Mount - Class of 1981 - to Campbell
Billy Godwin, Northern Nash - Class of 1982 - to Atlantic Christian (Barton)
Carl Payne, Northern Nash - Class of 1982 - to NC Wesleyan
David Ellis, Rocky Mount - Class of 1983 - to NC Wesleyan
Neil Avent, Rocky Mount - Class of 1985 - to Wake Forest
Charlie Long, Northern Nash - Class of 1985 - to Mount Olive
Donnie Bobbitt, Rocky Mount - Class of 1986 - to Wake Forest
Shelton Grant, Rocky Mount - Class of 1986 - Western Carolina
John Adams, Northern Nash - Class of 1986 - to East Carolina
Phil Bryant, Southern Nash - Class of 1986 - to NC Wesleyan
Lee Boone, Northern Nash - Class of 1988 - to US Coast Guard Academy
Mark Worsley, Rocky Mount - Class of 1988 - to Lenoir CC, N.C. State
Ernie Jones, Southern Nash - Class of 1989 - to Lenoir CC, NC Wesleyan
Greg Bobbitt, Northern Nash - Class of 1989 - to St. Augustine's
John Bonner, Northern Nash - Class of 1990 - to Appalachian State
Eric Gazaway, Northern Nash - Class of 1990 - to NC Wesleyan
Rocky Seagroves, Rocky Mount - Class of 1991 - to Lenoir CC, NC Wesleyan
David Joyner, Northern Nash - Class of 1991 - to Lenoir CC
Kelvin Whitaker, Rocky Mount - Class of 1991 - to St. Augustine's
Marcus Mitchell, Rocky Mount - Class of 1992 - to Pfeiffer
Byron Evans, Northern Nash - Class of 1992 - to NC Wesleyan
Chris Bryant, Southern Nash - Class of 1992 - to NC Wesleyan
Fred Boone, Northern Nash - Class of 1992 - to US Coast Guard Academy
Marcus Battle, Rocky Mount - Class of 1994 - to UNC-G
Scott Gibson, Rocky Mount - Class of 1994 - to UNC-Pembroke
Jeremy Stewart, Northern Nash - Class of 1995 - to NC Wesleyan
Travis Matthews - Rocky Mount - Class of 1995 - Brevard JC, Barton
Andy Jones, Southern Nash - Class of 1995 - to NC Wesleyan
Jeremy Ward, Rocky Mount - Class of 1996 - to Wake Forest, Long Beach State
Kenny Wilson, Rocky Mount - Class of 1996 - to Louisburg, UNC-Wilmington
Chris Tyndall , Rocky Mount - Class of 1996 - East Carolina
Jeremiah Parvin, Rocky Mount - Class of 1997 - to Davidson
David Ange, Rocky Mount - Class of 1998 - to UNC-Wilmington
Barrett Bodiford, Rocky Mount - Class of 1998 - to Appalachian State
Jason Battle, Rocky Mount - Class of 1998 - to N.C. A&T
Paul Jenkins, Rocky Mount - Class of 2001 - to UNC
Carter Harrell, Rocky Mount - Class of 2001 - to UNC, Louisburg, East Carolina
Chad Alligood, Northern Nash - Class of 2001 - to Greensboro College
Brian Massey, Southern Nash - Class of 2001 - to Mount Olive
Will Tyson, Southern Nash - Class of 2001 - to Barton
Paul Bauer, Rocky Mount - Class of 2001 - to Lenoir CC
Chuck Davis, Rocky Mount - Class of 2001 - to Lenoir CC
Adam Weaver, Rocky Mount - Class of 2002 - to UNC, Elon
Ricky Howard, Southern Nash - Class of 2002 - to Louisburg, Campbell
Luke Murray, Southern Nash - Class of 2002 - to NC Wesleyan
Tyler Petty, Northern Nash - Class of 2002 - to Barton
Kai Mullen, Rocky Mount - Class of 2002 - to Elon
Josh Richardson, Faith Christian - Class of 2002 - to NC Wesleyan
Michael Parker, Rocky Mount - Class of 2003 - to Barton
O.J. Jenkins, Rocky Mount - Class of 2004 - to N.C. Central
Mark Wooten, Northern Nash - Class of 2004 - to NC Wesleyan
Ted Williams, Northern Nash - Class of 2004 - to NC Wesleyan
Thomas Evans, Southern Nash - Class of 2004 - to Barton
Jason Webb, Southern Nash - Class of 2004 - to Barton
Will Johnson, Rocky Mount - Class of 2005 - to Barton
Bryan Braswell, Northern Nash - Class of 2006 - to Campbell
Jonathan Lucas, Northern Nash - Class of 2006 - to NC Wesleyan
Joseph Keel, Southern Nash - Class of 2006 - to Mars Hill
Chad Womble, Rocky Mount - Class of 2007 - to Flor./Darlington C.C., NC Wesleyan
Jason Gay, Northern Nash - Class of 2007 - to NC Wesleyan
Thomas Sykes, Northern Nash - Class of 2007 - to NC Wesleyan
Andrew Webb, Northern Nash - Class of 2007 - to NC Wesleyan
Brian Allen, Southern Nash - Class of 2007 - to Pitt C.C., NC Wesleyan
Adam Hodges, RM Academy - Class of 2007 - to Hamden-Sydney
Ryan Waldrep, Rocky Mount/S. Brunswick, Class of 2008 - to Appalachian State
Zach Woodley, Northern Nash - Class of 2008 - to Pitt C.C.
Daniel Moore, Northern Nash - Class of 2008 - NC Wesleyan
Jim Leggett, Rocky Mount - Class of 2008 - to Belmont Abbey, Pitt C.C.
Alex Pearce, Nash Central - Class of 2008 - to UNC-Pembroke
Edmund Gravely, RM Academy - Class of 2008 - to Newberry

Ben Fish, Rocky Mount - Class of 2009 - to Campbell U.
Tyler Joyner, Northern Nash - Class of 2009 - to East Carolina
Tyler Clark, Northern Nash - Class of 2009 - to NC Wesleyan
Cameron Ramsey, Rocky Mount - Class of 2009 - to Wake C.C./Campbell U.
Gabe Brown, Rocky Mount - Class of 2009 - to Lenoir C.C./N.C. Central
Mike Williams, Northern Nash - Class of 2009 - to Pitt C.C.
Eric Mull, Faith Christian - Class of 2009 - to NC Wesleyan
Hobbs Johnson, Rocky Mount - Class of 2010 - to UNC
Collins Cuthrell, Rocky Mount - Class of 2010 - to Barton
T.J. Taylor, Nash Central - Class of 2010 - to Wake C.C.
Brett Allen, Southern Nash/Wilson Fike - Class of 2010 - to NC Wesleyan
Thomas Berry, Rocky Mount - Class of 2011 - to Lander U.
Benton Moss, Rocky Mount - Class of 2011 - to UNC
Matthew Berry, Rocky Mount - Class of 2011 - to Barton
Jeremy Lucas, Northern Nash - Class of 2011 - to Barton 


Dudley Whitley, Rocky Mount - Class of 1952 - N.C. State - signed by Corpus Christi Clippers
Danny Talbott, Rocky Mount - Class of 1963 - UNC - drafted by Detroit Tigers (2nd round - No. 22)
Mike Tyson, Northern Nash - Class of 1970 - Indian River State College (Fl.) - signed by St. Louis Cardinals (3rd round - No. 60)
Marvin "Sonny" Wooten, Rocky Mount - Class of 1973 - drafted by Chicago Cubs (29th round - No. 641)
Doug Henley, Rocky Mount - Class of 1975 - Wake Forest, Georgia - signed with New York Mets (free agent)
Greg Clark, Rocky Mount - Class of 1978 - NC Wesleyan - signed by Los Angeles Dodgers (18th round - No. 462)
Bill Merrifield, Rocky Mount - Class of 1980 - Wake Forest - signed by California Angels (2nd round - No. 53)
Greg Bobbitt, Northern Nash - Class of 1989 - St. Augustine's - signed by Chicago Cubs (free agent)
Duane Thomas, Rocky Mount - Class of 1991 - signed with Baltimore Orioles (free agent)
Carl Payne, Northern Nash - Class of 1982 - signed with Kansas City Royals (free agent)
Chris Bryant, Southern Nash - Class of 1992 - NC Wesleyan - signed by Baltimore Orioles (14th round - No. 388)
Jeremy Ward, Rocky Mount - Class of 1996 - Wake Forest/Long Beach State - signed by Arizona Diamondbacks - (2nd round - No. 71)
Maurice Cobb, Rocky Mount - Class of 2002 - signed by Montreal Expos - (27th round - No. 767)
Xavier Macklin, Nash Central - Class of 2008 - N.C. A&T - signed by Oakland A's - (12th round - No. 376)
Brian Goodwin, Rocky Mount - Class of 2009 - UNC/Miami Dade CC - signed by Washington Nationals - (Compensation round - No. 34)

Friday, June 24, 2011

Holts are grandparents for the third time!

The Holts are grandparents again!
Former Rocky Mount head football coach B.W. Holt and his wife Barbara became grandparents for the third time Wednesday with the arrival of AnnWallace Whitley Holt in a hospital in Bowling Green, Ky. to parents Stu and Kim Holt.
Mother and daughter are doing fine. AnnWallace, the Holts' third grandaughter, weighed 6 lbs, 2 oz, and was also born on the birthday of her great grandmother, B.W. mom's. 
Congrats to the Holt family. 
I'm not sure of the origin of "AnnWallace", but "Whitley" is B.W.'s middle name.
Just wondering if B.W. will ever get to coach up a grandson!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Matthew Berry to ink with Barton

Matthew Berry
What a way to end the biggest day of your athletic life!

During the day Wednesday, recent Rocky Mount grad Matthew Berry verbally committed to play baseball for D-II Barton College. 

Later that evening, he hit a walk-off grand slam for Coleman-Pitt Post 58 to give it a 17-4, seven-inning, 10-run rule victory at home over Wilson Post 13. That win clinched the Area I East Northern Division title for Post 58 with two regular season games left on its slate. 

Berry marks the fourth Gryphon player in the last decade to play for the Bulldogs. He'll join former players Michael Parker, Will Johnson and current player Collins Cuthrell in wearing the royal blue and white. 

The slugger recently set the career batting average mark for RMHS at .473. His 71 career hits ranks No. 9 on the school's all-time list. He knocked in 52 runs and scored 49 times. He closed his Gryphon career with six home runs and 22 doubles.

The two-year letter winner was especially hot this past season when he led the team in batting average (.455), hits (35), doubles (12) , triples (1), RBI (32) and walks (17). His performance garnered him a spot on the first-team squad from the Big East 3-A Conference.

Earlier this summer, his twin brother Thomas signed with D-II Lander University. Although the two schools are not in the same conference, perhaps sometime in the next four years, the two brothers will get to face each other.

It might be nerve-wracking for parents Cindy and Steve, but it would be interesting too see for us fans who got see them play during their prep days.

Alright Baseball Britt - see if you can help make this matchup happen!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Post 58 runs winning streak to eight!

MT. OLIVE - Rocky Mount Post 58 brought out not one, not two, but seven pitchers to the mound to face Wayne County Thursday night in a non-conference American Legion Area I East affair played at Mount Olive College. 

Post 58 came away with an 8-4 win to bring its winning streak to eight. It will face Edenton Post 40 in a doubleheader Saturday at Nash Central's Dawg Pound beginning at 5 p.m.

Chase Johnson started, went just one inning, and was then followed by Cam Webb, Jeremy Lucas, Trellis Ashley, Matthew Berry, Stevie Williams and Spiers Miller. Johnson and Ashley were the only ones who pulled more than an inning of work.

At the plate, Miller was a standout as he went 2-for-5 with an RBI, while Abel Hernandez and Miller also added two hits. Both teams had eight hits apiece, but Post 58 threw in five stolen bases.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Thomas Berry signs with Lander University

Thomas Berry
For the third time in Lander University baseball history, a former Rocky Mount player and the Greenwood, S.C. school have crossed paths.

In the early 2000s, former Rocky Mount catcher Jerry Edwards was an assistant coach there. Then last year, former Gryphon athlete Britt Johnson also made his way there as an assistant.

Now the first Gryphon athlete will be playing on the field for Bearcats.

Recent Gryphon graduate Thomas Berry has signed a national letter-of-intent to play baseball at Lander. The school (enrollment, 3,000), is a member of the D-II Peach Belt Conference (which includes UNC-Pembroke). Berry is expected to play first or DH for the school, which had one of the toughest NCAA Div. II schedules in the country last season. The Bearcats closed out their 2011 campaign at 29-24, but was nationally ranked earlier in the season.

Add in the fact that Lander is moving into a brand new stadium next spring, and Johnson is just waiting to see the lefty Berry knock them out over the fence in right center.

Berry just concluded a stellar three-year career as a Gryphon starter. The burly senior, who earned a ring as a freshman reserve on Rocky Mount's 2008 state title team, had his best season at the plate this past spring hitting .392 with 32 RBI, three home runs and 22 runs scored.

He concluded his career hitting .352, knocked in 67 runs (second only to Ben Fish on the all-time list) on 67 hits, slammed nine home runs and scored 53 runs. He also earned an astounding 52 base-on-balls, No. 2 on the RMHS career list to Brian Goodwin. 

There is another RMHS baseball connection to Lander. 

Former Gryphon pitcher Jim Leggett was signed by current Lander head coach Kermit Smith to play for Belmont Abbey when Smith was the head coach there. Leggett was forced to sit out his lone year there as a redshirt after shoulder surgery. Smith led that team to the NCAA D-II Baseball World Series.

And with Berry's help, that's what he and Johnson want to do at Lander.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Wilson Post 13 humbled by Rocky Mount 12-2 in Fleming

Jeremy Sloop
By Tom Ham
Wilson Times

WILSON - Two hot American Legion baseball teams collided for sole possession of the North Conference lead of Area One’s Eastern Division in Fleming Stadium on Wednesday evening.

But an ideal night for baseball turned into a cold, sobering occasion for a sloppy Wilson Post 13 team that was humbled by Rocky Mount, 12-2. The contest, scheduled for nine innings, was halted after seven because of the 10-run lead rule.

Thomas Berry
Both teams entered 3-0 in the conference. Overall, Rocky Mount, with its seventh consecutive win, climbed to 9-3. Post 13, winner of three straight and five of its last six, plunged to 7-5.

Coleman-Pitt Post 58 visits Wayne County this evening, before Wayne County comes to Wilson on Friday night at 7 in Fleming Stadium.

The score was knotted 1-1 when Post 13 left the bases loaded in the bottom of the second inning. Rocky Mount then reached starting — and losing — Wilson pitcher Ches Lamm for four runs in the top of the third, and boosted its lead to 12-2 with six runs in the top of the sixth.
Jon Naylor

Starting right-handed Rocky Mount pitcher Jeremy Sloop made certain that Wilson did not prolong the game past the seventh inning by striking out the side to complete his route-going performance.

“Our pitching wasn’t there,” lamented Post 13 head coach Rusty Dail. “We walked too many (seven) people. We put them in situations in which they capitalized.

“We threw the ball away a couple of times and fell apart. We became a different team. I told the guys that any team can play ahead but, to be a good team, we have to be able to play from behind. Maybe we can learn from this.”

Second-year Rocky Mount head coach Hank Jones was understandably pleased.

“I had seen Wilson play twice and consider them the team to beat in our conference,” Jones contended. “To come over here and get a win is a big deal for us. We started off (the season) kind of rough, but we are getting better ... It has been a process.”

Wilson answered Rocky Mount’s run in the first when shortstop Zach Houchins doubled some 400 feet to center field and scampered home on third baseman Mitchell Wheeler’s single.

But after wiggling out of the bases-loaded jam in the second, Sloop (3-1) stopped Post 13 on a pair of singles and an unearned run the last five innings. The Nash Central High product yielded six hits and one earned run while walking three and striking out seven.

Jones suggested Rocky Mount’s four-run third (5-1 lead) was pivotal for Sloop.

“That might have given him a little confidence,” Post 58’s head coach suggested, “and calmed him down a little bit.”

In the meantime, Lamm constantly fell behind in the count to Rocky Mount batters and threw 94 pitches in four innings — when he walked five and struck out five.

Also, Dail’s decision to issue two intentional walks backfired in the six-run sixth. Post 58 tallied two of its runs on bases-loaded walks.

Rocky Mount nicked four Post 13 pitchers for 12 hits. Shortstop Jon Naylor batted 3 for 5 and drove in two runs. First baseman Thomas Berry went 2 for 3 with two RBI1. Catcher Tyler Wooten and second baseman Spires Miller each contributed two hits. Post 58’s defense, especially the outfielders, made all the plays.

Center fielder Will Bynum, a product of Greene Central High and Mount Olive College, was the only Wilson hitter with a pair of base knocks.

Dail described Post 58 as a “scrappy little team.” However, Jones indicates his Post 58 squad is not about to be deceived by Wednesday night’s success.

“When they come to Rocky Mount, we know we’ve got to play our best,” he cautioned.

(Thanks to Wilson Times sports editor Paul Durham for allowing me to reprint this article).

Friday, June 10, 2011

Hess headed back to Indiana, accepts head coaching job

Indiana native Alan Hess is going back home
Rocky Mount assistant football coach Alan Hess has one interesting to-do list in front of him.
  • - Pack a U-Haul and drive nearly 700 miles to a new town, Marenga, Indiana, this weekend
  • - Marry his finance' Jennifer Ignet on Saturday, July 9
  • - Take over as the new head football coach at Crawford County High School
Hess, 26, has become the fifth Rocky Mount assistant under former head coach B.W. Holt to become a high school head coach. Hess, who coached the offensive line and special teams at RMHS, will take over a program at a school that's been around for 35 years, but has only had football since 2007.

The former head coach didn't have any beginner's luck - going a dismal 4-36 in four seasons. The school, the only high school in a county of less that 11,000 people and one stop light, saw the coach resign after going win-less last season.

Crawford County Schools officials liked Hess, who is from Tell City, about a 45-minute drive southwest of Marenga in the southern part of the state. He heard about the resignation of the former coach in February and decided to apply for the position. 

About two weeks ago after several telephone conversations, he was asked to fly in for an in-person interview. He apparently was exactly what that they were looking for in a head coach.

"I'm nervous, sad, happy, excited, overjoyed ... about every emotion there is," said Hess, a social studies teacher who coached Gryphon football for three seasons and baseball the last two. "I can't thank Coach Holt enough for bringing me on here and all my coaches at Urbana (College in Ohio where he was a kicker/punter) for preparing me for this moment."

Things were more than a bit haphazard in the program last season. Hess says they employed the wishbone, the spread and the pro-I. The coaching was inconsistent. Players left the program during the season. In fact, only 18 dressed for the final game of the season. He knows changes have to be made.

And it all starts with getting bodies on the field.

When he returned to Rocky Mount from getting the job, Hess brought back a list of potential freshmen that might be playing next year. He's personally calling every player on the list to try to convince them to join the program. 

He's determined to do all the little things to build the program into a winner.

Hess, who played baseball and basketball against Crawford County in his high school days, is still unsure of a few things. He's not sure who will be on the team this fall, who will be on his staff and right now, he doesn't even know what he'll be teaching - social studies or physical education. The former head football coach is still at the school as the baseball coach.


Since 2001, 11 Nash County assistant football coaches have become head coaches.
Amazingly, six of them have been from Rocky Mount. 

Here is a list of those coaches:

Alan Hess, Rocky Mount - to Crawford County (Ind.)
Jeremy Jones, Nash Central - to South Creek
Chris Lee, Rocky Mount - to Louisburg
Brent David, Rocky Mount - to Winston-Salem Carver
Chad Smith, Rocky Mount - to Northern Nash (now Easley, S.C.)
Russell Weinstein, Northern Nash - Roanoke Rapids
Kevin Crudup, Nash Central - to Nash Central
T.J. Worrell, Nash Central - to Perquimans
Dickie Schock, Rocky Mount - to Franklinton (to Orange, now Rocky Mount)
Lonnie Custer, Southern Nash - to North Lincoln
Mark Hoover, Rocky Mount - to Chatham Central (to West Lincoln, now Central Davidson)

RMHS Graduation set for Saturday

Rocky Mount High School will hold its 57th Graduation Ceremony at its current campus Saturday at 10 a.m. in the main gym. 

Congrats to the Class of 2011's 228 graduates.

I just hope the person who reads the names of the graduates as they march across the stage will practice their names before taking to the microphone.

The last thing you want to hear on perhaps, to that point, the biggest day of your life, is your name mispronounced.

Since my name starts with an "A" and I sat on the front row, my few seconds in the sun went early and quick. But you got to feel bad for those guys in the "W's."

The poor man (a former superintendent) who was reading the graduates' names may have gone a bit brain dead after going through 400 names.

A male grad was standing at the base of the steps waiting for his name to be called. His first name was "Emile" pronounced, of course "e-mill". The gentleman called out "Emily W------."

The poor boy thought there was an Emily W------- that should have be ahead of him, so he just stood there. 

Perhaps the poor girl had missed her graduation night, he must have thought.

The gentleman repeated the name, and he just continued to stand there. Meanwhile, the entire class of 407 was in total laughter. We knew he was mispronouncing his name, but the gentleman didn't. After the second proclaim, Emile finally stepped up with even more laughter from his classmates, grabbed his diploma and walked briskly back to his seat at the back of the gym.


I never forgot that moment - and that was 35 years ago. 

I know poor Emile hasn't!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Mr. Goodwin goes to Washington

Former Rocky Mount baseball player and wrestler Nick Phillips and his dad made a trip to Washington to see the Nationals play on Opening Day.

That may become a tradition now that one of his teammates on Rocky Mount's 2008 state championship baseball team may be patrolling the outfield in D.C. in the very near future.

2009 Gryphon grad Brian Goodwin was selected as the first pick of the Compensation Round and the 34th overall pick in Major League Baseball's First-Year Player Draft held Monday evening in New York.

Of all the mock drafts on line, Washington was predicted to be Goodwin's destination by the majortiiy of them. In time he will be joining the last two No. 1 overall draft picks in Scott Strasburg in 2009 and Bryce Harper last year.

The event was carried live on He was the second native North Carolinian selected as his former UNC teammate Levi Michael was taken as the No. 30 pick of the first round to Minnesota.

But we have to wait to see if he signs with the Nationals. He couldn't be closer to home than the four-hour trip up I-95.

If he doesn't , then he'll be off to the University of South Carolina to play one season, then go back into the Draft.

Monday, June 6, 2011 picks RMAC in its Top 35 NC high school football stadiums

The 5,000-seat Rocky Mount Athletic Facility (Photo/David Hahula)
 (click on image to enlarge)
SANFORD - The Rocky Mount Athletic Facility, home of the Gryphons' football team the last 23 seasons, has been recently voted onto's list of the Top 35 high school football stadiums in the state. Not bad when you think that statewide, there are a little over 350 high school football stadiums.

The RMAC, which opened in 1988, was ranked No. 28 on the list. Click here to see the entire list. Each of the 35 stadiums is pictured. Amazingly, the RMAC is one of only two eastern North Carolina high school stadiums on the list. White Oak High School's football stadium in Jacksonville also made it.

Chris Hughes, who runs, used many variables in putting together this list. The size of the stadium (RMAC seats 5,000), how well the facility was maintained, concessions, field presence and the quality of the press box all went into placing stadiums on his list.

Ironically, the Gryphons got to see the transformation of the stadium that made No. 1 - the home of the Northern Durham Knights, Durham County Stadium.

Rocky Mount opened its 2009 season against the Knights at the 8,000-seat facility, which was still going under reconstruction.

Finally completed before the start of the 2010 season at a cost of $8 million, the stadium's facelift included adding four concession stands, updating and renovating rest rooms and adding additional handicapped seating. The expansions also included renovating the home and visitor coaches' box, media box, promenade area, manager office and press box. All the stadium seating was replaced and upgraded. The lighted field was upgraded with fieldturf and a new electronic digital scoreboard.

Also added were long jump and pole vault areas, and a brand new eight-lane running track.

Another irony is that Rocky Mount will be playing its final season at the RMAC this fall with the impending move to the school's new campus the fall of 2012.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Goodwin's big day is Monday

Former Gryphon Brian Goodwin
Monday will be a big day for former Rocky Mount High athlete Brian Goodwin.

Live coverage of the 2011 First-Year Player Major League Baseball Draft begins with a one-hour preview show at 6 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on and the MLB Network, followed by the first round and supplemental compensation round.

Expect to hear Goodwin's name somewhere toward the end of the first round. 

The 6-foot-1, 190-pounder, who spent this past spring playing for Miami Dade Junior College, may go as high as No .23 to the Washington Nationals, which would be real close for area fans to go see him play. 

Expect my good friend Wes Bradshaw and myself, the biggest - literally - BIGGEST - Boston Red Sox fans I know of, to go crazy should he go at No. 26 to Boston. 

Goodwin has an interesting connection to the Boston area as he was a star of the Nash County 14-year-old Babe Ruth Baseball team that made the World Series there in nearby Quincy. And he played last summer in the Cape Cod League just southeast of the city.

He could go at No. 28 to the Atlanta Braves, the adopted team of so many area MLB fans.

Or he could join fellow North Carolina native and ex-Gatorade N.C. Player of the Year Madison Bumgarner in San Francisco if he goes 29th to the World Champion Giants. Bumgarner won the award in 2007, Goodwin in 2009.

It will be interesting to see where he ends up. Below are a few of the mock draft predictions for Goodwin's destinations and the Nationals outnumbered most as his landing pad. 

Should he go in the first round, he'd top where 1996 Gryphon alum Jeremy Ward went. Ward, as a junior at Long Beach State and a transfer from Wake Forest, was picked in 1999 in the second round by the Arizona Diamondbacks as the 71st overall pick.

Here are some of the predictions for his destination: - No. 23, Washington Nationals - No. 23, Washington Nationals - No. 26, Boston Red Sox - No. 28, Atlanta Braves - No. 29, San Francisco Giants - No. 31, Tampa Bay Rays

MockDraftMania. com - No. 39, Philadelphia Phillies

 Below are Godwin's offensive numbers since leaving Rocky Mount.


2010 UNC 227 66 13 8 7 45 49 7 2 .291 .411 .511
2010 CapeCod 114 32 4 1 1 14 20 15 4 .281
2011 Miami Dade 157 60 11 2 8 16

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Pinecrest's Maples vs. Rocky Mount's Moss

This past Thursday, Gatorade announced its 50 state winners for High School Baseball Player of the Year.

I was so hoping that Rocky Mount's Benton Moss, who I nominated for the award a few weeks ago, would become the Gryphons' third recipient of the coveted title. He'd be following in the footsteps of Rocky Mount greats Carter Harrell (2001) and Brian Goodwin (2008).

But the award went to senior pitcher/third baseman Dillon Maples from Southern Pines Pinecrest.

I have no idea how the voting went, but Moss had to have been a close second.

Check out below how their numbers compare! 

Both have signed with North Carolina and both are All-Americans, but Maples is a possible first-round Major League Draft pick. Moss, of course, also won the Morehead-Cain Scholarship at UNC and might get drafted late as scouts will expect he'll pretty much head to Chapel Hill in the fall and will be fairly unsignable.

Benton Moss

Dillon Maples

9-1 Record 9-1
148 Ks 143
0.87 ERA 0.93
Inn. Pitched
.395 Batting Avg. .431
21 Runs scored 19
31 RBI 31
6 HRs            7       

Summer Fun Tennis 2011

Summer Fun Tennis 2011 will take place from July 4 until Aug. 26 at Sunset Park and it will be a free program for all boys and girls. This is an effort to improved the feeder programs that provide players for teams at Rocky Mount High School and Edwards Middle School.

Beginning to advanced players attending Edwards next school year are also welcome to attend. 

Players will supply their own rackets, shoes and refreshments. 

For players from the elementary level, the Quick Start Tennis format will be used - a smaller court, low pressure balls and age-appropriated rackets.

For more information on the program, contact Buck Young at 937-2439, 904-8716 or email him at You may write to him at: 3516 Hawthorne Rd., Rocky Mount, N.C. 27804.

Congrats Tom on 40 great years

Rocky Mount native Tom Suiter may have retired from everyday sports reporting for WRAL-TV5 in Raleigh, but he is still putting in time at its Western Boulevard studios.

This past Thursday, Suiter celebrated his 40th anniversary at the station. This coming on the heels of fellow WRAL personality and meteorologist Greg Fishel spending the past month relishing in his 30th year at the station.

I had the chance to talk to Tom during the 2008 GlaxoSmithKline Invitational basketball tournament for about 20 minutes and he imparted to me that he was just tired .. period. He was ready for retirement, but he said the station was still wooing him to at least host Football Friday and continue his presentations of his Extra Effort Award for high school athletes.

At that time, he was indecisive. But lucky for us all, he stayed on for those special projects - including marking his 30th season of Football Friday last fall.

Congrats on 40 wonderful years, Tom! Can't believe that early interview with coaching legend John Wooden at then-Campbell College was that long ago!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

RMHS rewards its athletes; Capps to retire

Rocky Mount High School paid tribute to its student athletes last Thursday with its annual athletic banquet held in the school’s main gym.

Top honors for Athlete of the Year went to Exzavier Cooper (Male) and there was a tie for the top female award. It was shared by Zikeena Parker and Lauren Campbell. Scholar Athlete of the Year went to Macauley Fish (Female) and Matt Williams (Male).

The coveted Juan Chesson Award, given to the athlete who best exudes the qualities and character of late Gryphon athlete Juan Chesson who passed away in 1999, went to Benton Moss.

At the proceedings, it was revealed that Bernie Capps, who has been head trainer at the school for 39 years, would be retiring after this school year.

But his allegiance to Rocky Mount High School goes back further than that.

Capps, a member of the RMHS Class of 1963, was also a student trainer for the famed Rocky Mount teams that won the state titles in football, basketball and baseball in the same academic year.

Former Rocky Mount High principal and county-wide athletic director Wayne Doll made the announcement.

2010-11 Rocky Mount Sports Award Winners

Varsity Baseball
• Benton Moss -- Best All-Around
• Matthew Berry -- Offensive Award
• Thomas Berry -- Mr. Consistency
• Taylor Clontz -- Most Improved

JV Baseball
• Micah Varnell -- Most Valuable
• Gardner Noble -- Coaches Award
• James Martin -- Most Improved
• Dylan Matthews -- Most Consistent

Girls Soccer
• Lauren Campbell -- Most Valuable Player
• Holly Fryar -- The Blue and Gold Award
• Caroline Bell -- Coaches Award

Varsity Softball
• Clyteshia Garner -- Most Valuable
• Kushunn Seabreeze --Best Defensive Award
• Brittney Battle -- Team Spirit Award

JV Softball
• Haley Coppedge -- Most Valuable
• Daiza Brown -- Coaches Award

Boys Tennis
• Mason Holt -- Most Valuable Player
• Caleb Butler -- Coaches Award

Boys Track
• Exzavier Cooper --Most Valuable Player
• Paul Lilley -- Gryphon Award
• Danny Simmons -- Most Improved

Girls’ Track
• Zi’keena Parker -- Co-Most Valuable Performer
• Fantacy Bryant -- Co-Most Valuable Performer
• Marquita Hines -- Gryphon Pride Award

Varsity Cheerleading
• Atiya Clark -- Coaches Award
• Aerostata Brown -- Coaches Award
• Victoria Viverette -- Coaches Award
• Shantell Chance -- Coaches Award

JV Cheerleading
• Myisha McCoy -- Coaches Award

Athlete of the Year
• Exzavier Cooper (Male)
• Zi’keena Parker (Female)
• Lauren Campbell (Female)

Scholar Athlete of the Year
• McAuley Fish (Female)
• Matthew Williams (Male)

Juan Chesson Award
• Benton Moss

Varsity Boys Basketball
• Kenyatta Bulluck -- Coaches Award
• Exzavier Cooper -- Coaches Award
• Terrill Hilliard -- Coaches Award

JV Boys Basketball
• Michael Hines -- Most Valuable Player
• Tyler Harmanson -- Most Improved

Varsity Girls Basketball
• Timisha Walker -- Coaches Award
• Tia Hudgins -- Most Improved
• J’Kyra Brown -- Best Offensive Player

JV Girls Basketball
• Takia Draughn -- Most Improved
• Taquiyah Battle -- Most Determined

Swimming (Boys)
• Zachary Vestal -- Most Valuable Player
• Sam Haynes -- Coaches Award
• Colin Amos -- Most Improved

Swimming (Girls)
• Lauren Campbell -- Most Valuable Player
• Kathryn Greisinger -- Most Improved
• Allison Raper -- Coaches Award

Indoor Track (Boys)
• Paul Lilley -- Most Valuable Player
• Zachary Shea -- Coaches Award
• Joe Bell -- Outstanding Contributions

Indoor Track (Girls)
• Zi'keena Parker -- Most Valuable Player
• Alexis Bryant -- Coaches Award
• Ashley Bryant -- Most Improved

• Janicento Williamson -- Most Outstanding Wrestler
• Mason Holt -- Most Improved
• Alex Knight -- Coaches Award

Varsity Football
• Damien Strickland -- Outstanding QB/Receiver
• Clinton Morning -- Outstanding DL
• Rodquez Greene -- Outstanding RB
• Nah’jerrelle Graves -- Outstanding LB
• Da’Cor Wiggins -- Outstanding DB
• Connor Daughtridge -- Billy Smith Award

JV Volleyball
• Madison Sides -- Most Valuable Player
• Destini Parker -- Best Offensive Player

Varsity Volleyball
• Lauren Campbell -- Coaches Award
• Tia Hudgins -- Co-MVP
• Timisha Walker -- Co-MVP

Varsity Girls Tennis
• Lindsay Thomas -- Most Valuable Player
• Caroline Nelson -- Coaches Award

Cross Country/Boys
• James Bonds -- Most Valuable Player
• Daniel Hannon -- Outstanding Performer
• Mason Holt -- Coaches Award

Cross Country/Girls
• Kaitlyn Jacob -- Most Valuable Player
• Zi'keena Parker -- Outstanding Performer
• Marquita Hines -- Coaches Award

Boys Soccer
• Matt Williams -- Offensive Player of the Year
• Robert Chambless -- Defensive Player of the Year
• Andrew Morales -- Most Valuable Player

Girls Golf
• Chelsey Wiggins -- Most Improved
• Marqueahuan Whitehead -- Coaches Award

Gryphon quartet named All-Conference in girls soccer

Four Rocky Mount athletes were named to the 2011 Big East Girls Soccer All-Conference teamSophomore Casey Cooke, sophomore Sydney Browder, senior Lauren Campbell and junior Caroline Bell were voted to the first team. 

Senior Allison Raper was an honorable mention selection.

Cooke, Browder, Campbell and Bell were also selected to the N.C. Soccer Coaches Association 3-A All-District 3 team.


First Team

• Casey Cooke, Rocky Mount
• Sydney Browder, Rocky Mount
• Lauren Campbell, Rocky Mount
• Caroline Bell, Rocky Mount
• Ally Glover, Northern Nash
• Haley Claytor, Northern Nash
• Natalie DePalma, Northern Nash
• Hannah Brock, Southern Nash
• Tori Parker, Southern Nash
• Scarlett Salter, Nash Central
• Alex Hall, Wilson Hunt
• Ashley Batchelor, Wilson Hunt
• Lizzie Madden, Wilson Hunt
• Taylor Dail, Wilson Hunt
• Kaitlyn Saunders, Wilson Hunt
• Madison Blackwell, Wilson Hunt
• Meredith Pruden, Wilson Fike
• Emily Rhyne, Wilson Fike
• Gilli Dillard, Wilson Fike
• Sophia Carter, Wilson Fike
• Kelly Sigmon, Wilson Fike
• Emma Jane Proctor, Wilson Fike

Honorable Mention
• McKenzie Blackwell, Wilson Hunt
• Allison Raper, Rocky Mount
• Brooke Hendricks, Nash Central
• Beth Hanson, Wilson Fike
• Jessica Winstead, Southern Nash
• Caroline Johnson, Northern Nash

Top Honors
• Offensive Player of the Year -- Ashley Batchelor, Wilson Hunt
• Defensive Player of the Year -- Ally Glover, Northern Nash
• Co-Coaches of the Year -- Trent Dorough, Wilson Hunt and Toni Varacchi, Wilson Fike