Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Pickette takes over as RMHS' head trainer

It's hard to replace a legend.
Doug Pickette

So Rocky Mount High School did the next best thing when it came to Bernie Capps - tab his understudy!

Capps, who served the school for 39 years as its head athletic trainer, stepped down from his post at the end of the school year in June. Until his 66th birthday, the N.C. Athletic Trainers’ Association Hall of Famer oversaw the whole sports program, but was more visible at football, basketball and baseball games.

The school decided to go inside and select his protege’, Doug Pickette, not really to fill Capps’ shoes, but to continue the quality of service young athletes deserve and promote the standards established by him when he came aboard in the fall of 1972. 

Pickette, 54, has been a teacher (Social Studies) and a trainer at RMHS for the last 12 years. The Scotland Neck native could usually be found attending to school athletes at soccer and softball games. 

Now, he's on a bigger stage. 

"Doug Pickette will be taking over the head trainer’s position, and the good thing about that is he knows the system and the athletes," said Rocky Mount Athletic Director Mike Gainey. "It is comforting to know that we have people on staff here that are able to move into a leadership position after someone leaves or retire. My preference is to hire from within as opposed to going outside. Doug has been in the system for quite awhile and he has the knowledge and knows how to get the job done.

"It is going to be a challenge, but from what I have observed, he is ready for it."

Actually, his duties have already started as he cared for the school’s football players during their 7-on-7 passing league schedule this past summer. But officially, he was on duty for the first time at the Gryphons' first football practice of the season Saturday seconds after midnight. 

"Many have asked me about replacing Bernie,” said Pickette, who graduated from East Carolina University and got his training career going while teaching and coaching at Southeast Halifax in the mid-80s."I have told everyone for years that he is irreplaceable! He deserves a place of honor in the Gryphon Hall of Fame. Bernie will be around continuing to contribute to the success of our programs in the diplomatic sense, particularly, for as long as he feels led to and is able.

“He and I talk almost daily and it is great not having to re-invent the wheel in the new position I have." 

Pickette left teaching for a time for a career in retailing, but he found himself drawn back to the classroom. 

He returned to teaching in 1996 when he took a position at Edwards Middle School, RMHS’ main feeder school. He furthered his training with courses to become an EMT and a first responder and for a time, he worked part-time as a Nash County EMT. 

Three years later, he transferred to RMHS and began to assist Capps with over 24 varsity and junior varsity sports teams it fields. 

Pickette says he’s ready for his new task at hand and is eager to see how his new experience will go. 

“I have already come to enjoy the intensity and working relationships that I have in this new role at RMHS,” he said.

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