One thing I have learned is that good friends have other good friends. This is a series of stories about “friends of my friends”. The post below is the story for May 18, 2015.
My goal in 2015 is to learn or get re-acquainted with 365 people and doing a daily post on the “the friend of a friend” is helping me get closer to my goal.
The relative importance of experiences versus environment in shaping human lives—nature versus nurture— has long been a topic of debate taken up by thinkers as diverse as John Locke, Charles Darwin, and Sigmund Freud. When you are a coach, teacher, minister, counselor, or leader you often find people who overcome their environment and even experiences to become fabulous leaders. I don’t have the answer how or why but I do know I have been blessed to be around some of those people.
One of those leaders I am proud to call a friend is a young man I recruited to play basketball in 1978 when I first got to UNC Pembroke. His name is George Drawhorn and at the time I was an assistant basketball coach at Pembroke for Billy Lee. We found a really good player at Chowan College (Junior College at the time) late in the summer and we signed George to play his last two years with us.
George grew up in Princeton, NC without a lot of material possessions. He was a person who probably could have chosen to give up or say life has dealt me a bad hand at an early age but he didn’t. He believed and worked hard especially when it came to athletics. The other thing George possessed was that he cared about others. If you looked at his environment you might say that wasn’t fertile ground for a hall of famer but you would be wrong.
He was a three sport athlete and lettered in football, basketball, and track & field at Princeton High School. His athletic abilities garnered the attention of many college coaches but one in particular was Chowan College’s then-head football coach Jim Garrison. Garrison convinced the men’s basketball coach at the time, Jerry Smith, to recruit George to Chowan where he helped to build on the success of both the football and men’s basketball programs. In the off-season George lent his hand to the Chowan Track and Field team where he also lettered. Although George excelled in all sports he played, basketball featured his most successes while at Chowan. His sophomore year at Chowan he earned All-Conference (1978) and was named to the Region IX All-Conference Team (1978).
George signed with us when it was called Pembroke State University, (today University of North Carolina at Pembroke). He earned a starting position and continued with his dominance on the court just as he did while at Chowan. As one of the team’s top scoring and rebounding threats, George was named to the All-Conference team in both his junior and senior seasons.
George left Pembroke in 1980 with a B.S. in Health and Physical Education. He was immediately hired in nearby Hoke County. He worked as a teacher and coach there for ten years. In 1984 George was named the Head Coach of the boys’ basketball team and for the next seven seasons he was named the Conference Coach of the Year three times and participated in the State playoffs from 1985-1989. In 1990 a legend came calling that would change his life. He left Hoke County High School in 1990 for Wilson-Fike High School in Wilson, NC he went to be Harvey Reid Jr. assistant coach and be the head coach in waiting. In the 1991 NCHSAA State playoffs Harvey Reid Jr. died of a heart attack and George became the coach the next season.
He served as a teacher and coach for 19 years at Fike HS before retiring in 2009. When he retired in 2009 he had amassed over 450 winning games on the basketball court. He had the honor of coaching the East-West All-Star game in 2004 and the North South All-Star game in 2008.
George resides in Wilson, NC with his wife, Sandra Highsmith Drawhorn.
Photo below of George and Sandra starting out as a couple.
Photo after retirement with Sandra
Together they have two daughters, Sanita and Jocelyn, and a granddaughter, D’asis Sanders.
George has been inducted into three Hall of Fame’s Princeton HS, Johnson County Hall of Fame, and Chowan College Hall of Fame. His mentor at Wilson Fike High School Harvey Reid Jr. was also a Hall of Famer.
The Friend-GEORGE DRAWHORN
George hanging out with Dan Kenney at UNC Pembroke Basketball Reunion 2015
The Friend of the Friend-HARVEY REID JR.
The Hall of Famer-Harvey Reid Jr.
When I first started my blog Coach4day not many of my posts got read. One did that I wrote in 2014 and it was about the lessons I learned recruiting John Virgil from Elm City High School in 1976 who was coached by Harvey Reid Jr.
A link to that post is below.
Watching John Virgil get coached by Harvey Reid Jr. evokes lots of memories, taught me life lessons, and exposed me to experiences that influenced me as a coach and hopefully as a leader. I saw firsthand the influence a coach can have in helping young people overcome their experiences and environment to go on and achieve.
In April 2015 the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame recognized posthumously Harvey Reid Jr. as one of two 2015 recipients of the Morgan Wootten Award for Lifetime Achievement in Coaching High School Basketball. Such an award might seem well overdue for Harvey Reid Jr. nearly 24 years after his 1991 death, but given the impact he’s continued to have on his former players, the honor today validates he truly was a great leader.
Harvey Reid coached at three different high school in Wilson County NC. He began at Frederick Douglass in 1955, then went to Elm City with desegregation, and finally to Fike High School when Wilson city and county schools merged. His success as a coach included a state-record 818 wins and seven state championships. Three of those championship occurred at Elm City HS.
Harvey Reid made a sacred promise to all of his players. If they played on his team he would find a way to get them a job or into college. Harvey Reid was more than a coach he was the ultimate teacher. He just used the game of basketball to teach his player’s life lessons. One of those lessons was that they could overcome their environment and past experiences by working hard and believing.
George Drawhorn and Harvey Reid Jr. had a shared leadership quality they helped young people succeed often times overcoming bad envirnonments or experiences.
Fike High School has been blessed to have two leaders that care about people who just happened to go one and become hall of fame basketball coaches. They didn’t let their environment get in the way.
Well done Coach Drawhorn-Well done Coach Reid