A friend of a friend-Jeff Gravely-Dick Christy-August 28


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 August 28, 2015.

I am really lucky that the person that succeeded me as Director of Athletics at UNC Pembroke is one of my good friends.

Dick named AD

His name is Dick Christy and each day that I am around him I learn just how special he is as a friend and a leader. It can be awkward at best and contentious as worst when you continue working at a university and someone has moved into a previous position you held. Dick has made that transition as easy as possible.

If you want to be around a first class leader come to Pembroke, NC.

Dick came to UNC Pembroke in 2013 after serving the past eight years as Associate Director of Athletics for External Relations at NC State. His grandfather Dick Christy played football at NC State, was a halfback, was the ACC player of the year in 1957 and a consensus All-American that same season and led the Wolfpack to an ACC title. He died in an automobile accident in 1966 and his jersey (No. 40) was posthumously retired in 1997.

He will be inducted into the NC State Hall of Fame in 2016 when the remodeling of Reynolds Coliseum is finished. That remodeling will include the permanent home for the Hall of Fame.

Photo below of Dick’s grandfather.

Dick Christy NC State

In the two plus years Dick has been at Pembroke I have had two memorable occasions with him that are part of our friendship. The first one I want to share was a trip my wife and I took with Dick and his wife Wendy.
We drove from Lumberton, NC to Southport, NC one Saturday in April 2014 and got to spend a day and night on their boat called “She’s the One”. It was a great relaxing day and evening just being on the water and with quality people like Dick and Windy.
On that boat I got to see what Dick loves-he is at peace when he is on the water.
Captain Christy

The second story is one I don’t think I will ever forget. On November 30, 2013 we got invited by Dick and Windy Christy to go to their house after UNC Pembroke hosted the 2nd round of the 2013 NCAA Division II Football Playoffs.

Dick and Windy Christy

Dick and Windy

The kickoff for that game between North Alabama and UNC Pembroke was at 12 Noon and we got to their house in time to watch the 2013 Iron Bowl, a football game between Alabama and Auburn.

This is one football game where two men with extensive backgrounds in college athletics trusted they knew all the rules of college football-they were wrong.

We had two wives that wanted to go eat and in the waning moments of a game tied 28-28 we told them if the game went intonovertime we would have five minutes to get from the house To the restaurant. We knew that college football has a five minute intermission before overtime begins.

With 7 seconds on the clock in this game Alabama had the ball with no timeouts in a tied game (28-28).  Bama handed the ball off to T.J Yeldon who appeared to both Dick and I to have run out of bounds with no time left on the clock. Nick Saban didn’t see it our way. Dick and I turned off the TV and raced in our cars to the restaurant in anticipation of getting a seat in the restaurant with a view of the wide screen TV. I actually had the stop watch on my phone going and we arrived in an elapsed time of 3 Minutes and 45 seconds. In my mind we had 1 minute and 15 seconds before overtime would get underway.

Upon entering restaurant named Candy Sue’s the place was going nuts with people screaming and cheering. I looked up on the TV and saw Auburn celebrating. What just happened was we left Dick’s house before we knew they would put one second back on the clock. The video below tells the rest of the story.

Dick has a good friend in the TV business named Jeff Gravely.

The Friend-DICK CHRISTY

(l-r) Dick Christy, Dan Kenney, and Patrick Sterk in endzone after a UNC Pembroke football victory.

Dan and Dick

The Friend of the Friend-JEFF GRAVELY

Jeff Gravely

My nightly sports fix

Most nights after work I am tuning in my TV set to WRAL out of Raleigh, NC to watch the sports. As I watch that broadcast more often than not it is Jeff Gravely who is giving me the day’s latest scores, news and on Friday’s bragging about someone catch of the day.

Jeff has been at WRAL for a while and in 2008, he succeeded legendary sports anchor Tom Suiter as WRAL’s primary sports anchor at 6, 10 and 11 p.m.

On the WRAL website Jeff list some of his greatest sports moments and the list is pretty impressive. It includes

My first trip to the Super Bowl, which was Super Bowl XXXVIII in 2004 between the Carolina Panthers and New England Patriots; the 2006 Stanley Cup playoffs – what an experience to cover two Game 7 wins at the RBC Center and to see hockey played in Edmonton; the many, many trips to the Final Four – 17 and counting; the 1999 and 2005 U.S. Opens at Pinehurst; Jim Valvano’s “Never Give Up” speech at Reynolds Coliseum; Ohio State’s national football championship win over Miami in the 2003 Fiesta Bowl; a 40-minute visit with Michael Jordan when he was playing Minor League Baseball ; and working on a one-year documentary on LeBron James when he was in high school.
Even with that impressive collection of sport events he has witnessed he spent time this week taking a look at a video from UNC Pembroke. When he looked it over he found time to singled out Dick Christy for a video he help create for the student-athletes at UNC Pembroke. The video was shown at the Athletic Department back to school meeting. His tweet is below:
Jeff Gravely
Jeff Gravely brings me my sports each night. I now know that he and I have something in common. We both know that Dick Christy is a friend and a leader that can’t be disguised with a wig.
Check out the video.
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