Chapel Hill's Sherry Norris named AP coach of the year
Casey Rogers has a state title as Morganton Freedom’s coach to go with one he earned as a player. Sherry Norris earned one at Chapel Hill to match another from more than three decades earlier.
Rogers and Norris are the 2013-14 Associated Press men’s and women’s prep basketball coaches of the year for North Carolina.
Rogers led Freedom to a 31-1 record and the Class 3-A championship in his eighth season at his alma mater.
Rogers earned eight of 25 votes from sports writers across the state in results released Thursday, outdistancing East Carteret’s Billy Anderson, Apex’s David Neal and Kinston’s Perry Tyndall. Anderson’s team finished 31-1 with a one-point loss to Winston-Salem Prep in the 1-A final, while Neal led Apex to the 4-A title and Tyndall led Kinston to a third straight state title.
Anderson, Neal and Tyndall each earned four votes.
On the women’s side, Norris was the runaway winner with 13 votes.
Williamston Riverside’s Kirby Maness and McDowell County’s Jennifer Brooks each earned three votes to tie for second. Maness led Riverside to a 29-1 record and nearly stopped Kernersville Bishop McGuinness’ record run of state championships before losing on a shot from near halfcourt in the 1-A final, while Brooks led McDowell County to a 24-1 record with an undersized roster that lost its top post player to an early knee injury.
For Rogers, the buzzer-beating victory over Wilson Hunt in the title game provided a measure of symmetry.
Sixteen years earlier, he was the point guard on the Freedom team that won a state title with his father — 500-game winner Terry Rogers — as coach.
“It does make it a lot more special because it’s a place where you and your family and so many people have so much invested,” the younger Rogers said.
The same could be said for Norris, who guided Chapel Hill to a 32-0 record and the 3-A women’s title.
The 38th-year coach — also the winningest volleyball coach in state history with 732 victories — has more than 500 career victories in basketball and previously led the school to the 4-A crown in 1981.
“A coach’s dream is to have an undefeated team, and to be able to be undefeated and win the state championship,” Norris said. “These girls did that this year, and the players just showed a great deal of poise and determination and would not let anyone take that undefeated season from them. Very rarely do you have that.”
Sports writers at AP member newspapers nominated coaches for the award, then voted for nominees. The AP prep basketball players of the year for North Carolina will be released Friday.