MOREHEAD CITY — Gordy Patrick doesn’t have any Hall of Fames left to join.
The longtime West Carteret coach and educator was inducted into this third one last weekend as a member of the N.C. High School Athletic Association (NCHSAA) Hall of Fame.
He was named in 2016 to the N.C. Chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame. In 2001, he was inducted in the West Carteret Athletic Hall of Fame.
“I was surprised by these last two,” Patrick said.
This year’s NCHSAA group is the 32nd class to receive the illustrious designation, dedicated to honoring those who “have done the most for high school athletics in North Carolina” throughout their careers.
The induction ceremony and banquet were held at the Embassy Suites in Cary. Patrick estimates he had over 20 members of his family and friends at the event. He was quick to give credit to his family for their help as he built a powerhouse wrestling program in his 19 years as the Patriots coach.
“I had their support when I coached,” he said. “If you don’t have a good support base at home, you’re in trouble.”
Patrick led West to a phenomenal 201-26-5 dual match record from 1965-1984. During a particularly successful stretch, the squad went unbeaten for seven years, posting a 77-0-3 mark.
The program, however, didn’t start strong right out of the gate.
“We started out 1-5 that first year,” Patrick said. “We were in trouble from day one.”
There was no wrestling at Morehead City High School when Patrick graduated in 1958 as the senior class president and the starting center on the state championship football team.
When he took the coaching job at West Carteret in 1965, the only knowledge he had of the sport was a physical education course at East Carolina University.
After a first-year learning curve as a junior varsity unit that saw the team go 1-5, the Patriots went on to win 17 of the next 18 conference championships (1967-1981, 1983-1984). They finished in the top six at the state meet six times in a 12-year period (1971-1982) and in the top 16 in the state 12 times.
He coached four wrestlers to state titles: Larry Horton, 1968; Tommy Day, 1970; Pete Horton, 1973; and Roy Heverly, 1980 and 1983. Seven wrestlers were state runners-up, and 10 earned bronze medals.
N.C. Mat News named him the Coach of the Year in 1983.
He served, not only tirelessly as a coach, but as an educator as well. He worked for the county school system for 41 years. Thirty-eight of those years were spent at West where he served as a teacher, vice principal and principal (1992-2007) before retirement. He was named the Outstanding Young Educator of the Year and selected as the Principal of the Year three times.
Seven years ago, the County Board of Education named the athletic fields at the school as the D. Gordon Patrick Athletic Complex.
Other members of the 2018 NCHSAA Hall of Fame class included: former Tarboro, West Brunswick and West Carteret football coach Jim Brett; former Freedom girls basketball coach Marsha Crump; former Clinton and East Bladen football coach Bob Lewis; former West Charlotte boys basketball coach Charles A. McCullough Sr. (posthumous designation); former Beaver Creek, Watauga and Ashe County boys basketball coach Phillip “Marc” Payne; former Seventy-First, South View and A.C. Reynolds football caoch Robert “Bobby” Poss; and former basketball official Colon Starrett.