10/24/04 — North Lenoir names Dunn basketball coach

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North Lenoir names Dunn basketball coach

Published in Sports on October 24, 2004 9:42 AM

LAGRANGE -- For three years, Paul Dunn III has been basketball coach Wells Gulledge's lead assistant at Kinston High School.

It's been tough at times for the North Lenoir graduate -- especially not seeing his younger brother Justin mature into one of the best players in Eastern North Carolina.

All that changed Friday when North Lenoir principal Dexter Simms announced that Dunn is the new head coach of the North Lenoir Hawks.

"I'm a Hawk for life and this is a great day for me and my family," Dunn said. "It's a great feeling to know that I'm part of this program again."

Dunn played for the Hawks from 1991-94 and led North Lenoir to the Class 3-A N.C. High School Athletic Association Eastern Regional in his junior and senior seasons. He graduated in 1994, then went on to Mount Olive College, where he played alongside Gulledge for coach Bill Clingan.

The 28-year-old graduated from Mount Olive in 2000 and joined Gulledge for Gulledge's first year at Kinston in the 2001-02 season. Dunn was also recently promoted to Principal at Five Points Day School in Kinston.

Dunn replaces Charlie Stevens, who resigned Oct. 8 amid a Lenoir County Sheriffs Department investigation into allegations of a sexual assault on a student. No charges have been filed against Stevens.

Simms said Dunn "fit the bill," for the Hawks' program.

"He is very well-respected by the players," Simms said. "He's a good member of the community and a family man. I look forward to working with him."

Dunn takes over a team that is coming off back-to-back trips to the Eastern Regional. The current team is led by Justin Dunn, who averaged more than 20 points a game in 2003-04.

"I've only been able to watch Justin play seven or eight games in his entire high school career," Dunn said of his brother, a senior who is being recruited by UNC-Wilmington and South Carolina State, among others. "It's going to be great to be able to help him. But it's going to be a coach-to-player relationship, not a brother-to-brother relationship."

But the best part for Dunn is the fact that he is going to be back on a North Lenoir sideline, leading the team as a coach in much the same way he did as a player a decade ago. And he said it's going to be a unique experience to be back in Wheat Swamp instead of at archrival Kinston.

"In the beginning, it was tough being at Kinston, but I knew I had a job to do there," Dunn said. "You have to put your personal life aside and be a professional. But I bleed North Lenoir green and this is a great day for me."


Kinston Free Press