01/17/05 — Goldsboro native headed for athletics directors HOF

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Goldsboro native headed for athletics directors HOF

By News-Argus Staff
Published in Sports on January 17, 2005 1:55 PM

CHAPEL HILL - Four members have been named by the North Carolina High School Athletics Directors Association as the 11th class for induction in its own Hall of Fame.

The new NCADA Hall of Famers include Alton "Tunney" Brooks of Lumberton, Paul Gay of Sanford, Joel Long of Raleigh, and Dave Thomas of Goldsboro.

The four will be recognized at the annual North Carolina High School Athletic Directors Association state conference at the Wilmington Hilton Riverside with the Hall of Fame banquet scheduled for March 22.

The NCADA Hall of Fame has been established to recognize achievement and excellence for athletic administration. The inductees are honored at the NCADA's annual state convention, and a permanent display honoring the athletics directors' Hall of Fame is located in the offices of the North Carolina High School Athletic Association in Chapel Hill. The new class brings to 52 the number in the Hall.

This year's inductees include:

* Dave Thomas

A graduate of East Carolina, Dave Thomas enjoyed a great career spanning more than 40 years.

His work in North Carolina began in 1962 as a teacher and coach at Jacksonville, and then he spent nine years as a coach and athletic director at New York Military Academy. From 1973 to '85 he was athletic director at Charles B. Aycock High, and then moved to the Wayne County central office where he was director of health, physical education, safety and athletics until his retirement in 2003.

Dave has earned a number of honors and recognitions. He was the 1997-98 Athletic Director of the Year as selected by the North Carolina Athletic Directors Association and received a Distinguished Service Award from the National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association in 2001.

He is a member of the East Carolina University Sports Hall of Fame, and was the national AD of the year as chosen by the National Council of Secondary School Athletic Directors (NCSSAD) in 1995-6. He also served a term on the Board of Directors of the NCHSAA and is a former president of the NCADA.

* Alton G. "Tunney" Brooks

Alton "Tunney" Brooks was an outstanding high school and college athlete who enjoyed an excellent career in coaching and athletic administration.

He played three sports at Charles Coon High School in Wilson and led both the football and baseball teams to state titles. He then attended Wake Forest University, where he wound up as the captain of both the basketball and baseball teams. A 1952 Wake graduate, Brooks was a catcher on the USA team that played in the first-ever Pan American Games, winning the silver medal.

After five years coaching at Holmes High School in Edenton, Brooks moved to Lumberton High School, where he was the athletic director for almost 40 years. He served on the Board of Directors of the North Carolina Athletic Directors Association and was the Region 4 AD of the Year in 1989.

Brooks coached basketball at Lumberton from 1953-80, where his teams won over 300 games. H was also was the head football coach there from 1960 to '70.

* Paul Gay

Paul Gay became one of North Carolina's most successful head football coaches and athletic administrators, primarily at Sanford Central High School (now Lee Senior).

Gay came to Sanford in 1960 and from then until 1985, when he stepped down, his teams compiled a brilliant 177-75-10 record. That run included eight conference championships, one state title (in 1973, when he was Associated Press Coach of the Year in the state) and one runner-up finish, along with three Eastern titles when there was no state final.

Gay served 24 years as AD in Sanford and was a member of the NCADA Board of Directors in 1975-76.

He was head coach of the North Carolina Shrine Bowl team in 1977 and also coached in the East-West all-star game in Greensboro. Gay was the first North Carolinian to be chosen as president of the National Federation Interscholastic Coaches Association.

A great athlete at Charles Coon High in Wilson, Gay also earned all-state honors at East Carolina in football. He was inducted into the North Carolina High School Athletic Association Hall of Fame in 1996 and is also a member of the East Carolina University and the North Carolina Sports Halls of Fame.

* Joel Long

Joel Long had a distinguished career in athletic administration, primarily in Wake County.

A graduate of East Carolina, where he played baseball, Joel also spent three years in the St. Louis Cardinal organization playing minor league baseball.

His first high school coaching stint was at Cary, and then he went to Broughton High School from 1963 to '71. He was athletic director there for three years.

He went to the Raleigh Public Schools central office in 1971, which became the merged Wake County system starting in 1976 and stayed there until his retirement in 1995. For 13 years he served as the director of athletics and driver education for Wake County.

Joel was the NCHSAA Region 3 Athletic Director of the Year in 1991 and was inducted into the Broughton High School Athletics Hall of Fame in 2004.

Broughton has established the Joel Long Award, given annually to a male and female senior athlete to recognize character, leadership and sportsmanship.