North Carolina Softball Hall of Fame
Through their years of dedication to the games of fastpitch or slowpitch, these individuals have all made significant impact on high school softball in North Carolina as well as on the many players they have been involved with directly, or indirectly. In their own ways, they have contributed greatly to the growth and evolution of the game that we enjoy today. The North Carolina Softball Hall of Fame hereby bestows the recognition they deserve.
South Stanly High School
> Record (thru 2022) 329-118
> 2 state championships
> 1 state runner-up
> 3 Western Regional championships
> 1 Western Regional runner-up
> 4 Final Four appearances
> 10 conference championships
Taking over South Stanly’s softball program in 2005, Coach Poplin began his tenure as a teacher, mentor, and head softball coach that continues today. Over the years, he has created a notable presence in the world of high school softball in North Carolina.
Despite his school being very small in terms of student enrollment, his 1A program has become one that is never taken lightly by opponents. In fact, teams in all classifications who want to challenge their players with quality opponents, seek to include South Stanly in their schedules. Opponents who travel to South Stanly know they can count on facing great competition at an excellent facility.
Coach Poplin is highly skilled not only at game tactics and reading his opponents, but also teaching his players the nuances of the game and leading them to perform at the highest level possible. Many of his players have gone on to play at the collegiate level. Indeed, college coaches likely keep South Stanly on their radars as a dependable source for quality players.
In 2022, Coach Poplin led his team to the best record in the history of South Stanly softball finishing as state champions at 30-3 for the season while facing one of the strongest schedules in the state (quantified by Max Prep ratings) regardless of classification. This is quite notable because in high school softball in North Carolina, 30-win seasons are extremely elusive, having been achieved over the years by only a tiny handful of coaches.
Middle Creek High School
Coach Wray joined Middle Creek’s softball staff during the new school’s first year, working to help build the program from the ground up, then taking over as head coach two years later in 2005. That year, his team bagged the school’s first championship in any sport when they took first place in their conference tournament. Three years later his 2008 team made the program’s first final four appearance, finishing as North Carolina’s 4A Eastern Regional runner-up in a tradition of success that has seen every one of his teams become state playoff qualifiers. He notched his second final four appearance in 2014 as his team again finished as Eastern N. C.’s 4A runner-up.
Coach Wray has also made a big impact beyond his own softball program. Through the years over 90% of his players have achieved academic all-conference honors, a feat greatly influenced by his skill as a mentor and role model. While some of his players have gone on to achieve success as players at the collegiate level, all are now building on their softball experience and demonstrating their worth as successful citizens.
His positive impact has also been felt by North Carolina’s entire softball community through sixteen years of energetic participation in the North Carolina Softball Coaches Association. During that time, he served as the organization’s president, and was a strong motivator in advancing the quality of NCSCA’s programs as well as working to improve the organization’s partnership with North Carolina Amateur Sports and the annual State Games High School Softball Showcase tournament.
Coach Wray was inducted into Middle Creek High School’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 2013 for the contribution he has made to Middle Creek athletics through his excellence as a teacher, softball coach, and golf coach. Today, as Middle Creek’s athletic director, he continues to have positive impact on every aspect of the school’s students and athletic program.
Myers Park, West Stanly, Andrew Jackson (S.C.)
> 34 years as a head coach
> 529 career wins (ranks third on the all-time win list)
> 12 conference championships; 12 conference tournament championships
> 12 times conference Coach of the Year
> 5 final eight appearances; 5 final four appearances
> 2-time state runner-up
> 2013 State Champion
> 2011 recipient Homer Thompson Memorial Award
> 3 district championships, 1 lower state championship, 1 state runner-up
Coach Kidd has had many accolades in Softball, not to mention his time as a football and girls basketball coach. But all these awards are just a drop in the bucket compared to the influence he has been to his players, school, and community. He has been an outstanding mentor, colleague, and fierce competitor on the field. His teams have always been well prepared, having been taught by one who knows the right way to play. He has always been quick to compliment the play and work ethic of his opponents. He is a true gentleman in our game that anyone can learn from in just a few minutes of talking with him.
Graham High School
> Teacher at Graham High School for 34 years
> Athletic Director for 26 years
> Coached JV and Varsity Basketball for many years
> As of 2019, has coached Softball for 34 years at Graham High School
> Worked as assistant coach at Southern Alamance for four years.
During his many years of coaching, Mike (“Coach Willie”) has won over 420 games and has been ranked in the top 5 in the state of coaches with most games won. In 2015, he was an assistant coach in the North Carolina East/ West Basketball all-star game. He has served numerous times coaching in the North Carolina Powerade State Games all-star softball event, winning gold twice.
Mike has proven himself to be a great asset to high school softball in North Carolina through his long-time involvement in the NCSCA. He is a great advocate for not only his own players at Graham, but for all players throughout his region.
East Wilkes High School / East Surry High School
> Softball Coach 1999-2013 East Surry; 2016-present East Wilkes
> Record (thru 2022): 405-118 (304-66 at East Surry)
> 5 state championships
> 1 state runner-up
> 5 regional titles
> 8 sectional titles
> 8 conference titles
> 9 conference tournament titles
> 7 time conference Coach of the Year
> The only North Carolina high school softball coach to win 4 consecutive state championships
> Member of Surry County Sports Hall of Fame
Derrick’s philosophy, “success is determined by how well the girls do AFTER they leave”, is part of what has made him outstanding as a teacher, mentor, and coach. Through his skillful approach during their impressionable years, his students and players typically achieve much success in their later endeavors. Former players have gone on to play softball at the college level at rates seldom seen from small rural high schools such as his.
Derrick’s involvement with softball in North Carolina has not been limited to his own program. A founding member of the North Carolina Softball Coaches Association, Derrick served as District 7 chairperson during the organization’s early growth and was instrumental in establishing strong support for softball from coaches throughout his region.
Derrick volunteered his assistance during the establishment of the first State Games showcase competition for North Carolina high school softball, serving as Region 7 underclassman and seniors coach during the first four years of that event.
Miranda Ervin Rodriguez Shaina Ervin Dabbs
Hopewell High School / NC State University / College Coaches (various) / T2 Softball Training
> Co-Owner of T2 Softball Training, Burlington, NC
> Drexel University, Head Coach
> Carolina Diamonds NPF League, Assistant Coach
> Queens University, Head Coach
> Team Fiorini Professional Softball (Italy), Player and Assistant Coach
> Co-Owner of T2 Softball Training, Burlington, NC
> Georgia Tech, Assistant Coach
> University of Tennessee-Chattanooga, Assistant Coach
> UNC-Greensboro, Assistant Coach
The Ervin twins began their long dedication to softball as a very successful pitcher/catcher battery at North Mecklenburg High School. Moving as juniors to the new Hopewell High School they led the school’s first softball team to back-to-back North Carolina state championships. Joining NC State University’s inaugural softball team, they had a dramatic impact on the new program as they were key in propelling the Wolfpack to its first ACC championship by year three.
After stellar careers as players, Miranda and Shaina devoted their talents to coaching, serving on a variety of staffs at the college level. Today, they have joined forces and created their T2 Softball Training facility and program. T2 Softball, located in Burlington NC, supplies a much needed resource available to aspiring young softball players.
Central Davidson High School
• Softball coach: 2000-2011
• Record: 273-65
• Six consecutive final four appearances
• 3 time state champion
• 2 time state runner-up
• 7 conference championships
• 2008 team finished ranked 5th in the nation
• Was voted Conference Coach of the Year 7 times
• Member of Davidson County Sports Hall of Fame
Few coaches have had such an impact on a school’s softball program in so short a time. After taking over the Central Davidson program in 2000, Coach Poindexter was able to convert what had been an average program into a conference winner by his third season and a state contender by his fifth season. In 2008 his team was one of only two North Carolina high schools to be recognized nationally in fastpitch softball by USA Today/National Fastpitch Coaches Association polling. He has had numerous players go on to be successful college players. At one time or another during his thirty year teaching career, he also coached football, basketball, baseball, and cross country, as well as serving as the school’s athletic director.
In 2013, Gene joined a small group of unique and highly honored individuals in his community when he was inducted into the Davidson County Sports Hall of Fame.
A founding member of the NCSCA, Gene served as its first District 5 chairperson and played a key part in the creation of the first All-State selection process in North Carolina for fastpitch softball. He was the Region 5 and Seniors State Games head coach during the Powerade State Games’ first two years of high school all-star competition.
Chatham Central High School
• Schools: Burlington Cummings, Chatham Central, River Mill Academy, Northeast Guilford
• Years with schools: Cummings 1987-1993; Chatham Central 2003-2013; River Mill 2014-2018; Northeast Guilford 2019-2021
• Record: Chatham Central 155-51
• NCSCA Member and officer since 2005
• NCSCA President 2013-2017
• Seven time medal winner as a head State Games Softball Coach
Mike has been a moving force in the athletic programs of the three high schools where he has taught and coached during his 33 year career. His time at Burlington Cummings involved him as an assistant coach in three state championship teams. Then, moving to Chatham Central, he guided the Bears’ softball program to being a competitive force in their conference including two conference championships and numerous state playoff appearances.
After retiring from Chatham Central, Mike took up the challenge once again and went to work rebuilding the softball program at River Mill Academy until he retired in 2018.
Since the association’s early days, Mike has been an enthusiastic supporter of NCSCA. He recognized early on, that not only does North Carolina high school softball need coaches to sign up and be members, but it also needs members who are willing to roll up their sleeves and jump in to physically help run things. His involvement with the association has included serving as its secretary, then as its president during a time of change and increase in membership. North Carolina high school softball has benefited greatly through his willingness and ability to work as the association’s spokesperson with both North Carolina Amateur Sports’ State Games and the North Carolina High School Athletic Association.
Assistant Softball Coach, Central Davidson High School 2001-present
Coach Welborn has been an important part of the North Carolina Softball Coaches Association since he joined as a founding member in 2004. He has been instrumental in the development of the processes that give the organization its ability to consistently carryout its affairs. He continues to be heavily involved in the behind-the-scenes work that takes place but is rarely publicly apparent.
As a member of the Central Davidson high school softball staff, Jim has been a cornerstone of the continued development of their fastpitch program. Since 2001, Central Davidson softball developed rapidly into a powerhouse that has included three state championships and seven final four appearances, as well as winning numerous conference championships. He is a key part of a coaching staff that over the years has developed numerous outstanding players, including several who have been very successful at the college level.
Billy “Chief” Gerald
Pitching Coach, North Davidson High School 1996-2019
Founder, San Bill Softball Pitching Academy
During his notable career in the United States Air Force, Chief Gerald participated in military fastpitch softball leagues as much as his spare time would allow. During that time he learned the art of pitching. After retirement from active duty in 1996, he took a job as ROTC instructor at North Davidson High School. It wasn’t long before he was drawn to North Davidson’s softball diamond where he began to help out with training the school’s pitchers. His military experience, personality, and knowledge of pitching rapidly lead him to become an excellent instructor.
Chief Gerald’s love of the game and his desire to teach young people have motivated him to utilize every opportunity to further understand the mechanics of pitching and advance his teaching skills. He has attended countless clinics and developed important contacts throughout the world of fastpitch. Today, he is recognized as one of foremost pitching instructors in the United States. His former students include some of the most well-known and most successful high school pitchers that North Carolina has produced. One can find his current students in starting positions on many high school and middle school teams in the central North Carolina region.
Chief Gerald’s efforts at and beyond North Davidson High School have played a very important role in the growth and success of fastpitch softball in North Carolina.
Buck and Judy O’Shields
Concerned parents who aggressively pressed for the major changes that led to the switch
from slowpitch to fastpitch in North Carolina high school athletics.
• Years of Service: 1989-present
• Residence: Wilmington, NC
Buck and Judy were the driving force behind the inception of an organization known as the North Carolina High School Girls Fastpitch Softball Association. Against formidable odds their group began, fought, and won the battle to bring women’s fastpitch softball to high school athletics in the state of North Carolina.
By 1989, North Carolina was one of only two or three states that at the high school level, still played slowpitch softball rather than fastpitch. Colleges all played fastpitch, meaning the opportunity for North Carolina’s young women to win scholarships to play college softball essentially did not exist. So Buck and Judy began writing letters and organizing meetings to initiate change.
In the early 1990’s, they presented numerous requests with sound justification to the softball rules committee of the North Carolina High School Athletic Association in the face of courteous indifference from the administrators in charge at that time. During 1991-1993 they wrote countless letters and succeeded in getting numerous high school and college coaches involved in their effort. Still the authorities showed no desire to make changes.
In early 1994 they made an appeal to the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights to enlist help under Title IX. In the fall of 1994, fastpitch softball began as an option along with slowpitch in North Carolina high schools. In 1996, NCHSAA eliminated slowpitch in favor of fastpitch.
Today, high school fastpitch in North Carolina has advanced to the forefront of softball as a national sport. Our athletes play the game as skillfully as any in the nation. Thanks to something that Buck and Judy started and pursued with persistence, North Carolina women have the opportunity to compete and can be found on the rosters of college softball teams all across the southeast and the nation.
Central Cabarrus High School 1999-2002 (player)
• University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill 2003-2006 (player)
• Set numerous state records during her high school career, many of which have not been surpassed as of 2018
• Career strikeouts: 1455
• Career innings pitched: 747.2
• Career perfect games: 17
• Career no hitters: 37
• Season shutouts: 26
• Pitched 8 perfect games her senior year, a state and national record at the time
Two decades after her high school career ended, her name remains at or near the top in more than a dozen categories in the North Carolina High School Softball Record Book. To have achieved this level of skill at a time when high school fastpitch in North Carolina was still in its infancy is quite remarkable. Crystal’s achievements during her playing career continue to be a set of goals every young pitcher in North Carolina strives to attain. While a tiny handful have reached this elite level, the vast majority have not.
South Granville High School
• 46 years of coaching
• Softball record: 463-36
• 7 state titles
• 19 conference championships
• 178 consecutive wins
• Served on softball coaches advisory committee
• Won 415 games in Men’s basketball
Bunn High School 1980-2004
• Career Record: 322-190
• Four conference championships- 1980, 1981, 1996, 2000
• 1996 team finished 3rd in state playoffs.
• Has coached numerous college signees
• Teams appeared in state playoffs 17 out of 25 years
• Well respected and outstanding ambassador for North Carolina high school softball
Frederick “Chip” Adams
Ashley High School
• Laney High 1994 – 2001 Record of 144 – 21
• Ashley High 2002 – Present(updated and still active 2017) Record of 255-135
• Combined Record of (2017) 399-156
• 8 Conference Championships
• 15 State Playoff Appearances
• 5 Final Four Appearances
• 2 State Runners-up
• 2 State Championships
• Founding member of NCSCA
Over the years, Chip has been a teacher of the game to both players and coaches. He brings a maturity to the game that is greatly needed for the success of softball in the state of North Carolina. The one thing that cannot be overlooked is how much the players respect and love having him as a coach. His ability to have two way communication with his players extends beyond softball… this is the most important character strength of all.
North Johnston High School
• Mattamuskeet High School 1973-1978; 1981-1984
• North Johnston High School 1984 – 2014
• Combined record of 387 – 264
• 12 Conference Titles since 1997 in 1A and 2A
• 7 Appearances in Final 8
• 2 Appearances in Final 4
• State Runner-up 2005 and 2009
• Founding member of NCSCA
George, an exemplary coach, teacher and person, has the respect and love of his former players, and the respect and admiration of coaches he has mentored and competed against. George is an ambassador for the game of softball and strives to improve his and others experience in the game.
Triton High School
• Coats High School- 10 years 181 – 43
• Triton High School- 5 Years 87 – 21
• Combined Record- 268 – 64
• 11 Conference Championships
• 12 State Playoff Appearances
Dan Honeycutt dedicated his career to help the children of Harnett County receive the best education possible. Mr. Honeycutt was instrumental in starting girl’s softball in the Carolina 1-A Conference in 1974. He started the softball program at Coats and Triton High School. It is certain that the game of softball in Harnett County and North Carolina are better because of the contributions of Dan Honeycutt.
North Davidson High School
• Years with School: 1978 – 2017
• Softball record: 878-110 (North Carolina’s all-time winningest coach)
• NFCA #1 National Ranking – 2010
• North Carolina state softball champions – 2010, 2017
• Numerous state finals appearances
• 32 conference championships
• Has been involved in sending many players to the next level including players he never coached.
• Started and operated the popular North Davidson Softball Camp for over 20 years. The camp attracted young players ages 5 and up from all over the region.
• Also coached wrestling (14 yrs.), football (10 yrs.), and track (2 yrs.).
• Founding member of NCSCA
Mike was the head softball coach at North Davidson High School from 1978 – 2017. His tenure with the softball program was one of tremendous success with numerous conference championships in addition to his frequent final four appearances at the state level. He was an ambassador for the game of softball in North Carolina and throughout the United States, developing extensive contacts nationwide through his active involvement in both NCSCA and NFCA. Mike was a founding member of NCSCA and was a tremendous motivator in the organization from its founding in 2004 until his untimely passing in 2017. He played a major role in developing NCSCA’s partnership with North Carolina Amateur Sports in order to bring about the State Games post season showcase competition for high school softball in North Carolina.
South View High School
• Years with school: 25
• Record with school: 538-144
• Fastpitch 266-69
• 18 conference championships
• 23 state playoff appearances
• 11 Elite 8 trips
• 7 Final 4 trips
• 4 Eastern Regional championships
• 1 state title
• 35 former players played in college, with numerous becoming college or high school coaches.
Eddie was the softball coach at South View High School for many years. His success as coach was well documented on the field. His impact and relationships with his players has been just as impressive.
Chatham Central High School
• Years with school: 1977 – present
• 1977-1999 with softball
• Record: 388-136
• Twelve conference championships
• 1987 state runner-up
Gerald has been at Chatham Central since 1977. He was the softball coach from 1977 until 1999. The gymnasium at Chatham Central was named after him. He is greatly respected by past players and opponents.
Eddie “Pop” Rivers
Forest Hills High School
• Years with School: 1984 – 2014
• Record with School: 388 – 290
• Three Rocky River Conference titles
• One Old Hickory Conference title
• Conference Coach of the Year 5 times
• Union County Coach of the Year 6 times
• 19 players sent to the next level
• Played in 3A championship tournament in 1995
• Founding member of NCSCA and served as its president from 2004 until 2010.
• Current Chairman of the Board of Directors of NCSCA
• Worked to establish an annual coaches clinic for NCSCA
• Worked to establish All-District awards and reestablish All-State awards for North Carolina softball
• Member of All-State selection committee
• Worked to establish the first NCSCA website and coaches poll
• Worked with North Carolina Amateur Sports to bring an all-star game to high school softball
• Assistant coach Region 6 State Games- 2008
• Head coach Region 6 State Games- 2009 (Bronze Medal)
• Assistant coach West All-Star Team- 2010
Eddie “Pop” Rivers was a major driving force behind the establishment of the North Carolina Softball Coaches Association. As the President of the organization from October 2004 to 2010, he has helped create an organization that has been an advocate for young women playing softball in and around North Carolina. Pop was instrumental in getting the State Games to include softball in their annual event, which allows countless girls an opportunity never before given to them. Because of Pop’s tireless efforts, NCSCA has been able to give North Carolina high school softball coaches and players a voice recognized throughout the state that helps promote their safety and best interests.
In addition to that work, Eddie headed a successful softball program at Forest Hills High School from 1984 until he retired in 2014.
Alexander Central High School/Central Cabarrus High School
• Schools: Central Cabarrus/Alexander Central
• Years with schools: 1987 – 2015
• Record with both schools: 753 – 60
• Alexander Central – 634-57
• Central Cabarrus – 119-3
• NFCA #1 national ranking in 2014
• 10 4-A state titles
• 26 conference championships
• 3 state runners-up
• 46+ players offered college scholarships
• Coached 10 state MVP’s, 24 conference players of the year, and 28 All-Americans
• 2005 & 2014 NFCA National High School Coach of the Year
• Was the only North Carolina high school coach to win state titles at two schools
• Founding member of NCSCA
Monte has guided two high schools to phenomenal success with tremendous impact on the young ladies he has coached. He has been an ambassador for the game of softball in North Carolina and the nation. Monte has been selected to speak at numerous clinics for coaches and players. He has been tireless in developing young talent. He ended his high school coaching career in 2015 when he accepted the position of head coach at his alma mater Pfeiffer College.