The latest news from the world of North Carolina high school football
The Passing of Legends
Celebrating 100 Years
End of the POD System
TWO LEGENDARY COACHES WERE LOST
THE 2013 CALENDAR MARKS THE 100TH
ADOPTED IN 2010 AS A WAY OF REDUCING
this spring with the passing of Jack Holley and
year of the North Carolina High School Ath-
travel expenses, the POD System was a sche-
Charles “Babe” Howell. Holley, who holds the
letic Association’s existence and 100 years
matic that grouped regional teams together in
record for most wins by a North Carolina high
of high School football being played competi-
the football playoff brackets instead of using
school football coach, died in May at the age of
tively in the state.
the traditional method of seeding based on
74. He won 412 games during his career with
It all began in 1913 when Raleigh High
most of them coming at Wallace-Rose Hill High
School defeated Washington High School 29-0
This highly criticized process drew the ire
School. He retired from coaching after winning
for the first state championship. The sport has
of coaches and fans alike, and often affected
a state title at Harrells Christian Academy in the
now grown into a high profile, high revenue-
the integrity of the playoffs by creating “Super
Independent Schools Athletic Association.
generating business that draws thousands of
Pods” that resulted in blockbuster matchups
Howell also died in May, at the age of 84. A
spectators annually and regularly attracts the
during the early rounds of the playoffs instead
World War II veteran, Howell won 301 football
interest of the local and national media.
of the later rounds.
games, mostly at Sylva-Webster High School.
Many facets of the game have changed over
When the North Carolina High School Athletic
He also won 628 games in baseball. When How-
the course of 100 years; the size of the players,
Association Board of Directors voted to abolish
ell retired in 1997, he was the winningest high
the complexity of the offensive and defensive
the POD System in November, a collective sigh
school football and baseball coach in North
systems, and the media interest, but the excite-
of relief was heard across the state.
Carolina history. Howell was an adventurous
ment and enthusiasm that surrounds the game
The NCHSAA stated that about 8,000 miles
man who enjoyed many activities but excelled
has remained the same and high school football
of travel were saved because of the POD Sys-
at coaching, a profession in which he spent 44
in North Carolina continues to grow and expand.
tem, but many coaches felt the system created
years. He won five state championships as a
Over the course of the last century, North
an easier road for some teams to advance while
head football coach and two in baseball, and
Carolina has established itself as one of the top
it hindered others.
has been inducted into eleven Halls of Fame in
college-prospect producing states and contin-
North Carolina and Georgia, including the North
ues to send a large number of players to college
Carolina Sports Hall of Fame.
and professional rosters across the nation.
To honor the 100th anniversary, the NCHSAA
IT HAPPENS EVERY FOUR YEARS – NORTH
Carolina High School Athletic Association con-
ference realignment. It’s the highly debated
and observed process where the association
places each member school into a conference
has events scheduled throughout the year and
has published a collectible book to commemo-
rate the anniversary. The NCHSAA has adopted
the slogan, “Honoring the Past, Embracing the
Present, and Shaping the Future” as it marches
forward into its second century.
AROUND THE STATE
Carrboro Sheds Underdog Label
SEVEN YEARS AGO THERE WAS NO CARR-
boro High School football program. But today – after
some very difficult growing pains – Carrboro is a
Coach Jason Tudryn oversaw the program’s cre-
based on location and average daily attendance
figures submitted to the association.
For the first time, the NCHSAA used an
outside company (SAS) to provide a computer generated model of the realignment
before applying the human element to make
changes and come up with the final product.
The NCHSAA forms a realignment committee each cycle to run the process and
the new realignment is voted on and approved by the NCHSAA Board of Directors.
Several conferences were greatly affected by the realignment, and even more
will have a completely new cast of schools.
In each realignment process, the NCHSAA leaders do their absolute best to
eliminate split classification conferences
and conferences with a wide geographical
footprint to help minimize travel costs.
In related news, the NCHSAA Board of
ation in 2007 and has transformed the Jaguars from
Directors voted to expand the regular sea-
son schedule back to 12 weeks from 11.
The added week will give schools greater
leeway in scheduling non-conference
games and provides the opportunity to
play an 11-game schedule while still enjoy-
ing a bye-week. 10 FRIDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL NORTH CAROLINA 2013
a team that suffered through several 70-plus-point
shutouts and one-win seasons to last year’s state
“It started with a group of kids that didn’t have a
lot of football experience,” Tudryn said. “Orange
County [N.C.] hasn’t traditionally been a football
hotbed, so we didn’t really come into a culture that
But dedication, hard work and a tight-knit locker
room helped the Jaguars steadily improve from
6-28 in their first three seasons, to 33-9 in their last
three. And that success came despite somewhat
“Our roster size is almost identical to the first
practice of the first day,” said Tudryn. “We’ve never broken 50 players. We had 26 guys on our varsity
last year and we had 20 guys on our JV. And going
into next season, it’ll be something similar to that.”
That relatively small group is led by an experienced senior class that holds a unique place in the
program’s history: It is the only class to enjoy success every single season.
“The classes prior to that had suffered through
some serious losses, some lean times,” Tudryn noted.
To continue their winning tradition those se-
niors – and the rest of the roster – must understand
they are no longer the scrappy underdog.