Up & Coming Weekly

October 22, 2019

Up and Coming Weekly is a weekly publication in Fayetteville, NC and Fort Bragg, NC area offering local news, views, arts, entertainment and community event and business information.

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Page 28 of 36

WWW.UPANDCOMINGWEEKLY.COM 28 UCW OCTOBER 23-29, 2019 HIGH SCHOOL HIGHLIGHTS EARL VAUGHAN JR., Sports Editor. COMMENTS? EarlUCWSports@gmail. com. 910-364-6638. When veteran athletic administrator Fred McDaniel became the latest person with Fayetteville ties to be named to the North Carolina High School Athletic Association Hall of Fame, he had difficulty figuring what the fuss was about. "I don't know why you're doing this,'' he said after learning he was a member of the 2020 class of inductees that will be honored in April. "I'm just doing my job. I was doing what I was supposed to.'' In doing that job, McDaniel has become recog- nized in both Cumberland County and around the state of North Carolina as a hardworking profes- sional who helped raise the profile of the athletic director's job while also providing guidance and leadership to others in the position. A Fayetteville native, McDaniel is a graduate of old Central High School and what is now the University of North Carolina at Pembroke, earning a degree in health and physical education. He taught briefly at Red Springs High School before returning to Cumberland County to coach baseball, wrestling and football at Terry Sanford High School. He advanced to the administrative level in 1988 when he became athletic director and assistant principal at Westover High School. From there, he went to the same position at Cape Fear High School in 1994, then moved to the Cumberland County Schools central office as stu- dent activities director, were he remained until 1999 when he retired from full-time work. McDaniel played a key role for the North Carolina Athletic Directors Association, which earned him both state and national recognition. He received a citation award from the National Federation of State High School Associations in 2011 and was selected to the NCADA Hall of Fame in 2013. He's also a member of the Fayetteville Sports Club Hall of Fame. The NCHSAA honored him with its Dave Harris Award as the state's athletic director of the year. McDaniel gives credit for much of his success as an athletic administrator to three great athletic directors he worked with earlier in is career: Len Maness at Terry Sanford, John Daskal at Reid Ross and Terry Sanford and Bill Carver of E.E. Smith, also a former county student activities director. "These people helped me tremulously along the way and made me what I was,'' he said. "I want to give them credit too. Len Maness taught me more than I can imagine anybody could teach me about life and anything else. "They did it for me. They made me who I am.'' McDaniel said the most gratifying thing about his career were the memories of times former players came back to him and thanked him for the influence he had on their lives. "You don't see it right then,'' he said. "Down the road you see you had an influence, hopefully a positive influence.'' Another area where McDaniel has had a positive influence is teaching NCADA Leadership Training Institute courses for fellow athletic directors to help them better understand the nature of their job. McDaniel remembered when he was first hired as an athletic director he was given a set of keys and pointed toward the football field. "We've tried to make it easier for people so they know what to do better,'' he said. McDaniel still teaches LTI courses for the NCADA. "We want to make a better athletic program for the kids,'' McDaniel said. "It's all about the kids.'' McDaniel humbled by Hall of Fame selection by EARL VAUGHAN JR. To say the Gray's Creek Bears have dominated volleyball play in the Patriot Athletic Conference this season is an understatement. Through games of Tuesday, Oct. 15, the Bears are 21-0 over- all, 16-0 in the league, and have already clinched the regular- season title. To date, they've lost just three sets. Regardless of how they fare in the conference tournament, they are assured the No. 1 berth from the league in the upcoming state tournament. Early projections by WRAL-TV's High School OT have the Bears as the No. 2 seed in the Eastern bracket, although official state tournament pair- ings won't be out until all conference tournament play is over. Head coach Jalesty Washington clearly isn't sur- prised the Bears have done this well coming off a 17-5 record last year that saw them finish one game back of Cape Fear in the Patriot Athletic Conference standings. "I feel like they are mentally stronger this year,'' she said. "I only lost two seniors last year and they want it more than anybody this year.'' Washington thinks the key to success in volleyball is to have a strong defense, a smart setter and a solid front row to put the ball away. She also believes in keeping the ball moving and controlling the game. She credits much of the team's success this sea- son to her senior captains, Hailey Pait and Summer Powell. Pait plays the libero position while Powell is a defensive specialist. "Hailey is focused on passing and keeping the team straight,'' Washington said. "She tries to keep them together. She's a mature leader.'' Washington calls Powell the glue on the team. "She's the goofy one who keeps everybody laughing,'' Washington said. "She'll call you out and let you know you did something wrong and she'll let you know if you did something right. She's the vocal leader.'' The one thing Washington can't control is the quality of competition Gray's Creek faced during the regular season. Washington thinks her team has gotten good tests from teams like Union Pines, Scotland and Harnett Central along with con- ference rivals Terry Sanford and Cape Fear. "I always tell the girls, we haven't lost yet so there's no need to start now,'' Washington said. Pait and Powell are also anxious for a rematch with Conley. "I think we run everything faster and we have bet- ter energy,'' Pait said. "We don't get down as much. Even when we are down we come back, and it's a lot more fun this year.'' Powell said the Bears know how good they are this year and are anxious to make a much deeper run in the state playoffs. "I feel like we have a better chance,'' she said. "We have more drive this year. The farther we get in the playoffs, the better we'll play. We'll want it more because we'll be so close.'' Confident Bears ready for state volleyball playoffs by EARL VAUGHAN JR. From L-R: NCHSAA Commissioner Que Tucker takes a picture with Fred McDaniel and his Hall of Fame plaque. Jalesty Washington Hailey Pait Summer Powell

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