Winslow supports athletics

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 25, 2005

AHOSKIE – A friendly face.

That’s what Ridgecroft School Headmaster Elton Winslow has become to the athletes at his school.

Wherever they are – a volleyball court at Terra Ceia Christian School or a soccer court at Ridgecroft – the student-athletes who suit up for the Rams can count on seeing Winslow there.

&uot;He has been a big asset to me,&uot; Ridgecroft Athletic Director Doug Cobbs said. &uot;He helped me this year when I couldn’t travel and he supports all of our teams religiously.

&uot;He’s the type of guy who’s going to be there if he can,&uot; he added. &uot;He’s going to be there for our kids if at all possible.&uot;

During the 2004-05 basketball season, Ridgecroft was left without a varsity boy’s basketball coach. Winslow, a former coach, stepped in to direct the team for the season.

Just weeks into the season Cobbs was forced away from the sidelines for back surgery. Winslow was left to step into the interim role for Cobbs, directing the basketball fortunes of the girl’s varsity and junior varsity teams while their coach recuperated from surgery.

And while sometimes Winslow’s guidance to student-athletes was as direct as coaching, other times it came in a different way.

&uot;Becky (Johnson) and I always go to him if we have problems,&uot; RHS women’s soccer coach Beth Bryant said. &uot;He was a counselor for us.&uot;

While he counseled and coached, it was his supportive presence that meant so much to many of the coaches.

&uot;The girls all look up to him,&uot; Bryant insisted. &uot;They seem to play harder when he’s there. Elton is just a good guy.&uot;

Volleyball coach Nancy Brittenham said Winslow was always trying to support her team as well as the men’s soccer team at the school.

&uot;He’s been very supportive,&uot; she said. &uot;He attends as many of the matches and games as he can. It’s difficult when there is a volleyball match and soccer match at the same time, but he always did his best to support us all.&uot;

Brittenham said that support was important to the students at Ridgecroft.

&uot;I think it’s really important,&uot; Brittenham said. &uot;Having him at games helps them realize he’s supporting them. It makes a big difference knowing their administrator is there and that he’s behind them.&uot;

While athletics has been a key area for Winslow, it is by no means the focal point of his job as the school’s headmaster.

Ridgecroft Board of Director Chairman Joe Murray said he was pleased with the overall direction Winslow had provided for the school.

&uot;The situation Elton inherited was probably not the best one he could have walked into,&uot; Murray admitted. &uot;He has us in a situation now where we are on solid ground financially, we’re headed in the right direction instructionally and you can tell how much he cares about children.

&uot;The reason you see Elton at games is because he cares about the students,&uot; Murray said. &uot;Nobody says he has to be at Terra Ceia on a Friday night, but he’s there.&uot;

Murray said he believed while Winslow had been a coach and an athletic director, his love for sports wasn’t the only reason he was supportive of the athletic program.

&uot;He realizes athletics is a big part – not the focal point nor the most important – but it is a big part of what students can learn at a school,&uot; Murray said. &uot;He wants them to get the best education possible in the classroom and in any other endeavor, including athletics, that they choose to participate in at Ridgecroft.&uot;

Winslow’s backing of athletics at the school made Mike Bryant’s job easier. Bryant serves the school as President of the Rams’ Club and said he appreciated all Winslow did for the school’s athletic program.

&uot;Since the day he came here, Elton Winslow has been a fixture at our athletic events,&uot; Bryant said. &uot;While he has focused on improvement in our academic programs, he has also helped greatly with the success of our athletic teams.

&uot;Because of his work and that of Coach Cobbs, we have had more success in the past few years than we have in a while,&uot; Bryant said. &uot;With their work, the work of the athletic booster club members and the support of our community, we’ll continue to make Ridgecroft an excellent place for students academically, athletically and socially.&uot;

(The Thomas Gregory Award is presented annually by the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald to recognize excellence in the support of athletics by an administrator in the Roanoke-Chowan area. It is named in honor of Gregory who served as Headmaster at Lawrence Academy. During his tenure in that post, Gregory not only supported his teams, but remained on the coaching staff for much of his tenure. His tireless support of athletics set the standard by which all other administrators in this area are judged.)