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‘Coach’ was more than that

Bertie County lost a local hero with the passing of Roy Bond. As a former player, I have long respected Coach Bond for his knowledge and love for Bertie football.

It wasn’t until I roamed the sidelines as a reporter that I truly appreciated the impact Coach had on not only his players, but the community around him.

His success as a football coach is unquestionable.

The 12-year veteran compiled a 101-35 record en route to a pair of 3-A State Championships along with six conference titles before retiring four years ago.

His success on the gridiron and that of his players has long been a source of pride in Bertie County. What struck me about him, however wasn’t just the success he had, but the manner with which he earned it.

Those students lucky enough to have been taught during Bond’s 30-year tenure as a teacher would probably describe him as a quiet man. Those that called him Coach knew better.

His passion for the game of football and his insistence that it be played “the right way” earned him the respect of his players, assistants and peers.

There’s a reason the last two men to take the football helm in Windsor came from within his staff. He was after all “one of the greatest coaches in the history of North Carolina.” Those aren’t my words mind you, those were the words of former Hertford County High School skipper Dealton Cotton on the eve of what would be Coach Bond’s last regular season game.

That another coach would give him such accolades says a lot of Roy Bond’s success coaching football. The fact that it came from the head coach of his beloved Falcon’s biggest rival is a testament to the respect he earned by doing it “the right way.”

David Friedman is a special analyst for the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald. He can be reached via email at sports@r-cnews.com.