‘Legendary’ request

Published 4:19 pm Sunday, July 27, 2014

AHOSKIE – One of the biggest efforts to date to honor two men who meant so much to local prep athletics isn’t coming from Hertford County, but rather 1,313 miles away.

And that plea is coming from one of Ahoskie High School’s most well-known athletes.

Timmy Newsome, a 1976 graduate of Ahoskie High School who went on to play professionally with the Dallas Cowboys, is urging the Hertford County Board of Education to respectively name the football and baseball stadiums at Hertford County High School in memory of the late Daryl Allen and the late Richard Murray.

Newsome made his suggestion in form of a letter sent July 22 to the members of the county’s School Board. A copy of that letter was emailed by Newsome to the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald.

As noted in the letter, Newsome – an All-American football player for all historically black colleges and universities and voted the Collegiate Player of the Year by the Pittsburgh Courier while a member of the Winston-Salem State University football squad – said none of those accolades would have fell his way without, “the guidance, persistence and counsel of coaches Allen and Murray.”

Allen, who died Jan. 15, was a coaching legend. His Ahoskie/Hertford County teams won seven outright conference championships, and participated in nearly 40 state play-off games, to include winning four EasternState titles (1974, 1979 and 1986 at Ahoskie High and 1988 at HCHS). His teams won 306 football games while he orchestrated from the sidelines. That ranks sixth all-time in the state of North Carolina for wins by a high school football coach.

Three and one-half months after Allen’s passing, the local athletic community was in mourning again when Murray died May 1 in his Ahoskie home. The former pro baseball standout served as Athletic Director and baseball coach at Ahoskie High and HCHS, combining for 38 years in offering his gentle spirit and keen wisdom to young athletes. After retiring from Hertford County Public Schools, Murray served as a teacher and coach at Ridgecroft School for four years.

“Two of the most influential coaches during my formative years (have) passed away,” Newsome wrote in his letter.

Newsome, who remains in Dallas where he owns and operates Newtec Business Solutions, praised both men for the impact they had on his life as well as countless other student-athletes.

“During Coach Allen’s memorial service as I sat motionless and stunned at his passing, Dr. Rodney Sessoms (a former Ahoskie High football player) recalled the early days of school integration and how Coach Allen provided calm using sports as a metaphor for life,” Newsome said.

Newsome said Coach Murray, “took a practical approach to the merging of the two high schools (Ahoskie and Murfreesboro in 1988).”

“One of his (Murray’s) former colleagues, Mr. Leonard Deloatch, said it best, ‘Coach Murray was a good man; he handled the merging of our schools better than anyone’,” Newsome’s letter stated.

Newsome’s letter to the School Board was accompanied by a bio he crafted for Allen and Murray. In it he said, referencing Allen, “It was not just about coaching football, but about working with the young men that made up his teams. These young men were his second family. He taught them about self discipline, respect for others and how to reach for goals. He taught them how to win and lose gracefully.”

Speaking about Coach Murray, Newsome remarked, “He worked tirelessly to secure many of the amenities for the sports complex at Hertford County / Ahoskie High School and was pleased as the facilities improved each year. Most of all he took pleasure in the success of his students and he remained friends with them over the years. He was a giant of a man and the best father and husband a man could be. He was a great Christian man whose witness brought many others to Christ, which was his most important job of all.”

Newsome said the naming of any educational structure should never be taken lightly.

“But I believe the community would welcome these names (Allen and Murray). I am asking the Hertford County Board of Education to seriously consider, and with all deliberate speed, the naming of the football and baseball stadiums after coaches Allen and Murray respectively. Or should the Board decide, place the names of both coaches on the football stadium,” Newsome concluded.

Newsome played nine seasons (1980-88) with the Dallas Cowboys and spent most of his career as the blocking fullback for the likes of Tony Dorsett and Herschel Walker. He finished his pro career with 1,226 rushing yards and 19 touchdowns along with 1,966 receiving yards and 11 TD’s.

At Winston-SalemState, Newsome stands as the second leading rusher in school history with 3,843 yards. He played on two undefeated teams (1977 and ’78) and was inducted into the CIAA Hall of Fame in 1993.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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