Rejected….not dejected

Published 9:50 am Tuesday, September 16, 2014

DALLAS, TX – Throughout his career as a high school, college and professional football player, Timmy Newsome learned an extremely important lesson…quitters never win; winners never quit.

Despite a setback in his quest to honor two local men he feels played an important role in his life as well as countless others, Newsome continues to lobby the Hertford County Board of Education to have the football field and baseball field at Hertford County High School named in memory of the late Daryl Allen and the late Richard Murray respectively.

Newsome made his suggestion in form of a letter sent July 22 to the members of the county’s School Board. 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 before enjoying a standout pro career with the Dallas Cowboys – said none of those accolades would have fell his way without, “the guidance, persistence and counsel of coaches Allen and Murray.”

However, the local School Board is standing firm behind a policy that does not allow for public school buildings to bear the name of individuals, living or dead.

“This policy has been inception since the two major communities of Hertford County, Ahoskie and Murfreesboro, merged into the Hertford CountyPublic School system,” stated School Board Chairwoman Shelia Porter in a letter sent to Newsome on Aug. 4. “This policy has assisted in forging the identity of all students as Hertford County Public School students.

“Secondly, the Board must always take the view of what is equitable and fair to all citizens, including businesses and individuals,” Porter’s letter continued. “A very public process was used to get the entire community engaged in forming an identity. These factors must be considered in your request. Currently, the county embraces being known as the “Bears” of Hertford County.”

Porter and the School Board agreed with Newsome that Allen and Murray, “devoted their lives to coaching and were positive influences for our students and the Hertford County Public School System. We also agree with you that they are deserving of being honored,” Porter noted in the letter.

The letter continued, “Our county suffered a great loss with the passing of Coach Allen and Coach Murray. We will use your request as an impetus to find a way to wisely, thoughtfully, and appropriately honor individuals without negatively impacting the cohesion and identity that has come with the county engagement in Hertford County Public Schools.”

Contacted by this newspaper, Newsome said he will continue to move forward with his effort to have the two athletic fields at HCHS bear the names of Allen and Murray.

“In response to the rejection letter we’ve decided to assemble as much public support as we can through a petition,” Newsome said. “I am of the opinion that with this support the board will have a better idea as to how to proceed. A change in board policy with respect to naming is a mere formality if there’s enough public support.”

The online petition can be found at

As of Sept. 15, 408 individuals have signed the petition. Each signature is forwarded to Porter’s email address with Hertford County Public Schools.

Due to the fact that many Hertford County citizens, as well as others, may not have Internet access, Newsome told the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald that he is now working to develop a “hard copy” petition that can be passed around.

“We hope you will consider signing either the online petition or the hard copy petition that will soon be available,” Newsome said. “I hope that you feel as I do, as well the way hundreds of others feel, that these two men are very worthy of this honor.

“We are 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, who remained in Dallas after retiring from the NFL, is the owner of Newtec Business Solutions. He is a 1976 graduate of Ahoskie High School.

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 Eastern State 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.

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 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-Salem State, 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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