GREENSBORO, N.C. – Dudley High School, one of four schools that played in the inaugural HAECO Invitational presented by NewBridge Bank in 1976, will return to the tournament in 2015 after a seven-year hiatus, the Greensboro Sports Council announced today. The 40th anniversary HAECO Invitational is set for December at the Greensboro Coliseum Special Events Center.
Dudley High School, Grimsley High School, Page High School and Smith High School are the original schools that played in the tournament then known as the Little 4. The Dudley Panthers last played the HAECO Invitational in 2007 but withdrew to play in a different tournament in 2008.
The Panthers enjoy a rich HAECO Invitational history having made more appearances in the men’s championship game than any other school. The Panther men have won 10 titles in 19 championship-game appearances, and their overall record is second only to the Greensboro Day School Bengals who have won 12 tournaments in 16 men’s championship game appearances. The Dudley women have one championship in nine title-game appearances.
“This is good for the community,” Dudley men’s coach Brian Seagraves said. “We met a lot of people during the Christmas break on our way back from playing in a tournament in Hampton, Va., and we went to the HAECO Invitational when we got back. A lot of our fans and the Dudley community said they wanted to get back into the tournament, and we told them as long as they were with us and wanted us back into the tournament, we would look into it. It’s good for the community. I was the MVP when I played in it, and there’s no place like home for the Dudley community.”
“Having Dudley back in the HAECO Invitational is great news for the tournament and our entire community,” Greensboro Sports Council president Kevin McCoy said. “The timing couldn’t be better; with Dudley back in the tournament, we’re able to have all of the original schools in the field for the tournament’s 40th anniversary. Historically, Dudley is one of the top programs in North Carolina, and we are ecstatic to potentially improve the quality of our field for years to come. We sincerely hope that the Panthers will once again become a fixture in the HAECO Invitational.”
In addition to the four original schools, the other schools participating in the 40th anniversary HAECO Invitational will be the defending men’s champion Greensboro Day School Bengals, Northern Guilford High School, the defending women’s champion Northwest Guilford Vikings and Ragsdale High School; men’s and women’s teams from all schools will participate. Northeast Guilford High School will not play in the tournament this year.
The HAECO Invitational presented by NewBridge Bank is an annual high school basketball tournament in Greensboro, N.C. Founded in 1976 as the Little 4 Invitational, the tournament features men’s and women’s teams representing eight Guilford County high schools playing at the Greensboro Coliseum Complex. Tournament proceeds are donated to local charities and the participating schools; the HAECO Invitational is planned and implemented by the Greensboro Sports Council. For more information, please visit www.HAECOInvitational.com and follow the event on Twitter: @HAECOinvit.