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Dudley Nails Championship Saturday/A Tribute to Doug Hamilton Dead at Age 43

The Dudley Panthers nailed it Saturday just like the highway sign used to read out on 29 North. They nailed it down and Dudley claimed the crown. The Dudley boys have now won back-to-back titles after Saturday night’s 4 point victory over the Concord Spiders. Dudley saw great performances turned in by William Graves, Rashawn Polk, Robert Johnson, and Josh Chavis.

Graves, Polk, and Johnson got the job done inside and Chavis was the glue that held the Panthers together from his point guard spot. Kenny Belton wasn’t able to put up his usual big numbers because of a nagging ankle injury but he gave the Panthers some key minutes thoroughout the night in Chapel Hill. Senior Travis Foster hit some key shots and he was a piece of the puzzle that fit and helped get the Panthers their 3rd state hoops crown in the past 10 years. Dudley has been to the finals 5 times during the ten year run and who’s to say that with Chavis and Belton back in 2006/2007 they won’t be right back in the state championship game again next season.

Dudley might just be making plans to head back to the big game next season and if they do they will have to make it without Graves, Polk, Johnson, Foster, Jonathan Heard, Antonio White, CJ Middlebrooks, Kennedy Ihenacho and others. Graves will be at UNC-CH and Polk and Johnson both should end up somewhere playing college ball.

Ed Hardin put together an excellent article talking about the Dudley Panthers and what they mean to our community. Mr. Hardin’s Sunday N&R story was right on target about the achievements of the Panthers and how important Dudley is to the Gate City and how their name rings positive basketball volumes across the old North State. Kellie Dixon the N&R high school hoops writer turned in a stong series of articles on Dudley from the beginning of the season all the way through the Finals in Chapel Hill. We can be very proud of Dudley and proud of the fine work we have seen from Ed Hardin and Kellie Dixon.

Coach David Price looked like Clarence “Bighouse” Gaines in the Sunday paper as he pointed out what he wanted his Dudley Panthers to do as they were winning that Boys State 3-A Basketball Championship.

On a very sad note, we lost a former area soccer coach last week. Doug Hamilton was at one time the head men’s soccer coach at Greensboro College. Doug led the Hornets to the Dixie Conference title and he helped put the Hornets, now the Pride on the small college map. If my sports memory serves me correctly Doug followed Jack Poland as the men’s coach at Greensboro College. Jack left the Hornets to become the first-ever women’s soccer coach at UNCG.

Doug Hamilton was a former UNCG soccer player and he was a member of the Spartans’ NCAA Division III championship squad in 1985. Doug was a short man but he was a very tough defensive player that helped make coach Michael Parker’s Spartans one of the top teams at any level in the entire nation. Doug was a teammate of Eddie Radwanski now the women’s coach at UNCG.

After college Doug became an assistant coach on the college level for a while and then quickly moved up to the head coaching position at Greensboro College. Kim Strable was the Athletic Director at GC at the time in the late 80’s, early 90’s and Strable knew he had a winner on his hands with Doug Hamilton on the Hornet’s sidelines. Doug Hamilton was small but he had so much enthusiasm and insight. Doug was like Lisa Stockton, the former women’s basketball coach at GC in some ways. Just like Stockton(now the women’s head coach at Tulane in New Orleans), you knew that Doug Hamilton with his energy and vision was going places.

I first met Doug Hamilton at the old WKEW AM1400 radio studios on Summit Avenue here in Greensboro. Doug was the head men’s soccer coach at GC and I just knew that this young coach, still in his 20’s was going places. Although I remained right here in this town and never really went any where at all, Doug Hamilton was on the move. This young coach really made an impression on me and even though I didn’t get to see him around here long, he made an impact and I will never forget the guy.

I would be reading the USA Today pages in later years after Doug Hamilton had left GC and Doug’s name would start turning up at major locations. I looked at the transactions page one day back around 2000 and Doug Hamilton had been named the top executive for the Miami Fusion of Major League Soccer. Doug Hamilton had worked his way up the ladder and he was the top brass. Doug had been coaching and now he had worked his way into administration.

After his run with the Fusion, Doug worked his way up the ladder again and became the top executive for the LA Galaxy, the top team in the MLS. Doug was running the show for the top team in Major League Soccer. Doug was two-time General Manager of the Year in the MLS. He was the President and GM of the LA Galaxy and Doug Hamilton had become one of the top names in sports in all of Los Angeles and was known throughout the USA and across into Mexico for his outstanding contributions to the sport of Soccer. Doug Hamilton helped build the LA Galaxy and made them the most respected team in their profession.

Doug Hamilton was a small man but he was able to accomplish great things. I will always have the utmost respect for Doug and the outstanding work he did. From a little studio on Summit Avenue to the top of the Sports World in Los Angeles, California. Doug Hamilton is gone way too early at age 43, but never to be forgotten here in Greensboro, North Carolina. I’m sure GC AD Kim Strable and Pride SID Bob Lowe will be able to send us some more info about future plans for a Doug Hamilton Tribute at Greensboro College.