Greensboro Sports loses a good friend:Jeff Carlton dies this morning

Jeff Carlton high school sports writer for the News and Record died this morning from complications due to malignant brain tumors. Jeff had been suffering from these tumors on again/off again for several years.

The announcement was made just prior to today’s Tom Ward College Basketball Coaches Luncheon, ironically at the News and Record offices downtown on East Market Street. N&R sports editor Joe Sirera told everyone in attendance the news just before the luncheon got under way.

Jeff had been fine for the most part up until last Friday according to Sirera and Jeff had just gone back to the hospital on Tueday of this week for more treatment.

Jeff had been with the N&R for around 10 years and he began as a copy editor and then moved up to cover the high school sports after Dustin Long moved over to cover NASCAR. Jeff moved up to cover ACC football and basketball and he was the beat writer for the North Carolina Tar Heels when they won the NCAA basketball title back in 2005. It seemed to me that Jeff loved covering the Heels because that put him on the map and had him at the top of ladder covering the ACC and one of the top schools in NCAA college basketball history.

I got to know Jeff when he first began covering the high schools for the N&R and I had him on my radio show that I was doing at the time and we would talk local Guilford County High School football, hoops, baseball, etc. for nearly an hour each week on Thursday evenings. Later Jeff would do many sports talk radio shows across the nation with his knowledge gained from covering the Tar Heels and I would try to remind him every now and then that I gave him his start in radio. Jeff did make the big time.

Jeff was replaced on the high school scene by Kate Hairopolous and then when Kate left for Dallas, Kellie Dixon came on board, and when Kellie moved on to Florida, Jeff returned to the high school desk.

Jeff Carlton attended the Univeristy of Virginia in Charlottesville, and grew up in Northern Virginia near Alexandria. Jeff went to the same high school that was featured in the movie, “Remember the Titans”, and we are remembering Jeff here today. Jeff’s high school was TC Williams High School in Alexandria and the football coach there was William Boone and he recently spoke at Guilford College and I would be near certain to say that Jeff was there to hear him speak. Jeff talked often about his old high school and the fact that the movie was based upon what had happened there in football.

Of all of Jeff’s sports to cover I think baseball may have been his favorite. He would regularly be seen wearing a baseball cap and when he was living near the old ballpark at Yanceyville and Lindsey Streets you could find him at the ballpark on a steady basis even on his off days. Jeff split coverage duties for the Greensboro Grasshoppers for a season with Rob Daniels of the N&R(also a UVA grad) at the new stadium then known as First Horizon Park. Jeff would wear that ball cap even when he was out on assignment and he always carried a note pad and he would be feverishly taking notes. The man did his homework on all those assignments.

Jeff was a bit pre-mature gray on top with his hair but it helped you recognize him if he wasn’t wearing that ball cap and he would have that note pad with him taking notes and he wore glasses, and that made him look more studious. I can still see him now standing outside the locker rooms along with Brian Joura at the MLK Day basketball games at the Greensboro Coliseum back in January talking to Greensboro Day coach Freddy Johnson and Jeff was taking notes like a man possessed.

Jeff possessed skills that in memory, his family can be very proud of. Jeff had a sense of humor and didn’t mind having a laugh or two along the way but when it came to his stories for the paper he was all business. I have a lot of respect for the guy because he was out there in the field fighting the good fight covering sports.

We will miss Jeff Carlton and I am sure the News and Record will too. Dick Grubar, former North Carolina Tar Heel basketball star, had everyone pause and share in moment of silence in memory of Jeff before today’s basketball luncheon at the N&R.

Joe Sirera the N&R sports editor again had told everyone the very unpleasant news at around 11:50am, Jeff Carlton died this morning, February 21, 2008. Our thoughts go out to Jeff Carlton’s family. (We will list his exact age later today, believed to be 36/37 according to Joe Sirera. Jeff was 36 years old.)

12 thoughts on “Greensboro Sports loses a good friend:Jeff Carlton dies this morning

  1. High school sports lost a good friend today. He always treated coaches and players with kindness and an interest in their perspective. The excitement of the basketball playoffs will be diminished by his loss.

  2. Here is the same comments, which I posted at the N&R blog, with some extra added:

    I have had the privledge of knowing and working with Jeff Carlton for about the past seven-and-a-half years, ever since I became a sports stringer in the fall of 2000. For those unfamiliar with the newspaper business, a “stringer” is like a free-lance writer, who’s hired by a publication, such as the News & Record, to cover a certain event, because that publication may not have enough staff to cover that event at a particular time.

    I started working with Jeff on high school football coverage in August of 2000, then transitioned into basketball and other high school sports. Jeff taught me a lot about sportswriting, and worked with me to help improve my writing skills. For that, I am forever grateful and indebted to him. He was always very thorough, giving me pre-game notes, stats, or whatever he could provide, to help make the assignment go smoothly, and to make sure the story was accurate. His knowledge of local high school sports was outstanding and unsurpassed.

    Even when Jeff left the high school beat to cover the Tar Heels and ACC, I still would occasionally speak with him when I saw him at the N&R office, and we could always share a laugh, about sports or some other topic. I remember one time he was
    was joking with me about which one of Coach Roy Willaims’ “aw shucks,” or “dadgummit” quotes he was going to use in a UNC story.

    Jeff was well-respected amongst high school coaches, administrators, and players in the Triad. Everywhere I went, when I told folks I was writing for the News & Record, they always asked me how Jeff was doing, and always praised him for his writing and professionalism. He will be deeply missed, and I am truly saddened by this loss. May you rest in peace, Jeff.

  3. I can only echo what others have said …

    A great person, a true professional and, most of all, a good friend.

    Rest in peace, Jeff! We won’t forget you.

  4. Jeff was a real pro, and he did so much to support sports in our market. Whether it was high school sports, an ACC game or the Wyndham Championship, Jeff always added something special to the mix. Many people will miss Jeff a lot, and I’m one of them.

  5. This is really terrible news. Jeff was a really great guy and that is something that you can’t say about everyone you meet in journalism and broadcasting. My prayers go out to Jeff’s family and friends as well as his co-workers at the N&R. Also, nice work by Andy on the write-up. God Bless You, Jeff.

  6. My deepest sympathies go out to the family of Mr. Carlton. I have always enjoyed his contributions to the area of Prep Sports. I never knew of his condition, and this is quite a shock. Mr. Carlton will be missed by many, rest in peace and God Bless.

  7. I met Jeff not long after he first took over the prep sports assignment at the paper and I always enjoyed my conversations with him. He was smart, down-to-earth and always focused on his job.

    When scanning the sports page in the mornings, I always looked for his by-line. To me, the events and people Jeff wrote about took on an added significance simply because it was Jeff writing about them.

    I hope Jeff’s family finds a measure of comfort in reading the wonderful tributes from so many of his friends and colleagues. All of us are fortunate to have known him.

  8. My heart has taken a big hit. I always thought the world of Jeff! As a young coach, some 10 years ago. Jeff came to see me, he asked many insightful questions; not about our team, but about how I was going to run our program.He was at our last championship game this year, and he talked to our Off.cord. Jeff Snuffer about the passing of his brother during that week of cancer. I feel he and coach Snuffer really hit it off. I only found out about Mr.Carlton this week. I decicded to go on line tonight, and tell the world, That I love him, and will always love Jeff Carlton

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