Good job by the News and Record on the passing of Neal Hatcher and I’m sure many of you have read Tom Keller’s account from the paper or on-line at www.news-record.com by this time of day.
Here’s the piece from the Winston-Salem Jounrnal’s Mason Linker at journalnow.com:
Neal Hatcher, a former football coach at Glenn High School who retired as the athletics director at Greensboro Grimsley in 2005, died early yesterday at Moses Cone Memorial Hospital in Greensboro after a prolonged illness. He was 56.
Marty Stanley, the AD at Glenn and a friend of Hatcher’s, said that Hatcher became ill in November and had been hospitalized for an extended period while awaiting a liver transplant.
“We had a good discussion on Monday, had a real nice visit with him for about 30 minutes, and he talked to us the whole time,” Stanley said. “It’s just tough to see someone you worked with who was so good with kids. He was a great guy. I think the only reason he left Glenn was because he wanted to be an AD and Grimsley gave him that opportunity.
“After talking with his wife while we were there, she said it was day to day, hour to hour. He gave his whole life to education and working with kids. You hate to see him not get the chance to enjoy his retirement.”
Hatcher was the football coach at Glenn from 1993 to 1998. He had a record of 31-38 in that stretch and led the Bobcats to four playoff berths, including the 3-A quarterfinals in 1995. He resigned at Glenn in 1999 and became the AD at Grimsley. He retired from teaching in 2005.
At Grimsley, Hatcher succeeded Bob Sawyer, a legendary AD who had retired after 38 years.
“Neal was such a hard worker over at Grimsley and so dedicated while he was AD there,” said Herb Goins, the retired former AD of the Guilford County Schools. “That’s a big job. It’s a large school, but the Grimsley stadium is used by so many outside groups all year long. Neal had an awful lot to do along with AD duties and also with Jamieson Stadium.”
Stanley said that Hatcher turned Glenn’s football program around.
“He was fun to work with,” Stanley said. “He was serious about it, but football wasn’t life or death. Relationships and how he got along with coaches was more important to him. He had a big impact at our school and everybody he came in contact with.”
Todd Shuping, the football coach at Climax Providence Grove, built a strong relationship with Hatcher while he was an assistant coach at Glenn. Hatcher later had a hand in hiring Shuping as Grimsley’s head coach, a position Shuping held from 2004 to 2007.
Shuping said he spent a lot of time visiting Hatcher in the hospital and that he wasn’t surprised to find out yesterday morning that Hatcher had died.
“He is one of the best there is,” Shuping said. “Not only a great coach but also a great person. That’s one thing that made it so easy to be around him. He had a huge impact on a lot of people, and college coaches and former players have come by. That’s a true testament to the impact he has had on people.”
Hatcher played high-school football in Floyd County, Va., and was a 1975 graduate of Emory & Henry. He also was the head-football coach at Asheboro in 1986 and worked as an assistant at Grimsley, Mooresville, Oak Hill (Va.), Patrick County (Va.), Sullivan East (Tenn.) and Bluff City (Tenn.).
Hatcher is survived by his wife Debbie, and children Nicholas and Suzanne. Funeral arrangements were not available yesterday.
â– Mason Linker can be reached at email@example.com.