Page High School assistant football and baseball coach Nat Norris, is heading “home” to High Point, to take over the High Point Andrews Red Raiders’ basball program…..
Coach Norris was the receviers coach for coach Kevin Gillespie’s Page Pirate football team and he was also one of the top assistants, on coach William Hardin’s Page baseball squad…..
This is a great opportunity for Coach Norris and not all of us get the chance to go “home” to start or rebuild a program, but Coach Norris will do just that when he returns to High Point, where he played college baseball back in the late 80’s…..
Good luck to Coach Norris at HPA and we know he can’t wait till he gets a chance to coach his son Randy, in about three years……
Here’s the article on the move by Nat Norris from Page HS, to High Point Andrews and it is a fine article, written by Steve Hanf of the High Point Enterprise…..Go to www.hpe.com and load up high school sports, to find this one and many more articles/posts by Steve Hanf….
The article on Nat Norris heading “home”….
The friends loved to play sports and they loved to watch them. T. Wingate Andrews, just a quick jog from High Point College, seemed a logical destination to catch baseball and football games, track meets â€“ whatever might be taking place during their free time.
Even then, Nat Norris was a fan of the Red Raiders, and even then, he envisioned coaching in High Point with his best friend.
Wayne Jones would become a well-known figure at High Point Central, where he still guides the Bison football and track teams.
Norris went another way â€“ but has returned, at long last, as head coach of the Andrews baseball squad.
â€œItâ€™s a dream come true,â€ Norris remarked. â€œI was talking to Wayne and said, â€˜Can you envision this? Weâ€™re both coaching in High Point, something we talked about 20-plus years ago.â€™ It happened, and Iâ€™m excited.â€
Norris grew up near Greenville and graduated from Farmville Central High School. His first visit to High Point came as a member of Louisburg Collegeâ€™s baseball team. The junior college squad was in town to play the Panthers, Norris ran into a High Point player he remembered from his American Legion Baseball days, and they spent the night catching up.
â€œHe asked me where I was transferring to and I told him, â€˜Right now everybodyâ€™s calling,â€™ â€ Norris said. â€œHe took me around, I had a great time. I said, â€˜You know what, I donâ€™t care who recruits me â€“ Iâ€™m coming to High Point College.â€™ â€
The center fielder starred for Jim Speightâ€™s NAIA teams in the 1988 and 1989 seasons and remains one of four Panthers tied for the most triples in a season (five in 1988). Norrisâ€™ speed on the base paths impressed Jones, who was part of an impressive 4×100-meter relay team at the time.
Make that a 3×100 team, after one leg of the relay headed home before the end of the season. Jones convinced Norris to come run with the track team as soon as the baseball season concluded.
â€œWe said, â€˜Nat, youâ€™re fast enough to run with us,â€™ â€ Jones recalled. â€œHe made All-American in the relay with us and then he made All-American in the 100 also. He was just one of those gifted guys like that.â€
Norris was drafted in 1989 by the Chicago White Sox and spent one season with the clubâ€™s rookie team. While his baseball career didnâ€™t last, he fondly recalled mingling with the likes of Frank Thomas, Jack McDowell and Ozzie Guillen at spring training.
Norris returned to the Triad to begin a management program at Furnitureland South, then moved to delivering furniture: â€œI wasnâ€™t an â€˜in the buildingâ€™ kind of guy,â€ he remarked.
Years later, he was ready to sever his ties to the area and move to Atlanta following a divorce. Then, the phone rang.
Page High Schoolâ€™s baseball head coach, William Harden, needed someone to lead his junior varsity squad. â€œHe told me, â€˜Câ€™mon, you know how to coach, you know the game. Iâ€™d really love to have you over here,â€™ â€ Norris said of the conversation three years ago. â€œMy kids really didnâ€™t want me to leave, so I told him I would give it a shot. One thing led to another: I got into the school system and Iâ€™ve been blessed ever since. Things just worked out.â€
Despite spending the last three years at Page, Norris knew all about the athletic teams at Andrews. His oldest daughter, Keri, recently wrapped up an all-conference season for the Raider softball squad. Sheâ€™ll be a senior next year and will get to play next spring with her sister, Ciara, a rising freshman who pitches.
In a few years, Norris will get to coach his son, Randy, currently an eighth-grader.
â€œItâ€™s great to come back and coach at a high school that I really love,â€ said Nat Norris, now 44 years old. â€œSince the time I came to High Point I was a Red Raider.â€
Norris will handle the In-School Suspension program at Andrews, holding the same job he had at Page.
â€œI think that position was made for me,â€ Norris said. â€œItâ€™s another way to get with kids who have behavior problems, show them the good things in life instead of them taking a path that can lead to destruction.â€
Perhaps the Andrews baseball job was made for him, too, all those years ago. The program has seen a revolving door of coaches since Ben Robinson had to leave the bench three years ago to assume athletic director duties. Norris said he welcomes the challenge and â€œtrust me, it will be a whole different ballgame.â€
â€œHe has a great passion for baseball and a great passion for helping kids,â€ Robinson said. â€œHeâ€™s impressive.â€