from Art Schoolfield, former Western Guilford teacher and coach….
I taught and coached at Western Guilford from 1978 through 1988. I knew Joe Robinson well… he was a great teacher, mentor, and friend. That being said, I am appalled that anyone would suggest that the football stadium at Western Guilford be named for anyone other than Doug Henderson! In fact, if Joe were alive today, I truly believe that he would be the first in line to say the same thing!
Doug was instrumental in making Western Guilford a football power during the late 70?s and throughout the 80?s. He was instrumental in the building of the stadium at Western Guilford (that’s right… the community under Doug’s leadership built that stadium, not the county!). During his time at Western Guilford, Henderson saw his teams compile an overall record of 107-47-3 and His 1977 Western Guilford team won the NCHSAA state 3-A championship. In addition, he had two different streaks of 40-plus consecutive dual meet victories as a track and field coach on the paved track he was instrumental in building at a time when most schools were still running on cinder tracks. Henderson is a former president of the North Carolina Coaches Association and helped to start the North Carolina Football Coaches Association, serving as its executive secretary from 1988 through 2003. He also served as a head coach in the Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas, the NCCA East-West all-star game and the old North-South all-star game. All of this resulted in Coach Henderson being named to the North Carolina High School Athletic Association Hall of Fame in 2012.
As impressive as this all sounds, Doug Henderson would tell you that his greatest accomplishment was having a role instilling a sense of responsibility and pride in the multitude of young men who played for him. There was a reason why we always had over a 100 young men come out to play football at Western which, at that time, was a relatively small 3-A school… they knew that they would all be treated the same, regardless of ability; and that, if they stuck it out, Doug would find a place for them to play. It might be on a specialty team or in a certain situation, but they would play… they would contribute… they would be a part of something special. For many of these young men, it was the first time they were given responsibility and the first time they were held accountable. For the majority of them, these were lessons that would carry into their adult years.
So I hope Guilford County doesn’t make a huge mistake by discounting all of the accomplishments Doug Henderson has made on and off the football field at Western Guilford by naming the stadium for anyone other than him… I have no doubt that Joe Robinson would completely agree with me!
from former high school football official Charlie Hadley:
I am a retired FOOTBALL OFFICIAL of over 40 years and officiated many of Western Guilford games in my career. In doing so I had direct contact with Doug both on and off the field. At no time were we ever treated with more respect than during our relationship with a Western Guilford Football Game. Doug Henderson was directly responsible as this is what Doug stands for and leads by example and expects whomever works or plays for him to do likewise. He was a FATHER figure to those who were fortunate to play under his leadership. i was also in the sporting goods business for a while and witnessed former graduates dropping by the school to see Doug before they would even go to their own homes.
I remember a play during the Morehead game in Eden which would decide the CONFERENCE CHAMPION. Score was 7-0 in favor of Morehead. The play was an offsides call which I called on Western as the lineman stepped back across the free kick line to go across the field to set up a wall for the runner to follow down the opposite sideline. The play worked as the runner almost scored, The play was called back and THERE WAS COMPLETE SILENCE ON THE WESTERN GUILFORD SIDELINE. His teams were taught to overcome adversity and go to the next play, Western finally acored to tie 7-7 in regulation. The game would take 3 overtimes for Western to win 24-21. I believe this may be the State Championship year if not they went deep into the playoffs. Doug Henderson is in a league with only a few others that come to mind during this era. The ones that come to mind have STADIUMS named in their honor because they were legends at their respective schools. Claude Manzi, Smith High School, Bill Slayton, Southeast Guilford, C.K. Siler, Southern Guilford. Their accomplishments have been recognized by their respective communities for some time and I know there are others.
To Name the Western Guilford Football & Track Facility in HONOR and RECOGNITION of the contributions and sacrifices DOUG HENDERSON made during his career of teaching and preparing young people to become productive citizens in their adult life IS LONG OVERDUE.
Respectfully Submitted, Charlie Hadley