39th Annual HAECO Invitational
Presented by NewBridge Bank
Greensboro Coliseum Special Events Center; December 26, 27, 29, 2014
*****Greensboro Day boys and Northwest Guilford girls #1 Seeds, with Page boys vs. Grimsley on Day One of the Tourney…..*****
For Immediate Release.
Tournament Dates: Every few years, one of the HAECO Invitational tournament days falls on a Sunday, and because the North Carolina High School Athletic Association still prohibits its teams from playing games on Sunday, the HAECO Invitational is forced to alter its schedule. This year, Christmas falls on a Thursday meaning that scenario is in play. The tournament will open on its traditional date, Dec. 26, and the semifinals will be played on Dec.27 as usual. After taking Sunday off to adhere to the NCHSAA rule, the tournament will conclude on Monday, Dec. 29. Championship game times are set for 5 p.m. and 7 p.m.
New Tournament Name: Last month, the Greensboro Sports Council announced that its annual high school basketball tournament would be called the HAECO Invitational presented by NewBridge Bank. When title sponsor TIMCO Aviation Services became HAECO Americas, it was necessary to change the name to match its title sponsor’s new corporate identity. At the same time, the tournament launched its new website, www.HAECOInvitational.com as well as its new Twitter handle, @HAECOinvit.
Aviation Careers Fair: Last year’s inaugural Aviation Careers Fair was a tremendous success, and the event returns to the HAECO Invitational in 2014. This year, however, the Aviation Careers Fair will be located in the Greensboro Coliseum Complex Special Events Center lobby and is set for Monday, Dec. 29 only rather than all three days of the tournament. At this point, HAECO, HondaJet, GTCC, the United States Air Force and Machine Specialty, Inc., are scheduled to participate. It is possible additional entities could join the jobs fair between now and the HAECO Invitational. Additional details will be released closer to the event.
Nearly $1.5 Million Contributed to the Schools: Many things make the HAECO Invitational presented by NewBridge Bank an exceptional high school basketball tournament, but what makes the HAECO Invitational unique is that tournament proceeds are donated to charity and the participating schools. Last year, the eight participating schools each received $14,000 meaning the tournament donated $112,000 to the schools. In the last 15 years, the Greensboro Sports Council has now donated nearly $1.5 Million to the schools that participated in the tournament.
Sponsors Help with Advertising: Several HAECO Invitational sponsors are helping advertise the tournament through their in-kind sponsorships. Fairway Outdoor Advertising is once again providing static and digital billboards while the Greensboro News & Record, WFMY-TV, 98.7 Simon, 102 Jamz, 97.1, QMG, 93.1 The Wolf are also advertising the tournament as in-kind sponsors.
Sponsorship: HAECO Invitational revenue comes from ticket sales and sponsorships; sales success contributes directly to how much money is donated to charities and the schools each year. The Greensboro Sports Council is very active in raising funds for the tournament, but for more than a decade, participating schools have shared in the sponsorship sales efforts. Each school is soliciting a minimum of $1,500 in sponsorship. HAECO Invitational sponsorship is among the most economical sports marketing opportunities available to Piedmont Triad companies.
Charity: In addition to making its donations to the participating schools, the HAECO Invitational makes charitable contributions. This year, the tournament will make a donation to the Bryan Family YMCA. Past tournament proceeds have been contributed to Greensboro Urban Ministries, Friends for an Earlier Breast Cancer Test, the American Cancer Society’s Coaches vs. Cancer, Children’s Home Society, the Eastern Guilford High School Fund, the Joey Cheek Fund, North Carolina State Games, the Girls and Boys Club, the Greensboro Aquatic Center’s ‘Learn to Swim’ program and The First Tee of the Triad.
Honorary Chairman: Since joining the Greensboro Sports Council in 1992, retired Greensboro radiologist Kyle Young has been very active in Sports Council activities, and this year, the Greensboro Sports Council thanks him for his longtime dedication to Gate City sports event by naming him the HAECO Invitational honorary chairman. Young chaired the tournament in 1995 and served as Greensboro Sports Council president in 1998. A native of Roxboro, N.C. and an alumnus of Wake Forest University, he has been active in Demon Deacon activities for many years and has served the university in multiple roles. He remains active in Sports Council activities each year and considers the HAECO Invitational the focus of his Sports Council involvement. He retired from Greensboro Radiology in 2008.
Bill Lee Scholarship: The Bill Lee Scholarship is awarded to four HAECO Invitational participants each year. However in 2014, there was a tie between two candidates so tournament officials made a one-time decision to award five scholarships this year. Since its inception in 2001, 57 students have now been awarded this scholarship which was established in 2001 in memory of Bill Lee, a Greensboro native and resident who was a major supporter of local sports. He was deeply involved with Greensboro’s minor league baseball efforts, basketball and golf. The Greensboro Sports Council established the scholarship following Lee’s death in 2001. Recipients are nominated by their schools, and the Greensboro Sports Council awards the scholarships. Each nomination is considered with the following criteria: 40% academic, 40% athletic and 20% civic. Four student-athletes receive a scholarship each year.
Steak ‘N Shake Shooters Shootout: The Steak ‘N Shake Shooters Shootout, a halftime
basketball shooting contest, returns to the HAECO Invitational this year. The Steak ‘N Shake Shooters Shootout will be conducted during each of the 24 tournament games. During halftime, a maximum of 50 people may purchase a Steak ‘N Shake Shooters Shootout ticket for $1 for one chance to shoot a free throw. Those that make the shot will advance to the next round until one shooter remains on each end. Those two shooters will shoot again to determine a winner for that game who earns a Steak ‘N Shake gift certificate for an order of Shooters (mini cheeseburgers) and a HAECO Invitational T-Shirt. Winners from individual games do not advance to a winner’s competition; each halftime features its own competition.
The Tournament: The HAECO Invitational was founded in 1976 as the Little 4. At that time, the Big Four Atlantic Coast Conference schools, Duke, N.C. State, UNC-Chapel Hill and Wake Forest, competed in the Big 4 Tournament in the Greensboro Coliseum. The HAECO Invitational was created to mirror the tournament that showcased North Carolina’s ACC teams and raise funds for the participating high schools’ athletic programs. In 1978, the tournament expanded to eight teams with Ragsdale, High Point Andrews, High Point Central and Thomasville High School joining the original four. The next two years, in 1979 and ’80, the tournament returned to its original four schools before expanding to eight teams permanently in 1981. The women’s side of the tournament began in 1980. The HAECO Invitational is now widely considered the most successful holiday basketball tournament in North Carolina. For a more complete look at tournament history, please visit http://www.haecoinvitational.com/history-results/.
2013 Tournament Recap: Last year, both defending champions held serve – it was the third-consecutive HAECO Invitational tile for each. The Greensboro Day School Bengals charged to the men’s championship defeating Ragsdale, Northwest Guilford and top-seeded Page on the way to coach Freddy Johnson’s record 12th men’s title. On the women’s side, the top-seeded Page Pirates knocked off Grimsley, Northern Guilford and Northwest Guilford. It was the 13th HAECO Invitational title for the Lady Pirates in 17 championship-game appearances – both tournament records.
For the first time in tournament history, the same two teams have won each of the last three HAECO Invitational titles. The Page women and the Greensboro Day School men, both three-time defending champs, will look to make it four in a row this year.
The Page High School women (1988 – ’92), the Western Guilford women (1992-’95) and the Greensboro Day School men (2005-’08) are the only teams that have won four consecutive HAECO Invitational titles.
Before losing in the 2009 men’s semifinals, Greensboro Day School won 17 consecutive HAECO Invitational games including four consecutive championships in 2005 – ’08. Greensboro Day is the only men’s team to win four consecutive titles.
Greensboro Day School men’s coach Freddy Johnson has won 12 HAECO Invitational titles – more than any other coach in tournament history.
Page High School coaches Luke McKeel and Deborah Jones have accounted for 11 of the Pirates’ 13 HAECO Invitational women’s championships. McKeel won seven of the first nine tournaments, and Jones has won four of the last five including the last three. Former Pirate coach Kathy Turner won the other two Lady Pirate titles.
After joining the tournament in 2000, the top-seeded Northwest Guilford Lady Vikings have played in the championship game in eight of the last11 years winning three times. Coach Darlene Joyner joined the Vikings in 2002, and all of their championship-game appearances have come under Coach Joyner meaning she has made eight appearances in the championship game in her 12 seasons as the Vikings’ coach.
Either Page High School or Northwest Guilford has played in every women’s championship game since 2003. Page has played in four of the last five, and Northwest has played in eight of the last 11.
Page star Paris Kea became the first three-time MVP in tournament history last year. Four players have done it twice, but the former Page Pirate is the first to do it three times.
Women’s Stats: The Page Pirates have won more women’s tournaments than any other school with 13 titles. The Lady Pirates have played for the championship 17 times, also more than any other team. With last year’s title, the Lady Pirates now own more team championships than any other team in tournament history – men or women. The Page women have won 76 percent of the championship games in which they have played.