Coach Jerry Steele(High Point College/Guilford College) helped a lot of people, and here’s one:Patrick Medley(High Point Central HS/High Point College)

Coach Jerry Steele, who coached the men’s basketball teams, at Guilford College and and High Point College, passed away yesterday at age 82…

Jerry Steele stood around 6’8, and he was a tough, hard-working coach, with a deep southern drawl, but up under that tough exterior, there was a man who lived with emotion, and he had an extra-large heart…

Spoke with one of his former players this morning, Patrick Medley, and Patrick and Coach Steele go way back…They had a bond that lasted for nearly 35 years….Patrick Medley told me that, “Outside of my mom, Coach Jerry Steele was the most influential person in my life”…”Right now, I’m crushed and I plan to make it to the funeral in North Carolina, when I hear of date”….

So here you have a man, Patrick Medley, now 52 years old, and he was in tears this morning, as he spoke about his relationship with Coach Jerry Steele…

And it all goes back to 1986, when Patrick Medley was a seventeen year-old basketball player for the High Point Central Black Bison….Patrick was attending a Summer Basketball Camp, down at Campbell College/University, in Buies Creek, N.C., and he was there for the week of Summer basketball camp, and Coach Jerry Steele was working at that basketball camp….Back in the day, the Campbell College Basketball Camp was the top Summer Basketball Camp in the United States….UCLA coach John Wooden would be there, “Pistol Pete” Maravich would be there, it was a ‘Who’s Who” college basketball camp scene….

Patrick Medley was very happy to be attending this prestigious basketball camp, but when it came time for the week-long camp to end, and it was time for everybody to go home, Patrick Medley did not have a ride home…His brother was supposed to show up and pick him up, and give him a ride back to High Point, N.C., but Patrick’s brother was a no-show, and Patrick Medley was stranded, and he did not have a ride home…

No transportation, and so now how are you going to get home??? Some of the basketball camp workers got together, and as they huddled to talk, they came up with an idea…Why not ask Coach Jerry Steele to give Patrick Medley a ride back to High Point??? Coach Steele was right there, and he was headed home, and home for him, was the same place as home for Patrick Medley, High Point, North Carolina….

So, they got it all worked out, and Coach Steele and Patrick got together, and Coach Steele told Patrick Medley, “I am your way back to High Point”….

The trip back home was all lined up, but out of nowhere, a major problem arose….The trip home was still on, but there was now a major problem…

Right before it was time for Coach Steele and Patrick Medley to hop in the car and head back to High Point, what was once a bright shiny day, turned into one of the low points in Coach Jerry Steele’s life…Coach Steele got a phone call right before he and Patrick were ready to leave Campbell College/Buies Creek, N.C., and during that phone call, Coach Jerry Steele got word that his mom had just died…

Talk about going from good, to bad, in single instant, Coach Steele was devastated….But, being the man that he was, and being that he had promised Patrick Medley a ride back to High Point, Coach Steele told Patrick to grab his stuff, and let’s get going on our trip back home….

“Coach Steele told me he was going to give me a ride home, and he was going to make sure I got home”…”I was stranded at the Campbell College Basketball Camp, and without Coach Steele’s help, I don’t know how I would have got home”…

“I learned a lot about that man that day…He was a man of his word, and even though he was a ‘mountain-of-a-man’, he had a heart of pure gold…All the way back home to High Point, as we headed back up Highway 421 going north, Coach Steele had his mother on his mind, and the tears were rolling down his face….He loved his mother, and now she was gone, but he told me he was going to make sure I got back to High Point safely, and that is what Coach Steele did…He was crying and driving at the same time, and we made it back to High Point, safe and sound”…..

“That man stood up for me on that day, and I will never forget it…I never had a real father-figure in my life, other than Coach Jerry Steele”….

“Coming out of high school, at High Point Central High School, Coach Steele offered me a basketball scholarship to High Point College three times….I turned him down the first time and I took my basketball talents to Virginia Commonwealth University/VCU”….”You would think with the way Coach Steele had befriended my at that the Campbell Basketball Camp, that I would have jumped right on that college scholarship offer to High Point….But, I wanted to get out of High Point, N.C., and go someplace away from home….If you live on the wrong side of High Point, you can’t wait to get out of that place”…..

“Took my game to VCU, and that didn’t really work out, so I had turned Coach Steele down once, and I was about to turn him down again”….”When I came back home from VCU, Coach Steele offered me a scholarship to High Point College again”…”And I up and turned him down again”….”This time I went the JUCO route and went and played college basketball at Lees-McRae College”…”The Lees-McRae deal was not what I was looking for either, and I came back home to High Point again”….”I was an All-State basketball player at High Point Central, while I was in high school, so I had the skills, I just needed to find a home, away from home, but in the end, I found out the best place for me was right back where I started from, back home in High Point”….

“One of Coach Steele’s assistant coaches, and I believe it was Mike Everett, had scouted me back when I was in high school, over there at Central, and they really knew what I could do”….”So, now I am back home in High Point again, and I had left the home base twice, and I had come back home twice”…..”Coach Steele, being the man he was, and being the true friend he was, what does he do now??? He offers me a basketball scholarship to High Point College again, for a third time, and this time, I said sign me up”…..

“I was now back in High Point, and I was playing for the man I should have been with all along”…”I was playing for Coach Jerry Steele, at High Point College”….”I was never a superstar at High Point College, but I was a starter, and I could play just about any position on the court”…”And as the years go on, I can still never forget that day, Coach Jerry Steele gave me a ride home from the Campbell College Basketball Camp”…

“It turns out, I was always trying to get back to High Point, and Coach Steele was going to make sure that I got there, one way, or another”…

“Coach Steele and I developed a relationship that would last forever, and ironically, I earned my degree from High Point College, in Human Relations”….”It has been a career filled with relationships, and it will always go back to that car ride he gave me, back in 1986″….Coach Steele made a difference, and I was fortunate to visit with him on almost a weekly basis back in 2020″…”During that time, every week I would stop over in High Point, I would find a way to go find Coach Steele, and see him”…

“I am 52 years old today, and I am doing well, and I owe my success to Coach Jerry Steele”….

That is the word from today, from Patrick Medley, who now lives down in Georgia….He loved his coach, and his coach loved him, and that two-hour car ride, from Buies Creek, North Carolina, to High Point, North Carolina, might be the high point of Patrick Medley’s life….

We go back to what Partick Medley sent us by way of text earlier today, “Outside of my mom, Coach Jerry Steele was the most influential person in my life”…”Right now, I’m crushed and I plan to make it to the funeral in North Carolina, when I hear of date”….

RIP:Coach Jerry Steele

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