Former Guilford College and High Point College Basketball Coach Jerry Steele gone at age 82

Former Guilford College and High Point College Basketball Coach Jerry Steele gone at age 82

Heard the news for the first time tonight, on the FOX 8 News Sports Sunday with Danny Harnden, and the news was not good, it was sad, but it was also news that brings on a lot of fond memories…

They just don’t make ’em like this man any more…He was tough, and it was like he was mountain-tough, or country-tough…He used to live right up the road from where I lived as a kid, and he and his family were almost like royalty in the old Guilford College community…

Coach Jerry Steele, the former men’s basketball coach for the Guilford College Quakers, and for the High Point College Purple Panthers…Jerry Steele also served as the assistant coach to Bones McKinney, with the old Carolina Cougars of the ABA/American Basketball Association….Coach Steele became the head coach of the Carolina Cougars after Bones McKinney stepped down…

Coach Steele played for Coach Bones McKinney at Wake Forest University….Jerry Steele was there at Wake Forest, along with Jack Jensen, who would later join Jerry Steele on the coaching staff at Guilford College, and Coach Jensen would take over as the Guilford College head coach, after Coach Steele left Guilford for the Carolina Cougars….

Thinking Jerry Steele’s high school basketball background led him to Wake Forest from up around Elkin or Mount Airy..

Jerry Steele played his college basketball at Wake Forest, then he went on to become the head men’s basketball coach at Guilford College, and then he left Guilford College to coach for the Carolina Cougars, and after his 2-3 year stint with the Cougars, he became the head coach for the men at High Point College…

At Guilford College, Jerry Steele coached Bob Kauffman, Bert Feik, Bo Whitaker, Pat Morarity, Tom Ennis, Jerry Crocker, David Smith, early days of M.L. Carr, and many more great ones…Several of the those above named players could have played ACC basketball, but Jerry Steele talked them into playing for the Guilford College Quakers…

At High Point Colllege, Coach Steele coached Pearlee Shaw(Northeast Guilford HS), Ray Coble (Western Guilford HS), Brett Speight(his dad Jim, was the baseball coach at High Point College), Mike Everett(Western Guilford HS), and I know he heavily recruited Ralph Kitley from down in Rowan County…Ralph ended up at Coach Steele’s alma mater Wake Forest…He also coach a young Orlando “Tubby” Smith(Kentucky), at High Point College…..Lots of great ones at Guilford College and at High Point College, and he did a good job with the Carolina Cougars…

He was a tough man and coach, but he was a personable coach too….He was well-respected by all that knew him…

Here is what former High Point College basketball player, and former Page High School assistant coach Brett Speight is saying about Coach Steele, over on Facebook…
One of the most influential people in my life passed away last night. Words can’t express how much he meant to me over the years. He has been in my life since I was 5 years old when my Dad took the baseball coaching job at High Point College. He helped me become a better basketball player, but more importantly, a better person. RIP Coach Jerry Steele……..your memory will definitely live on forever!!!

Here is what Robert Kent, the former Western Guilford HS player, Guilford College player, Southwest Guilford HS coach, and Page High School coach is saying about Coach Steele on Facebook…
Robert Kent
I grew up at Guilford when coach Steele was there. I went to all his camps and wanted to play at Guilford from the time I was eight years old. He left for the Carolina Cougars when I was in high school and was at High Point when I played at Guilford. He was a great man and I was so glad you(Brett Speight) got to play for him at HPU. I remember him telling me that there were some people who wondered how much you would play there and he told me it didn’t matter because he decided who played. You became a even greater player under him and it was such a pleasure watching you play for him. I know you loved him and will miss him. He touched many people’s lives.

from Wikipedia on Coach Jerry Steele:
Jerry Steele (born March 10, 1939) was an American former basketball player and coach and college athletics administrator. He served as the head men’s basketball coach at Guilford College in Greensboro, North Carolina from 1962 to 1970 and High Point University in High Point, North Carolina from 1972 to 2003, compiling a career college basketball coaching record of 609–486. Steele was also the head coach of the Carolina Cougars of the American Basketball Association (ABA) for half of one season, 1970–71, tallying a mark of 17–25.

Early life and playing career
A native of Elkin, North Carolina, he played basketball at Wake Forest University from 1958 to 1961 and in two of those years he was a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference All-Academic team. After graduating from Wake Forest, Steele earned his master’s degree from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Coaching career
Guilford
Steele took over as the men’s basketball coach art Guilford College in 1962. His first season with the Quakers, he finished with a 5–20 record. Steele then lead the Quakers to two conference titles, four district championship, and four trips to the NAIA Tournament. During the 1969–70 season, the Quakers won 29 straight games, finishing 32–4 and fourth in the nation.

Carolina Cougars
In 1970 Steele joined the Carolina Cougars of the American Basketball Association (ABA) as an assistant coach under Bones McKinney. In November 1970, after the Cougars started the season with a record of 17–25, McKinney was dismissed and Steele was promoted to head coach. Steele’s record for the remainder of the season matched that of McKinney: 17–25. The Cougars finished the 1970–71 season with an overall record of 34–50, placing sixth in the ABA’s Eastern Division and missing the playoffs. After season concluded, Steele moved on to become director of player personnel for the Cougars and was replaced as head coach by Tom Meschery.

High Point
In 1972, Steele became the head coach at High Point University. Among his early players was current High Point head coach Tubby Smith. Steele coached at High Point for 32 years, from 1972 to 2003. During his tenure, High Point won eight conference titles, made one appearance in the NAIA Men’s Basketball Championships, and earned two trips to the NCAA Division II Men’s Basketball Tournament. His record at High Point was 457–412. He also served as athletic director at High Point for 26 years, from 1978 to 2003. Steele retired after the end of the 2002–03 season.

Personal life
Steele was elected to the NAIA Hall of Fame in 1987. In 2002 Steele was inducted into the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame. In 2005 Steele was inducted into the Guilford County, North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame. In 2007, the Steele Sports Center was opened on the campus of High Point University, named after the Panthers’ prolific coach and his wife, Kitty Steele, who was also a coach at High Point. This facility houses locker rooms, offices and training facilities for 11 of High Point’s 16 varsity sports. The men’s and women’s basketball teams are those excluded from this facility, due to the large amount of office space required for the two revenue-earning sports, as well as the former athletic administration’s offices’ proximity to the varsity basketball arena floor and locker rooms, which the basketball coaches moved into in April 2007.

Coach Steele’s record at Guilford was 150-76…His High Point coaching record was 459-412…Overall college coaching record was 609-486…..Eight years at Guilford and it looks like 31 years at High Point College….

**********(Coach Steele’s wife was Kitty Steele, and he had two daughters, one was Jenny and not sure of the other daughter’s name, but they both played high school basketball, at Western Guilford High School.)**********

1 comment

  1. Had the opportunity to play under Coach Steele. He gave me a lifetime of memories in a short amount of time at HPC now HPU. He believed in me as a walk on and played enough to letter in basketball and win the Carolinas Conference Championship in ‘78

Comments are closed.