“Tough as Nails” and could still be kicking some tails, as he hits his 91st birthday on the Fourth of July:Happy Birthday to Coach Bill Slayton(Southeast Guilford HS/Eastern Guilford HS)

Today is the Fourth of July….Born in the USA, Born on the Fourth of July, “Tough as Nails, could still be kicking some tails”…All of those thoughts and terms could describe Bill Slayton, the former football and baseball coach at Southeast Guilford High School…He also taught at Eastern Guilford High School…

Coach Slayton is celebrating his 91st birthday today, and in turning 91 years old, he may well be the oldest living former Guilford County Schools coach…

He is older than Coach Marion Kirby, the legendary football coach from Page High School…He is older than Richard Kemp, the State Championship football coach from Ragsdale High School…

Many of our old coaches are now gone on to a better resting place, such as C.K. Siler(Southern Guilford High School), Doug Henderson(Western Guilford High School), Bill Hollifield(Western Guilford High School), and others…

Coach Bob Sawyer, long-time coach in swimming and other sports at Grimsley High School is still with us, but I am pretty sure Coach Slayton is older than Coach Sawyer….Coach Steve Hankins, from Dudley High School, Ragsdale High School, Northeast High School, Page High School and maybe other Guilford County Schools is still among us, as is John Harder, former basketball coach at Ragsdale High School, and so is Coach David Price, the former boys basketball coach at Dudley High School…

But many of those former GCS coaches are much younger than Coach Slayton, and one more we can add in is, Mike Raybon, the former wrestling coach at Ragsdale High School…

I have brought a lot of the former coaches’ names into play here today, but I do believe Coach Bill Slayton is our elder statesman at age 91 years old…

Bill Slayton is a former military man, who served his country well, and what better day to be honoring him than on his birthday, here on the Fourth of July….He is from up in Granite Falls, North Carolina and he played football and baseball back in his high school days up at Granite Falls…After high school he entered the Air Force, I think it was, and he flew on many flights during his time in the Air Force…

Upon finishing up his four-year hitch in the Air Force, he began attending Appalachian State Teachers College, up in Boone, N.C., and he played baseball for the Mountaineers, while earning his teaching degree…Coach Slayton got that teaching degree and taught some on the junior high, and high school level up around Lenoir, N.C., and also began to get his feet wet in coaching….

After spending a couple of years in the coaching and teaching trade up around his home part of the state, Coach Slayton got the call to head down to Piedmont-Triad, and he was asked to take over a teaching position, and also become the head football and baseball coach, at Southeast Guilford High School…

Now at 91 years old, Coach Slayton looks back at those early days at Southeast Guilford High School…Principal Cox brought Coach Slayton and his wife Darcy in to visit the then fairly new school, there in the Forest Oaks area, and Forest Oaks was just pretty much a bunch of Oak trees back in those days…It was the mid-1960’s and during his meeting with SEG Falcons’ Principal Cox, the overall conversation went good, but they never really got into the current state of the Southeast Guilford Athletic facilities…

Southeast Guilford was still fairly new as a high school, but their football field was not in very good condition at all….Coach Slayton said YES, and took the coaching and teaching job at SEG, before he saw the field, and by time he got a good look at it, it was too late to turn back, and head back up toward Granite Falls…

For everything Granite Falls was, Southeast Guilford was not…It was going to be tough enough to get the football team winning, they did not win a single game, the year before Coach Slayton arrived…And the football field was like a miniature rock quarry….There were rocks everywhere on that football field, and good grass was hard to find…

But, that didn’t stop The Old Coach…Coach Slayton, along with his wife, and others got to work moving out the rocks, and moving in the football players…

The field/stadium you see today at Southeast Guilford High School, named in honor of The Old Coach, and called Bill Slayton Stadium, it has come a long way over the years, and Coach Bill Slayton, made that stadium, and that school’s football team, what it is today….

He is still “Tough as Nails”, and could still kick a few tails, if necessary…Coach Slayton kicked up some dust and some rocks, and got that very first team of his at Southeast Guilford to win three games, and after not winning a single game in the years before Bill Slayton arrived at SEG, the Bill Slayton era was off to a great start, and by the time the late 1960’s got here, Coach Slayton had his young men winning 7-8 football games each season….And that was while playing in that very tough Mid-State 3-A Conference…

Coach Slayton’s 1969 baseball team at Southeast Guilford HS, led by Terry Clapp, who later signed with the Baltimore Orioles, the 1969 SEG Falcons won the NCHSAA 3-A State Baseball Title/Championship…Coach Bill Slayton was coaching Champions at Southeast Guilford, and he had to kick a few tails along the way, but “Boy Did It Pay Off”, to the tune of a State Title…

A baseball State Title, and in football he made it to the NCHSAA Semifinals in the Fall of 1969…There was a time when Coach Bill Slayton had one of the top recognized high school football teams in the state of North Carolina….Doug Humble, Charlie Welch, Don Causey, Smokey Graves, Ernie Woods, Charlie Gamble III, David Bain, Clint Woods, just to name a few(there were many others)…

There was a time, right there in the mid-1970’s when the local Mid-State 3-A Conference had three of the Top Running Backs in the history of North Carolina high school football…Southeast Guilford HS, coached by Bill Slayton, had Ernie Woods….Ragsdale HS, coached by Richard/Dick Kemp, had Ricky Adams…Western Guilford HS, coached by Doug Henderson, had Herbert Pressley…

Ernie Woods had his pick of any college in the state, but chose to stay close to home and attended Elon College…Ricky Adams was the top RB in the state his senior year at Ragsdale, and he joined on at N.C. State…Herbert Pressley had letters from every college on the east coast, and I even saw one of his recruiting letters that came in from Notre Dame, but I think Herbert passed on college and went right to work, coming out of high school…These three running backs would all start in the upcoming East-West All-Stars Game, if they were playing today…..

That is the kind of talent that was around back when Bill Slayton was wearing the whistle down at Southeast Guilford High School…And as was the case in all the jobs he accepted, Coach Bill Slayton went in and got the job done, at Southeast Guilford HS….

We have given you more of the history and the tradition of the Bill Slayton Story in this year’s edition of the Bill Slayton Birthday Bash…Ninety-one(91) years old, and still going strong….He and his wife Darcy are leading a quiet life these days, down in the eastern part of Guilford County…

But every year around this time, his ears and eyes perk up, because The Old Coach knows it is time for his Birthday, it is the Fourth of July, and he is going to enjoy it, and take/soak it all in, and he hopes to be doing it all again, next year, in 2023….

Happy Birthday to Coach Bill Slayton, a true Guilford County treasure, and let’s all meet right here next year, to honor The Old Coach, once again…

He is a member of the Guilford County Sports Hall of Fame, and he is a lifelong member of the GreensboroSports.com All-Stars…

Enjoy this day Coach Bill Slayton, and if you get a chance, give him a call, or drop him a letter or shoot him a text message, wishing Coach Bill Slayton the best birthday on July 4, 2022…

“Tough as Nails”, and could still be kicking some tails, if necessary…..Ninety-one(91) and still getting the job done, Coach Bill Slayton, a friend to all, and a Coach for Life

++++++++++Some more of those former coaches that are getting a bit older now, but they are still with us, and still going strong:
Jackie Joyce(Smith HS/Baseball), Bill Bookout(Northeast Guilford HS/Football and Soccer), Charlie Groves(Northwest Guilford HS/Football and Track), Mac Morris(Page High School/Boys Basketball and Tennis), Page football assistants, Frank Starling and Clayton Nance, Phil Weaver(Grimsley HS/Boys and Girls Basketball, Softball), Coach Mickie Tuttle(Western Guilford HS/Volleyball, Girls Basketball, Track, Tennis), Sharon Parks(Southern Guilford and Northern Guilford HS/Volleyball and Girls Basketball)….And we for sure have more, so feel free to add/post them in here, in the Comment Box.++++++++++