One of the Top Wrestling Coaches in Guilford County High School History has left us: Mike Raybon(Ragsdale HS/Southwest Guilford HS) gone, but never forgotten

from Ragsdale High School and their outstanding Athletic Director Debbie Jones:
It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Coach Mike Raybon, a beloved figure in our community and a true legend in the world of wrestling. Coach Raybon passed away last night, leaving behind a profound impact on the lives of countless athletes and colleagues.

Coach Raybon dedicated his life to the pursuit of excellence in athletics, particularly as an esteemed wrestling coach and a long-time athletic director. His passion for the sport was unparalleled, and his commitment to nurturing young talent was truly remarkable.

In recognition of his outstanding contributions, Coach Raybon was inducted into the prestigious NCHSAA Hall of Fame in 2005. This honor stands as a testament to his exceptional coaching abilities and the positive influence he had on the wrestling community at large.

At Ragsdale High School, Coach Raybon’s impact was so profound that the gymnasium was named after him, forever commemorating his dedication and legacy. His leadership and guidance inspired countless athletes, instilling in them the values of discipline, perseverance, and sportsmanship.

Coach Raybon’s passing leaves a void in our hearts, but his memory will forever be cherished. His unwavering commitment to his athletes and his unwavering passion for the sport of wrestling will continue to inspire generations to come.

We extend our deepest condolences to Coach Raybon’s family, friends, and all those whose lives he touched. The loss of such an extraordinary individual is felt deeply in our community, and we stand together in mourning his passing.

In honor of Coach Raybon, the family will be organizing a memorial event to celebrate his life and commemorate his enduring legacy. Details of the memorial will be shared in the coming week.

Stack them up and I remember the ones from back in the early to mid 1970’s, and that lineup would include:
Prince Deese-Wrestling State Champion at 167 pounds…
Jim Horney-Conference and Regional Champion
Steve Horney-Conference and Regional Champion at 126 pounds
Joe Cox-Conference and Regional Champion at 98/105 pounds
David McDade-Conference Champion at Heavyweight
Jermoe Lewis-Conference Champion at 155 pounds
Reggie Tice-Conference Champion at 167 pounds
A little later in the mid 1980’s…David Lancaster Conference and Regional Champion at 189 pounds

I did all those guys from memory, so if I missed a few, my apologies…We remember Coach Rabon and his squeaky voice, and we know he was a collge Wrestling Champion at Appalachian State University….Nobody else out there like Mike Raybon, he was also the AD at Ragsdale and at Southwest Guilford HS…One of kind, and they don’t come along like this man every day…One of the All-Time Great high school wrestling coaches in Guilford County and in the entire state of North Carolina….

Time for the Ten Bell Salute, or unfortunately the Three-Count…The old one, two, three, and take it from me, this man will be remembered, and never be forgotten in, or outside of the Wrestling Circles..Squared Circle, Round Circle, SemiCircle, you name it….

RIP:Mike Raybon….And a job well done….

from the Cumby Funeral Home in High Point, N.C.:
Michael Thomas Raybon, Sr. (83) of Jamestown NC passed away on May 16, 2024. He was a beloved husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, and friend who will be deeply missed by all who knew him.

Mike was born on May 1, 1941 in Waynesville NC, a son of the late Marvin and Helen Raybon. He spent his formative years in Catawba NC, graduating from Bandys High School. He went on to attend and graduate from Appalachian State in 1963, with a BS in Education, a healthy passion for amateur wrestling, and a deep love for his future bride, Kathleen.

In 1965, Mike became a Special Education teacher and began the wrestling program at Ragsdale High School. For over 40 years, Mike was an iconic figure at Ragsdale and Southwest Guilford High Schools, serving as Teacher, Coach, Athletic Director, and Assistant Principal. His professional impact in sports was felt both locally and across the state as he repeatedly took on leadership roles in officiating, conference management, and tournament development. Despite his success, awards, and honors, he became known for his humility and professionalism, a relentless pursuit of excellence, and a passion for service to others- especially his family. Mike always found ways to inspire and spend quality time with them, modeling the ideals and behaviors of a good husband, father, and son. In addition to his parents, preceding him in death were his brothers Ronnie, Bill, and John Raybon.

Mike is survived by his loving wife of 59 years, Kathi, and their three children: son Chip and his wife Laura, son Kirk and his wife Hannah, and daughter Keri. He will be lovingly remembered as “Poppy” by Chip and Laura’s children: Benjamin (Amanda) and Jacob (Breann) Phillips, Anna Grace (Mitchell) Underwood, and Chloe, Gabriel, and Samuel Raybon; by Kirk and Hannah’s children: Noel, Gus, Finch, and Joss Raybon; by Keri’s son, Chase Gurney; and by great-grandchildren Kent, Nora, and Rylee Phillips. He is also survived by his brother, Tom. He will be remembered fondly as “Coach” by thousands of former students, athletes, and colleagues.

The family extends a special “thank you” to those who cared for Mike in the final days of his life. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made in his name to Hospice Home at High Point, the Ragsdale Athletic Booster Club, and the North Carolina High School Athletics Association.

A public Community Celebration of Life will be held at 2:00pm on Sunday, June 2, 2024 in the Mike Raybon Gymnasium at Ragsdale High School.

from the/his 2005 NCHSAA Hall of Fame Induction:
Mike Raybon has made enormous contributions to general high school athletics and wrestling in North Carolina. A graduate of Bandys High in Catawba County, Raybon earned his BS degree at Appalachian State in 1963 and began his teaching and coaching career. From 1965 to ’84, he was the head wrestling coach at Ragsdale, where he started the program. He posted a 216-45-2 mark in that sport, including seven unbeaten seasons, 14 conference championships, and three state championships. He served as assistant principal at Ragsdale for a couple of years and then eight years at Southwest Guilford before returning to Ragsdale in ’95 as athletic director, a position he currently holds. He has won numerous Coach of the Year awards at the conference and state level and, for years, either directed or served as a consultant for the NCHSAA state wrestling championships, helping turn it into a signature event. He has also served as commissioner for several high school athletic conferences and, for over 30 years, was an outstanding wrestling official.

2 thoughts on “One of the Top Wrestling Coaches in Guilford County High School History has left us: Mike Raybon(Ragsdale HS/Southwest Guilford HS) gone, but never forgotten

  1. Coach Rayburn was one hell of a man! I remember being with him back in the early 70’s when I was at Ragsdale. I had let my hair get a little too long for Coach. When he saw me he would come up and grab my ear and let me know it was time to get my hair cut, because it should not ever touch your ears!

  2. We used to have those weigh-ins before every match on those Doctor’s Office scales, and the Wrestling official/referee would oversee the weigh-ins and nod his head if you passed…Also no facial hair whatsoever, and if had any hair on your face you had to shave before the matches…Also no sideburns below the earlobe…

    It was an interesting fratenity back then with Coach Raybon at Ragsdale, Bill Hollifield at Western Guilford, Jerry Reittenger at Northwest Guilford, Dennis Barbour at Grimsley, Bill Bookout at Northeast Guilford, Frank Starling at Page, all of them among our local high school wrestling coaches back then….I think Jim Horney took over as coach at Southern Guilford sometime in that era too…There was no SWG, no Northern Guilford, Southeast Guilford did not have a wrestling team, and Bill Boyers might have been the coach over at Dudley back then….AD

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