Top 10 of 2014: Washington loses a legendary pair of motivators–Coaches Dave Smith and Greg Rowe pass in 2014
Published 11:59 am Monday, December 29, 2014
The man Naismith Hall of Famer Dominique Wilkins called the greatest coach he’s ever had “on any level” passed away on Wednesday, July 23.
Coach Dave Smith was a legend in the Washington community, leading the Pam Pack basketball program to a 520-233 record from 1972-1991. The longest tenured coach in team history also was the only one to reach the top. Smith’s teams reached the state championship in 1975, ’76, ’78 and ’79, combining for four of the program’s six total appearances. Powered by four eventual Division I collegiate players, Washington went undefeated in ’78 and ’79 and won the program’s only two state championships.
Smith was named North Carolina Coach of the Year in 1979 and was inducted into the NCHSAA Hall of Fame in 2004.
In December 2011, Washington High School honored its celebrated coach by renaming the gymnasium in his honor.
Just two weeks after Smith’s passing, TEACH head coach Greg Rowe suddenly passed away at the age of 45. Rowe spearheaded a Trailblazers girls’ basketball program from its inception in 2008 and turned a collection unproven, undersized players into a force on the hardwood.
During the 2012-2013 season, the TEACH girls won the North Carolina Christian Conference regular season and tournament, dominating all who crossed the team’s path and finishing with a 24-4 record. That same season, Rowe tacked on a North Carolina Christian Athletic Association State Championship and a fourth-place finish in the National Association of Christian Athletes National Tournament to his resume.
Rowe meshed unquestioned basketball intelligence with an intense coaching style, while always having the individual player’s best interest at hand — academics. After a couple of seasons, soon other NCISAA-sanctioned programs became fearful of scheduling the small homeschool team from Beaufort County, as it became known as one of the state’s best.
Smith and Rowe had entirely different resumes, but similar makeups as role models and motivators.