Bill Lake Scholarship awarded to Southside student-athletes

Published 5:09 pm Tuesday, June 11, 2019

CHOCOWINITY — In remembrance of former Southside High School’s girls basketball coach and teacher, Bill Lake, an annual scholarship was presented for the second year at the spring sports banquet last week at Southside. The recipients of this year’s awards are Kevin White, Luke Matthews, Madison Hudson and Hannah Ashby.

Bill Lake was originally from Carmel, Indiana. The 6’11 center went on to be a national champion on the North Carolina State basketball team in 1974 as a freshman. He was teammates with Wolfpack greats such as David Thompson, Tommy Burleson and Monte Towe. Lake later transferred to Miami University in Ohio.

Bill Lake and his wife, Cathy Lake, moved to Chocowinity in 2004. Lake coached the Northside girl’s basketball team for a season, before moving over to Southside the following year.

Bill Lake coached the 2011-12 Lady Seahawks team to a state championship game after defeating Lakewood in the regional final with an 84-75-overtime victory. They would lose the championship game to Bishop McGuinness.

Lake finished with a 59-41 overall record, and his game day attire — a sweater vest with a button down shirt and tie — is now retired on the wall of Southside’s gymnasium.

Coach Lake passed away in June of 2017 due to an unexpected heart attack that took his family by surprise. Cathy Lake and the family discussed a way to honor him, and they concluded the best way to do that, is by giving a $1000 scholarship to student-athletes toward the school of their choice.

“It is something that would’ve touched my husband greatly. He would’ve done something for those kids at Southside,” Cathy Lake said. “It means a lot because we believe in Southside and their athletics. Supporting those kids is what he loved.”

In its first year, the scholarships were pre-determined to go to the three basketball players Bill Lake coached in his final season during their freshman year.

This year, there was an application process. An essay with the question, “What does playing athletics do to prepare you for life?” was answered as well as others.

White, was the first of two male recipients of the scholarship; he will attend Campbell University next fall.

“It meant a lot to be chosen for this scholarship. Coach Lake is a legend at Southside. He touched so many people including myself even though he didn’t coach or teach me,” White said. “After he retired, he often substitute taught in which he continued to greatly influence students. Coach Lake was a special teacher and coach who will never be forgotten, and I am grateful to receive the award.”

Hudson was also a scholarship winner. She was humbled to be a recipient of the award and she’ll attend Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee next fall.

“Receiving this scholarship will help me obtain my education with less worry about my future regarding student debt,” Hudson said. “I am immensely grateful to those who were apart of the decision to grant me this scholarship, and words will never be able to fully express my gratitude.”