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Rocky Mount High head coach Mike Gainey yells instructions to his team Saturday March 3, 2010 during the first half of the NCHSAA 3-A state championship game against Concord at the Dean Smith Center in Chapel Hill.

Telegram photo / Alan Campbell

Rocky Mount High head coach Mike Gainey yells instructions to his team Saturday March 3, 2010 during the first half of the NCHSAA 3-A state championship game against Concord at the Dean Smith Center in Chapel Hill.

Rocky Mount High's Gainey wins prestigious NCHSAA award

By Jessie H. Nunery

Sports Editor

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Rocky Mount High athletics director Mike Gainey has enough credentials as a boys’ basketball coach to last a lifetime.

His teams have won a pair of NCSHAA 3-A state championships, the Gryphons are consistently one of the better programs in the state and many players have gone on to play at the next level.

It all makes Gainey a noteable name among the state’s coaching ranks, but his latest honor has nothing to do with Xs and Os.

Gainey was recognized this week by the North Carolina High School Athletic Association when he earned the Toby Webb Coach of the Year Award.

The honor, in its ninth year, is given to a pair of coaches each season who have made major contributions to the success of high school athletics and in the community.

Gainey will be honored along with Erwin Triton girls’ basketball coach Wendy Gaines at the NCHSAA’s annual meeting May 1 at the Dean Smith Center in Chapel Hill.

“Any time you get an award like that it makes you smile a bit,” Gainey said. “You have people who know what you are doing and are thankful for what you are doing. To nominate you for something like that is a big reward and very touching.”

Gainey, who has coached the Gryphons since 1997, helped create an area 3-on-3 basketball tournament in the area which promotes youth excellence. He also is an active member of Pittman Grove Missionary Baptist Church.

All of his activities in addition to the impact he has made at Rocky Mount, were factors in winning the award.

“It’s all about being a part of kids’ lives and helping them grow a bit,” Gainey said. “I’m giving back some of the things given to me as I was coming up. I had people bring me up through the ranks and take time to coach and push me along through my high school
career.”

Gainey was a late bloomer when it came to high school athletics.

He was a member of his high school’s band in Suffolk, Va., and it wasn’t his final two prep years that he played sports before eventually earning a spot on East Carolina’s football team.

“I didn’t have any knowledge of what I wanted to do,” Gainey said.

People often saw how he interacted with young adults, and soon enough, teaching and sports became his career.

And folks still are 
noticing.

“Wendy and Michael are dedicated professionals who epitomize in many ways the role of coaches and the far-reaching impact they have,” NCHSAA commissioner Davis Whitfield said in a statement. “They are most deserving of this recognition and receiving the prestigious Toby Webb Award is a credit to their service and dedication to young people.”

Jessie H. Nunery can be reached at 407-9959 or jhnunery@rmtelegram.com

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