While Friday’s conference game between North Brunswick and Southwest Onslow was an important matchup for two teams searching for their first win in league play, the Scorpions took time before kickoff to celebrate longtime coach Garry Bishop by naming the football stadium and track complex in his honor.
Bishop announced this spring he’d be stepping down as head of the program after more than two decades. Since taking over the Scorpions program in 1993, he retired from teaching and coaching football in March, but will stay on as the North Brunswick track and field coach after helping guide the team to six state team championships and numerous individual achievements.
“Tonight is just a culmination of 25 years of being at North,” said North Brunswick Athletic Director Randy Fennell. “It’s not just about the success he’s brought to this school, but the positive influence he’s had on a lot of kids and we had to recognize that. You don’t see many coaches stick around through the ups and downs at the same school and we wanted to reward him for those efforts to show him his work meant something.
“He’s touched many members of this community, has developed many strong relationships and generations to come will know him because of it.”
A graduate of East Carolina, Bishop began his coaching career at the middle school level and was hired as an assistant at North Brunswick in 1990 before taking the head coaching position from Gary Baldwin three years later.
He is credited with turning around a team that enjoyed just one winning season in the two decades leading up to his time on the sidelines in Leland. Bishop finished his career with a 155-94 record and served as the longest tenured coach among the high school football teams in Brunswick, New Hanover and Pender counties during that time period.
“Obviously, I’m honored and not too many people get to experience what I was able to tonight,” said Bishop. “I didn’t expect it, ask for it and it was a big surprise to me. When I think about it, it makes me very proud of this school, this community and how it’s developed and grown over the years.
“I think about all the coaches and athletes I’ve been around and how they’ve gone on to be successful men and women, teachers, coaches, doctors, lawyers. It makes me feel really good to know they were a part of it.”
Bishop has also done a great job in pointing the attention to the kids and assistant coaches for the accolades and it was no different on Friday night.
“I never cared about awards, trophies; everything was for the kids,” Bishop said. “Seeing them excited and growing – individual awards never meant much to me. It’s just a blessing.”
As for the game, De’Angelo Walker had a monster game in the backfield for North Brunswick as the Scorpions grabbed a 12-0 victory. Walker scored just before the half to extend the Scorpions’ lead after Jathan Deberry found the end zone from four yards out late in the opening period.
North Brunswick improved to 1-1 in league play and 4-3 overall.