Heading down the stretch of the top moments in Port City Daily Sports for 2015, October saw new beginnings for the one professional team in Wilmington, while local fans honored a longtime football coach along with the much awaited return of Connor Barth to the NFL.
Cape Fear Community College got their basketball season underway with a national ranking, but the program took time to remember a Sea Devil. Mideastern Conference Golfer of the Year Caroline Cahill also closed a memorable high school career with a runner-up performance at the 4A Championship at Pinehurst.
While Cape Fear Community College men’s basketball team was enjoying the fruits of their labor with a preseason national ranking following its second straight appearance to the National Junior College Athletic Association Tournament, Coach Ryan Mantlo expressed his deepest sympathies to the family of Riley LaRue, who passed away in a car accident.
Riley LaRue was 19 and the oldest son of former Wake Forest basketball and football Hall of Famer Rusty LaRue. A graduate of East Forsyth High School, LaRue spent some time as a member of the Wilmington community and redshirted under Mantlo last season.
Wilmington Hammerheads FC announced that Mark Briggs had been appointed head coach for the upcoming 2016 USL regular season. Briggs was the club’s assistant coach during the 2015 USL regular season alongside former head coach Carson Porter. Porter stepped down from the role in September following the end of the season.
Barth was headed back to Tampa Bay for the third time in one year in early October as the former Hoggard High School standout was signed by the Buccaneers organization. The move came after the release of rookie Kyle Brindza, who had been the team’s starter through their first four games.
North Brunswick High School also celebrated 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.
Bishop 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. He 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.