Nicole Davies

Hello! My name is Nicole and I am a Marine spouse and mother of three daughters, ages 16, 10, and 7. I have been a stay-at-home mom most of their lives while also pursuing my Master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy. In the past I have worked as a social worker for child welfare in the state of Pennsylvania. I have also taught preschool for ages 2.5 - 4. During my master’s program I interned as a therapist at an inpatient psychiatric hospital working with adults, teens, and kids. My ultimate goal is to become an independently licensed therapist. Our family has lived in Onslow County for 10 of the last 15 years, which has given my children a stability that is rare among military families. While NC has been my home for several years now, I am still a Yankee at heart! I will always choose a Philly cheesesteak over a pulled-pork sandwich. In addition to taking care of my family and my educational pursuits, I enjoy traveling to destinations near and far; a novel in which I can get lost; and chatting with friends over a good cup of coffee.

bill-mercer

They Call Him Coach

Coach Durham

One recent morning as I was on the way to work I looked over at the football practice taking place at Jacksonville High School. There is something so familiar and exciting about this time of the year.  Football is coming. What makes that doubly exciting to our family is that John and Drew are rising sophomores and now a definite part of the football culture at JHS.  The “program”  is getting good direction from our 2nd year man Beau Williams and the future looks promising. Looking over there I saw a familiar figure pacing the sidelines, observing, like he belonged there. Ray Durham does “belong there.” Though officially retired, the only real thing this guy is retired from is the everyday sweat and strain of active coaching. His legacy is alive, well and growing.

“Coach,” as he is affectionately known to the select and relatively few men, who had the honor of being members of his teams in North Carolina over the course of his Hall of Fame career, is the Godfather of coaches in these parts.   There is a Ray Durham Fraternity that is alive and well, full of his “boys”, spread out all over the country. They know who they are and they know how lucky they are.   The powerful teaching of Coach Durham has spawned many  successful leaders in all facets of society. He has many former assistants that have attained illustrious careers in their own rights. Durham’s legacy illustrates the  power of one man’s passion being perpetuated in the lives of so many. They all call him Coach.

That is why I am so glad my sons are playing football. There is nothing like the work it takes to create a football team. The payoff stays with you forever and comes to light in countless ways. Coach Durham has made an indelible mark.  He was tough as nails but every ”lad”  that I’ve ever talked to about him has spoken with an unmistakable reverence. He made those boys better men. Durham was a master at exposing and developing the characteristics that comprise champions.  Heart, guts and accountability come to mind when a Ray Durham team is discussed.

If my boys can feel what that feels like, the payoff is priceless. That knowledge will always be available, like a tool in the shed. The lessons from a great coach involve more than a book, they involve a combination of toil, sweat, brains, courage and wholehearted commitment. Coaching and teaching is quite a responsibility. Although I didn’t play for Coach Durham, I did play a little ball.  He has made quite an impression on lots of folks like me. Talk with you soon.

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4 Comments on “They Call Him Coach”

  • Jim Henderson August 7th, 2011 7:40 pm

    Bill, you have done it again. Great story!! Coach’s first year at JSHS was my senior year. I believe we were 8-3-1…and this might have been his worst year! I have picked myself “back up” many times during my career, and have been able to do so because of great coaches such as Ray Durham.

  • bill mercer August 7th, 2011 10:21 pm

    Thanks Jim! You are in a special group. Thanks for the comment. I think it’s important to let people know how you feel.Coach Durham has made quite a mark. So have you.

  • Becky Bartley August 8th, 2011 5:01 pm

    Absolutely wonderful! I hope “Coach” reads this…a real tribute to him!

  • bill mercer August 9th, 2011 9:55 am

    Thank you mam!

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