This award is in honor of 2016 NCISAA Hall of Famer, Doug Cobbs. He served the NCISAA on the Board of Directors/Board of Managers for 25 years, retiring in the summer of 2015. He was a part of the growth of the NCISAA into 3 divisions, the inclusion of 7th graders in varsity sports, and was the Sport Chair for Softball as it transitioned from slow pitch to fast pitch. Doug was willing to serve the NCISAA in any way he could as he embodied the spirit of volunteerism. For all of his tireless efforts, the NCISAA honored Doug Cobbs and his career by naming, in 2015, its Distinguished Service Award on his behalf.
2019 – Leigh Harris
Leigh Harris began his teaching and coaching career at Christ School in the summer of 1990. In his previous 15 years of teaching he had taught various levels of mathematics, and coached wrestling and football at three other high schools. While at Christ School, he had been a house parent, wrestling coach, Outdoor Program Director and math teacher. Coaching wrestling, however, has been a life-long passion for Leigh. He has been a participant, coach, or referee in the sport now for over 50 years and was recently inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame for Distinguished Service to the sport of wrestling. He is currently the Regional Supervisor of wrestling officials in the Mountain Area. Leigh retired from full time teaching this past June (2019) after 29 years of service at Christ School. During that time he set up an organized and consistent format for the NCISAA State Wrestling Tournament. He is now responsible for the set up and directing of the tournament and will continue in that role as well as remaining the Sport Chair for the wrestling program in the NCISAA. For all of his Leigh’s efforts towards the sport of wrestling and for running the NCISAA Wrestling Championships, the NCISAA Board of Advisors has awarded Leigh Harris with the Doug Cobbs Distinguished Service Award.
2019 – Billy Thorne
Billy Thorne, for 21 years, taught health and PE and was the head swimming boys and girls swimming coach at Ravenscroft School. During that span, he led the Ravens swim teams to 13 boys and 3 girls swim championships. In 1982, Billy spearheaded the Independent HS Invitational Swim Meet which was the precursor to the NCISAA Swimming State Championships. From 1982 and on, Billy was involved with the state championship both as a coach and/or running the event. In 2012, Billy was instrumental in moving the NCISAA swimming championships to the Greensboro Aquatic Center. The GAC is a world-class swimming facility in which the NCISAA runs all three divisions with over 800 swimmers in a one-day state championship. Since 2012, Billy has been the meet director for the NCISAA Swimming Championships. For all of his efforts with NCISAA swimming, The NCISAA Board of Advisors awarded Billy with the Doug Cobbs Distinguished Service Award.
2016 – Durwood Laughinghouse
Durwood Laughinghouse graduated from Asheville School where he played basketball and ran cross country. He became a distinguished graduate of NC State and Wake Forest Law School before practicing law in Raleigh. He is presently a Vice President of Norfolk and Southern Railroad. His love of sports has never diminished and he was quick to come to the assistance of the NCISAA in its nascent years and was responsible for writing our original by- laws. Over the years, he has produced all 10 subsequent versions. All of this, and his attendance at most of our Board of Director and many of our Board of Manager meetings have been done pro bono. He has simply donated countless hours of service to our organization. As the complexity of the NCISAA grew, he was increasingly called upon to council the Executive Director and both boards on matters of legality. While there have been several threats, the NCISAA has never been in a court of law. This is due largely to Mr. Laughinghouse’s sage advice. For all of this, the NCISAA Board of Managers has awarded Durwood Laughinghouse with the Doug Cobbs Distinguished Service Award.
2016 – Tom Slater
Tom does one thing for the NCISAA. But he does this so very well, that the NCISAA Board of Managers awarded Tom with the Doug Cobbs Distinguished Service Award. Tom, who is an Aviation Manager, serves as the announcer for the NCISAA basketball championships. Since the NCISAA combined the 1A, 2A, and 3A basketball tournaments in 2004, Tom has always been the announcer. His organization and time management of the tournament are unsurpassed. He begins the tournament on Thursday calling all the quarter-final games from 10am till 10pm. The quarter-finals are followed by the semi-finals on Friday from 4pm till 10pm. Then the championships run from 10am till 10pm on Saturday. Tom does all of this free of charge to the association. For all of his efforts and for how well he does the announcing, the NCISAA Board of Managers awarded Tom with the Doug Cobbs Distinguished Service Award.
2015 – Steve Dahl
Steve Dahl was a teacher, coach, and Athletic Director for The O’Neal School for twenty-three years. During this span, Steve also served on the NCISAA Board of Managers both as a representative of his conference and as an at-large member. With his vast knowledge of golf and running, Steve quickly became the NCISAA’s go-to person for how to run the NCISAA cross country and track championships as well as the golf championships. Steve also served as sport manager for boys and girls lacrosse. Steve was also an official for several sports. This experience also helped the board forge a solid relationship with our public school counterpart and all things officiating. For his can-do attitude and willingness to take on several sport manager hats, the NCISAA Board of Managers awarded Steve with the inaugural Doug Cobbs Distinguished Service Award.
2015 – Doug Cobbs
Doug Cobbs was a teacher, coach, and Athletic Director for thirty years at Ridgecroft School. During his tenure, he taught Health, P.E., and History. He coached soccer, boys basketball, girls basketball, and softball. He served the NCISAA on the Board of Directors/Board of Managers for 25 years, retiring in the summer of 2015. He was a part of the growth of the NCISAA into 3 divisions, the inclusion of 7th graders in varsity sports, and was the Sport Chair for Softball as it transitioned from slow pitch to fast pitch. Doug always put the kids first and has always been the voice for the 1A schools. In 2015, the NCISAA honored Doug Cobbs and his career by naming its Distinguished Service Award on his behalf.
2010 – Kathy Bailey
In 1985, the NCISAA made a fortuitous determination to hire its first paid employee, Kathy Bailey. For the past 28 years, the association has benefitted from her exceptional work ethic and intelligence. From her college days, when family took precedence over a planned career in medicine, she has devoted herself to helping others. The NCISAA has greatly benefited from her nearly three decades of work. From her unfailing helpfulness, to anyone calling our office, to countless hours assembling minutes from two separate boards, to compiling research from past decisions, to set precedence for future positions for the organization; she has proven herself to be invaluable in the development of the NCISAA. In fact, perhaps no one understands the machinations of our organization as completely as Kathy. Across the state, so many people understand that if they need assistance with NCISAA matters, Kathy will unfailingly be willing to lend a helping hand. In short, the NCISAA is a far better organization for the dedication and professionalism of Kathy Bailey.
2008 – Mike Williams
Mike has been referred to as “the Historian of the NCISAA.” He has files replete with momentos, records, articles and pictures of NCISAA events dating back to the seventies. In 2008, Mike was honored by being the recipient of the inaugural NCISAA Service Award for his many contributions and service to the NCISAA. Since 2000, Mike has been partners with the association and NCISAA sports on the NCPrivateSchoolSports.com website, including reporting scores, writing articles and providing photographs, assisting with team rankings in all sports and just generally being a goodwill ambassador for the NCISAA.