Chowan honors legendary Southampton coach

Published 9:51 am Friday, November 4, 2011


Wayne Cosby, left, accepts his Chowan University/Jim Garrison Sports Hall of Fame plaque and ring from Dr. Chris White, president of the university. -- CAL BRYANT | ROANOKE-CHOWAN NEWS-HERALD

MURFREESBORO, N.C.—Wayne Cosby, the legendary coach who carried Southampton High School to a 128-8-2 record from 1966 to 1980 — including a then national record 69-game win streak — was inducted into the Chowan University/Jim Garrison Sports Hall of Fame on Saturday.

Retired Chowan University Baseball Coach Jerry Hawkins inducted Cosby, a standout pitcher for Chowan from 1959-1961.

“Wayne was the type of person that did what he was told to do,” Hawkins said. “He was a member of a team that lost only two games, including 2-1 to a team that went on to win the National Junior College championship.”

Cosby created one of the most dominant high school football teams in Virginia. From 1972-1979 his Southampton teams played in eight straight Virginia High School State Championship games and won four AA titles. He was runner-up for National Coach of the Year in 1979.

“Those numbers say a lot about the man, the coach, that Wayne Cosby became,” Hawkins said. “Not only did his players excel on the football field; many went on to become teachers, doctors, attorneys, coaches, county administrators, ministers and business professionals.”

In 1981, Cosby was elected clerk of circuit court for Southampton County and the City of Franklin, holding that position until he retired in 2007.

“This is an honor, a privilege, and a very humbling experience for me to stand here and receive this recognition,” Cosby said after accepting his Hall of Fame plaque. “I express my deepest appreciation to all those who have made this day so special to (wife) Judi and I.”

Cosby recalled his first visit to Chowan from his hometown in Richmond. He liked what he saw, but didn’t care too much for the distance from the love of his life (Judi).

“I couldn’t visualize her being in Richmond and me being in Murfreesboro,” he said. “But she encouraged me to go to school. The week before I came to Chowan, Judi and I got married. Life for us started right here on this campus some 52 years ago. Life was tough back then, and there have been some other bumps along the way, but she has been with me, beside me and supported me for all these many years.”

Cosby said his wife worked at Howell Metal Co. in Murfreesboro to pay the bills, including the price of his Chowan education.

“She earned her degree while I was still in school….she earned a PHT, Push Hubby Through,” he chuckled. “I was smart not to leave that girl in Richmond. I loved her then and I love her even more today.”

Cosby recalled the lessons learned at Chowan, not just those confined to athletics. He said the professors made the material real, presenting it in a way that he could wrap his mind around.

“So many people, past and present, have made this university what it is today and I’m proud to call myself a Chowan graduate,” Cosby concluded.

Wayne and his wife are the parents of Calvin, Gay and Carol and grandparents of Olivia, Caroline, Ryan, Ford and Madelyn.