Hall of Fame: Catawba inducts four
By Mike London
SALISBURY — Dwayne Brewington’s mother wasn’t pleased.
She thought they were booing her son — in his home gym — until he explained Catawba basketball fans were saying “Brew!” — not “Boo!”
The 6-foot-7 Brewington, most accurate field-goal shooter in Catawba history, rarely gave anyone a reason to voice displeasure. A key component of some of coach Sam Moir’s greatest squads, Brewington was inducted into the Catawba Sports Hall of Fame on Saturday, just a few yards from the Goodman Gym baskets where he connected on 61.5 percent of his shots from 1979-82.
Joining Brewington in Catawba’s 34th induction class were girls basketball coaching icon Lonnie Chandler (Class of 1963), Tony DiPaolo (Class of 1959), revered in the Pennsylvania prep football ranks, and Monté Jackson Turner (Class of 1994), a standout for the Indians in volleyball and women’s basketball.
When Catawba development officer Gordon Kirkland phoned Brewington to inform him of his selection to the Hall, he wasn’t in, so an administrative assistant took a message.
“He told me Catawba called and wanted me to be in the Hall of Fame,” Brewington said. “I thought it must be one of my old teammates playing a joke on me. I didn’t call back.”
Fortunately, it’s 2011, and there are new ways to contact people. Catawba secretaries tracked down Brewington on facebook in a matter of minutes. It was through that social network that he learned the mysterious phone call was no prank.
A minister in Maryland, Brewington said his Hall induction will boost his credibility with his congregation.
“It’s a validation,” he said with a laugh. “Now they’re going to be like, ‘Oh, you really could play.’ ”
Brewington was a thin freshman.
“We went 9-19, and I was the starting center at 185 pounds,” he said. “That’s why we were 9-19.”
It got better. Brewington’s class included brilliant scorer Dwayne Grant, and they teamed with Noah Mason, Cleve McRae and Matt Weber to make Catawba a national force in NAIA. The Indians were 51-13 in Brewington’s last two seasons.
“Mason was the best I ever played with, and Weber maximized his ability more than anyone I ever saw,” Brewington said. “Matt became the center and let me move to forward. Thank God for Matt Weber.”
Brewington scored 1,319 points and pulled down 862 rebounds (seventh all-time), but the game most Catawba fans remember from his era was the 10-9 stall-ball victory in the 1980 Carolinas Conference Tournament championship game.
n Any conversation about girls basketball in North Carolina has to include Chandler’s name. His North Stanly program was dominant for most of his 33 years at the helm, and he piled up 556 wins. To put that “556” in perspective, Jesse Watson, who coached 324 girls basketball wins at East, is the runaway all-time leader in Rowan County. Chandler had 29 winning seasons and put up 16 title banners from 1964-1997.
His 1976 team, led by future Maryland star Krystal Kimrey, won the Western North Carolina High School Activities Association crown.
North Stanly also was 25-3 the year after Kimrey graduated, when Chandler was supposed to take his lumps. What many failed to consider was that he had built a great program, not just one tremendous team.
“Surround yourself with good people and have high expectations for your team because players will play up — or down — to those expectations,”Chandler said. “That’s the secret to coaching success.”
Chandler knew when he was playing sports at old New London High that he wanted to coach. That’s because he wanted to emulate his own coach — Joe “Fireball” Kelly.
North Stanly basketball was a family affair. Chandler’s wife, Linda, kept the scorebook. His daughters, Amy (1985) and Joanna (1991), led teams coached by their father to Western Regionals.
Chandler also coached football at North Stanly and was AD 25 years. While still coaching his high school team, he started a winning women’s basketball program from scratch at Pfeiffer — with no recruits. With just four players available for a game at Lenoir-Rhyne, he drove around campus until he found a volunteer to serve as a fifth person.
“It was lonely on the bench,” he said. “But we won that game.”
Chandler credits himself with half a win and half a loss for one road game at Spartanburg.
“Early in the second half, the ref says, ‘Game’s over.’ I asked him what he’s talking about, and he says it’s time for the men to play,” Chandler said. “I wasn’t too happy.”
Female athletics have come a long way. Chandler played a big role.
Chandler also was something of a prophet. Asked by the Salisbury Post’s Ed Dupree for a pregame prediction on a North Stanly-Davie NPC tournament championship matchup, Chandler consented to write his pick down on a folded piece of paper and handed it to Dupree.
The pick: North Stanly by 9.
The result: North Stanly by 9.
n DiPaolo spent 56 years in football as a player and coach. A lineman, he was the only four-year starter there’s ever been at Pennsylvania’s Berwick High.
He started as a freshman at Bloomsburg State before joining the U.S. Marine Corps. He played football for Quantico, was named to the all-service team, and suited up against future NFL Hall of Famers Sam Huff and Ollie Matson.
He came to Catawba in 1958 and was a three-year all-league pick at guard. He was named to the North Carolina All-State team in 1958.
DiPaolo began coaching at China Grove High in 1959 — the late Lope Linder hired him — then spent two years at newly opened South Rowan.
“After that, I figured if I was going to stay in coaching I’d better go where the money was,” DiPaolo said. “I was making $2,700 a year in North Carolina. They paid me $3,100 in Pennsylvania.”
He spent most of his career at Lancaster’s Catholic High, posting a record of 156-97-6 in 25 seasons.
Catawba is his fourth Hall of Fame nod. When he was inducted into the Pennsylvania High School Hall in 2008, he received an honorary ring from legendary Joe Paterno.
n Turner, SAC Freshman of the Year in 1990 and All-SAC for three seasons, is Catawba’s all-time leader in volleyball blocks (290) and piled up 33 in one amazing match. She still ranks fifth in kills (1,349).
“Volleyball was my passion,” the North Forsyth High product said.
Turner also was a 1,000-point scorer in basketball and ranks 11th all-time. She’s fifth in school history with 792 career rebounds.
Turner was a key member of championship teams in both sports.
“I set some goals for myself 20 years ago, and I achieved the last one today with this induction,” a beaming Turner said. “Today, the girl from Rural Hall with the big smile is in the Hall of Fame.”