Frank R. Barger, Sr.
earned recognition as head football coach at Hickory High School for 32 years between 1953 and 1984 amassing 25 winning seasons. Under Barger, the Red Tornadoes rose to prominence capturing 11 conference titles and winning 230 games while losing just 103 contests. A native of China Grove and a graduate of Lenoir-Rhyne College, Barger also coached four other sports at Hickory High compiling over 625 victories in five (5) different sports while earning 29 conference titles. Barger retired in1984. His wife Becky still lives in Hickory.
Jerry R. Copas
gained recognition as boys head basketball coach at Fred T. Foard High School for 29 years and became one of the winningest coaches in North Carolina High School basketball. Under Copas, the Tigers recorded 460 victories in men’s basketball and captured 10 conference or tournament titles. A native of Catawba County, Copas was born in Brookford and was a 1957 graduate of Lenoir-Rhyne College after serving the U.S. Army. Copas started his high school coaching career at Newton-Conover High School only to leave in 1960. He also coached women’s basketball at Fred T. Foard High school for five (5) seasons, winning five (5) conference titles. Copas also coached in football and baseball serving under six (6) football coaches for the Tigers while winning over 200 games on the diamond. His 1976 team finished state runner-up in baseball. Copas retired as head coach in 1989 after one season as head basketball coach at West Lincoln High School. Copas currently resides in Hickory.
Harry F. Frye
gained recognition for guiding the St. Stephens High School baseball squad to three (3) consecutive state championships from 1971 – 1973. Under Frye, the Tribe’s record was (343-179) and captured 13 conference championships in 24 seasons. A native of Hickory, Frye dedicated much time and effort to the young people in the St. Stephens community. Besides piloting the baseball team, he also coached boy’s basketball for 15 years; football for six (6) seasons; wrestling for a year and was the school’s athletic director for several seasons. Today, Frye is retired and lives in Hickory.
C. O. Miller, Jr.
earned recognition for being the pioneer and director of the Hickory Foundation Center for 34 years. Called one of Hickory’s most valuable citizens, Miller ran the foundation Center and influenced thousands of youth throughout the Hickory area from 1963 to 1997. A native of Hickory, Miller presided over many organizations and hundreds of youth sports teams and leagues. Miller’s wife, Carolyn said, “C.O.’s life and passion was the Hickory Foundation Center”. Carolyn Miller currently resides in Hickory.
2002 High School Student Athletes of the Year
Bandys High School – Lindsay Pope – Matt Hildebran
Bunker Hill High School – Dirriel Kale – Aleea McCullough
Fred T. Foard High School – Stacy Cline – Jason Hoyle
Hickory High School – Jose Zavala – Shannon Brewer
Maiden High School – Candall Lester – Lamont Reid
Newton-Conover High School – Kelly Wentz – Andrew Arndt
St. Stephens High School – Ian Justice – Carole Williams