NCHS Athletic Hall of Fame


The purpose of the Newton-Conover High School Athletic Hall of Fame is to recognize, honor, and provide an enduring memorial for those persons whose outstanding contributions have enriched the athletic program and brought honor and pride to the school.  The recognition of past individuals and their significant contributions to N-CHS Athletics will serve to provide models for future generations to emulate.


Categories of Inductees

Inductees shall be nominated or selected based on a predetermined category of Athlete, Coach, Other, Team or All-Around and submitted by December 31 of each year.   Applications will be reviewed and inductees will be selected by the N-CHS Athletic Hall of Fame committee.


Athlete - Any N-CHS graduate who received a varsity letter from the Newton-Conover High School Athletic Department in a sport sanctioned by the North Carolina High School Athletic Association.


Coach - Any N-CHS Varsity Head Coach with a minimum of seven years as the Head Coach in a Varsity Sport(s) at N-CHS.


Other - Any individual who has made significant contributions to the Newton-Conover High School Athletic Program.


Team - Any N-CHS Team that has contributed to N-CHS Athletics in an outstanding performance in multiple measures.  Measures to be based on End-of-season records, Post-season records & team success will determine consideration of HOF induction.  Team must have demonstrated the stellar performance at least 10 years prior to year of nomination.


All-Around - Must have been a former N-CHS Athlete who has served in an administrative, educational, and/or in auxiliary capacity within the N-CCS and/or N-CHS platform for a minimum of five(5) years.  Also has earned a minimum of two(2) All-Around honors in an N-CHS sport (example: All-Conference, All-County/Unifour, All-State, All-American, etc.)



There will be a five-year period after a person graduates before he/she can be nominated for the Hall of Fame.  There will be a three-year period following a coach’s last coaching assignment at N-CHS before he/she can be nominated for the Hall of Fame.


Athletic Hall of Fame Committee Members 2022-2023

Christine Barrymore, Class of 1982, N-CHS Athletic Hall of Fame Chairman

Todd Davis, N-CHS Assistant Principal / Athletic Director

Michael Lingle, Class of 1990, N-CHS Athletic Boosters Club President

Greg Hardy, Class of 2000, At-Large Member

Ashley Lamb, Class of 1993, At-Large Member

George Wilkinson, Class of 1968, At-Large Member

The Hall of Fame Committee is Looking for nominations for the 2024 class.  Nominate the Next Inductee...

Please nominate deserving athletes, coaches, teams, and/or major contributors to Newton-Conover Athletics program for the NCHS Athletic Hall of Fame.  Nominations are now being accepted.  Please contact us at , Todd Davis with any questions or use the link to print out form. HOF Nomination Form

Newton-Conover High School is proud to announce the 2020-2022 Newton-Conover High School Athletic Hall of Fame inductees. This year’s class includes Costella Corpening, Dick Gurley, Dennis Punch, 1992 Women's Basketball State Championship Team, Curtis Burgins, Bryan George and Jim Burgess.  

The 2020-2022 class features a variety of outstanding teams individuals who have left their mark as Newton-Conover Red Devils.

Costella Corpening coached football, basketball and baseball at Central HS from 1946-1966. Coach Corpening was referred to many of his former players as the gentle giant both on and off the field. Many have also indicated that he was the most influential man in their life other than their father. Coach Corpening won 80 football games as Coach at Central High. Over his 21 years of coaching football, Coach Corpening lost 49 and tied 11 games out of the 140 that he coached. His teams also won 3 Conference Championships and finished second 7 times. Even though Costella Corpening passed away 45 years ago, he is recognized as the greatest coach in the history of Central High School

Dick Curley coached football for Newton Conover High School for 5 years. Those 5 years have been considered the most outstanding 5 years in the history of Newton Conover football. Newton Conover hired Coach Gurley in 1932 as the head football coach. In his first year as head coach, Gurley went 8-2-1 winning the Western 2-A Conference. In his second year, Coach Gurley went 11-0 winning the Western Conference. His team outscored their opponents 343-20. Teams such as Lexington, 3A state champ Salisbury and 4A state runner up Charlotte High refused requests to plat Newton Conover. The following year (1934), Coach Gurley's team went 9-1 losing only to Cherryville. In 1935, The Red Devils went 9-3 winning the conference. The 1936 team went 8-0-3 winning the conference for the 4th time in 5 years.

Overall, the Coach Gurley led Red Devils outscored their opponents 1,140-183. In the 1960s when Newton Conover built a new football stadium it was appropriately named Gurley Stadium in honor of Coach Dick Gurley.

Dennis Punch was a three sport athlete while attending Newton Conover High School. He was the first recipient of the Golden Helmet Award given to the most outstanding football player. After a successful college baseball career at NC State, Punch returned to Catawba County and continued to stay active in sports playing softball for well known Howards Furniture/Wester Steer playing on 6 national championship teams.

Dennis was also an active leader of the Newton Conover Athletic Boosters raising money through various fundraisers while also working in public relations and marketing for NASCAR. Even today, Dennis remains an active leader in the community serving as he serves in various positions in the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks.

The 1992 state champion NCHS Women's Basketball Team was a very special one. As the whistle blew in Carmichael Auditorium in Chapel Hill no one had time to think about what they were about to accomplish. As Farmville Central got two quick baskets, the Lady Red Devils picked up the pace to take a 23-18 lead after the 1st quarter. Winning by only 4 at halftime the Lady Red Devils took control in the second half running away with a 77-54 victory and state championship. All their hard work had paid off..... a state championship!!

Overall, the team finished 29-1 and 16-0 in the conference. They were ranked in the top 5 in the Charlotte Observer Sweet 16 all season long. Under the leadership of Sylvia White, the Lady Red Devils or "LRD" would carve a memorable mark in the history of Newton Conover athletics.

A 1990 NCHS graduate, Curtis Burgin was a successful three port athlete. He was a member of the SD-7 Championship football team in 1988& 1989, member of the 1989 & 1990 SD-7 Championship basketball teams and member of 1989 & 1990 SD-7 Championship Track Teams.

In college, Burgin was a four year starter for North Carolina A&T Aggies where he helped win back to back MEAC titles, was named a 2 time All American, two 1st team All -MEAC honors, hold the school record for most interceptions (20) and singles season record for most pass deflections with 17.

Bryan George was a 2008 NCHS graduate and 4 year varsity starter for the Red Devils soccer team. He is the first Newton Conover soccer player to be named All-State honors. In the state championship game, George scored to lone goal in a 1-0 victory and bringing a state championship to Newton Conover. His senior year, Bryan led the team in scoring with 22 goals and 8 assists.

His high school success earned George a scholarship to play at UNC Asheville where in 2010 he tied for fourth in scoring and took 18 shots on goal. In 2008, he played in all 19 matches starting 11 finishing fourth on the team in goals scored. In 2009, Bryan played in 19 matches and started 15. He also finished second on the team with 32 shots on goal.

Jim Burgess began his high school football career in 1944 under Coach Harry Lemon going 2-5-2. In 1945 Burgess' team went 7-2-1 winning its first conference championship since 1936. During this successful season, Burgess amassed 1,168 yards scoring 15 touchdowns and being named as Newton Conover's first Shrine Bowl player.

Other highlights from Jim's successful 1945 season included a 72 yard touchdown run against Winston Salem, a 26-6 victory over Hickory getting 3 touchdowns and against Lenoir in the final game of the season, Jim intercepted a pass and returned it 35 yards to seal the Conference Championship.

If you would like to know more about the NCHS Hall of Fame please contact Athletic Director Todd Davis (  you can call the school at 828-465-0920.



    - Jim Gantt, Class of 1984 

    - David Harris

    - Football Chain Gang

                Rick Moose, Class of 1968

                Larry Hollar, Class of 1954

                Hugh Gaither, Class of 1968

                John Hunsucker, Class of 1967

                Bill Inscoe, Class of 1955

    - 1986 Women’s Tennis Team  


  • Curtis Burgins

  • Bryan George

  • Jim Burgess


  • Dennis Punch

  • 1992 Women's Basketball Team


  • Costella Corpening

  • Dick Gurley


  • LaShawn Coulter

  • John Rabold

  • Linda Richards


  • Heath Woods

  • Scott Woods

  • Jim Stockner


  • Gary Jarrett

  • Dr. H.E. "Harv" Christensen


  • James Andrew "Pud" Mosteller

  • Jeff Carter

  • Bobby Rowe


  • Dale Jarrett

  • Gary Yount



  • Dr. Lisa Witherspoon

  • Greg Corpening


  • Steve and Cathy Arndt

  • Jerry Willard

  • Dauntae Finger


  • John Hewins

  • Wayne and Peggy Smith

  • Shann Spencer


  • Tim Elrod

  • Christ Cranford

  • John Tate



  • Don Patrick

  • Tisha England

  • Nathan McCork