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Tim Stevens, J. Mike Blake, Clay Best, Aaron Moody, and Elliott Warnock follow all the news for high school athletes from Wake, Orange, Durham, Chatham and Johnston Counties. 

E-mail: Tim | J. Mike | Clay | Aaron | Elliott

Lee County names football coach

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 Lee County  High release

Burton Cates, the football coach at Eastern Randolph for the
past 25 years, has been named head football coach at Lee County High

Cates, who has a 236-81 overall record, guided Eastern Randolph to the 2006
state 3AA championship.

In 25 years as head coach, Cates' Eastern Randolph
teams won 9 conference championships and finished second 12 times.

"We are extremely excited about Coach Cates coming to Lee County High
School," said LCHS principal Greg Batten. "His teams have shown remarkable
consistency and competitiveness over a long period of time. He truly is one
of the best in the business. This school and community are fortunate to
have him as our next football coach."

Cates, who was named the 2006 Harvey Reid Male Coach of the Year by the
NCHSAA, has guided his teams to 19 playoff appearance, compiling a 34-18
postseason record. He also has earned conference coach of the year honors
eight times.

"I am really excited for our fans, our school, our players, and our
athletic staff," said athletic director Steve Womack. "I know Coach Cates
will build a program of high expectations for our players both on the field
and in the classroom and demand accountability and responsibility that will
help make those he teaches and coaches better people for having been
associated with him."

A graduate of Graham High School and Mars Hill College, Cates is married to
Janet. They have a son, Foster.  


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ER - Not the place it once was

Sadly the departure of Burton Cates from Eastern Randolph High School is an action which received much notoriety and interest. However, Cates’ leaving symbolizes a much deeper problem at Eastern Randolph, a school deteriorating rapidly. The situation at Eastern Randolph – and many schools across the state – does not make the headlines like Cates’ move. It is certainly hard to write front page news stories on the lack of leadership, the power games in both the county office and the principal’s office and the overall lack of caring for the students and teachers by the administration. Eastern Randolph was once a great high school, and that hasn’t been that long ago. Just a few years ago, Ed Todd was the principal there and the pride and success of the school was evident. But, as is obvious with any business, a lack of leadership and political games – for even a few years – can ruin any institution – even one as great as Eastern Randolph. So, is anyone who really loves Eastern Randolph surprised that Cates is leaving – No – for the pride and true wildcat spirit left when the county superintendent and the last two principals choose to play politics and use intimidation tactics to lead a school rather than to actually care. The current administration is in way over their heads and, with the departure of Cates – and many other veteran teachers who have just “had enough” – the future of Eastern Randolph looks as bleak as the economy. But, for the years that so many individuals gave their spirit and their lives to Eastern Randolph, there are those who thank you! Good Luck to all Wildcats everywhere, even if you just can’t stand to be at ER anymore.

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About the blogger

Tim has covered high school sports for more than 40 years. He is the only active newspaper reporter in the National High School Sports Hall of Fame and is a member of the N.C. High School Athletic Association Hall of Fame. He was the co-author of the original NCHSAA record book. When he not writing about boys and girls, he often is at church or in a theater. Email Tim.