Beginning last year the National High School Basketball Coaches Association, in partnership with the John Wooden family and the Wooden Foundation, began presenting an annual award to 1 male and 1 female high school basketball coach in each state.
The award is called the Wooden Legacy Award. The recipient must be a long-time, active basketball coach who also serves as an outstanding educator and who, through their excellence on the court, in the classroom and in the community, embodies the characteristics of John Wooden - Excellence, Longevity, Character, Leadership and Service.
The 2022 female recipient from North Carolina of the Wooden Legacy Award is a veteran coach who was born in Bladen County and has spent her entire teaching and coaching career there. Patty Evers earned a BS Degree and her Masters Degree from the University of North Carolina at Pembroke. She began her career at Tarheel High School but transitioned to East Bladen High when Tarheel and Bladenboro high schools consolidated in 2000. Coach Evers teams have won over 580 games in her career. She has led her East Bladen teams to the State Championship game 4 different times, while winning numerous Conference and Regional Championships. She has won several NCHSAA Coaching awards, including the Charlie Adams Distinguished Service Award. She has served on the NCHSAA Board of Directors, currently serving on the NC Coaches Association’s Board of Directors, and will join the board of the North Carolina Athletic Director's Association this Spring. Evers owns the distinction of being the only coach from an NCHSAA member school to coach in the McDonald's All American game. And back in November, the basketball court at East Bladen was named in her honor. Patty was honored to be the inaugural NC recipient of the John Wooten award and is grateful to her colleagues for this recognition. She accepts this award in recognition of the hundreds of student athletes whom she has had the pleasure of coaching.
The 2023 Wooden Legacy Award female recipient is Sandra Langley. Sandra was born in Edgecombe County and has spent her entire 47 year teaching and coaching career there. She coached at North Edgecombe and West Edgecombe before consolation in 1978 brought about the opening of Southwest Edgecombe High School. She has been the only Varsity Girls basketball coach in the 43 history of that school. Her basketball teams at SouthWest Edgecombe have made it to the State Championship game 8 times, capturing 4 State Titles. In 2010, the gymnasium at SouthWest Edgecombe High was named in her honor. She has been named AP State Coach of the Year 4 times (the only 4 time winner). Coach Langley has been inducted into the Barton College Hall of Fame, the Twin County Hall of Fame, the NC Athletic Director's Hall of Fame and this upcoming August, will be inducted into the NCHSAA Hall of Fame. Earlier this basketball season, Coach Langley became the winningest basketball coach (male or female) in NCHSAA history by winning her 819th game. She has been the long-time leader of her school’s Fellowship of Christian Athletes huddle and has served as the Athletic Director at SouthWest Edgecombe for the past 30 years.
The 2022 male recipient from North Carolina of the Wooden Legacy Award is a veteran coach who has held positions in several schools in Guilford County, as well as at Lee County High School. Reginald Peace, Sr began his coaching career at Ragsdale HS, when he became the first African American head basketball coach in Guilford County. His career has included stints at Southeast Guilford, Ben L Smith, Northeast Guilford and currently at Lee County High. He has led 2 different teams to the State Championship game – Smith HS in 1995 and Lee County in 2003. He has received numerous coaching awards ranging from conference Coach of the Year, to coaching in both the East/West and North Carolina-South Carolina All Star games. Additionally, Coach Peace was named the Athletic Director of Lee County High School in 2013 and was honored to have the gymnasium there named in his honor in 2019. He has been married for 37 years to his wife, Jeanette, and they have two children, their daughter Jenaé and son RJ (with his wife Carly) have blessed them with 5 grandchildren. Reggie was honored to be the inaugural NC recipient of the John Wooten award and is grateful to his colleagues for this recognition. He accepts this award in recognition of the hundreds of student athletes whom he has had the pleasure of coaching.
The 2023 Wooden Legacy Award male recipient is Danny Anderson. Danny has been a teacher and basketball coach for 43 years. He has previously coached at Madison-Mayodan, Starmount, West Caldwell, Maiden and currently serves as the head coach at South Caldwell High School. Over the course of his career his teams have qualified for the state playoffs 39 consecutive seasons. He has led 3 different teams to the State Championship Game and last season he achieved a rare feat in North Carolina when his South Caldwell team secured his 700th career victory as a head coach. Danny has coached in both the East-West and the North Carolina-South Carolina All Star Games. He has won numerous awards including several Coach of the Year honors. Danny and his wife Toni have been married for 46 years. They have 2 sons, Dan and Matt, who have blessed them with 5 grandchildren. Coach Anderson thanks the Lord for having blessed him with a wonderful & supportive wife, a loving family, great players and the opportunity to positively impact the lives of young people for all of these years.