Laura Barry coaches the boys

Laura Barry directs traffic during the Pioneers’ game against Ashbrook last season. Barry was awarded the Homer Morrison Memorial Eight Who Make a Difference Award by the NCHSAA.

BOONE — Watauga girls’ and boys’ basketball coach Laura Barry received the Homer Morrison Memorial Eight Who Make a Difference Award from the North Carolina High School Athletic Association.

Barry, one of just eight coaches in North Carolina to win the award, coaches Watauga’s girls’ and boys’ varsity basketball teams. She was selected for Region 7.

She will be recognized during a virtual ceremony on May 7 by the NCHSAA. The award is usually given out during the NCHSAA’s annual meeting in Chapel Hill, but those plans were changed because of the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus.

“My initial reaction is more that it’s great to see Watauga athletics in general getting state recognition,” Barry said. “I feel like it’s more of a part of being a part of something good than anything special I’m doing. Every high school coach puts so much in what they’re doing and recognition is not often given nor is it why they do it.”

Watauga Athletic Director Dustin Kerley nominated Barry for the award. Kerley said Barry is a good coach to the Watauga players on the court and in the community.

“Laura does a great job when she’s on the court as far as coaching our basketball teams,” Kerley said. “She does a great job off the court as far as helping our players develop into quality people.”

Barry has had to settle with communicating with her players virtually instead of on the court because of restrictions brought on because of the COVID-19 virus. Not only does Barry coach both varsity basketball teams at Watauga, but she also runs a players development program called PEAK Basketball, which consists of teams ranging from elementary-school ages to high-school ages.

“I’m still putting out videos for kids and checking in with the high school guys and making sure, more than anything, that they’re good mentally and staying physically fit,” Barry said. “Some are more motivated than others and doing more than others because they have different aspirations. I just want to make sure that they are doing healthy things and are feeling OK about stuff.”

Barry said she stays busy, but not as much as she would like.

“I’m just trying to keep planning for the future,” Barry said. “(That includes) future PEAK stuff and future Watauga basketball stuff.”

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