Staying busy

Watauga Athletics Director Dustin Kerley (far right) coaches the Watauga football team in the fall of 2019. Kerley, the WHS Athletic Director, is helping the school launch the Watauga Athletic Hall of Fame.

BOONE — Athletic events may be shut down at Watauga High School, but the WHS athletic department is making sure Watauga athletics are not forgotten.

The WHS athletic department has started the Watauga High School Athletic Hall of Fame and are looking for Pioneers fans to nominate players, coaches, contributors and teams to be in the inaugural class. Nominees are due May 31 and forms can be found on the Watauga athletic web site at

“Multiple folks have suggested it for a couple of years,” Watauga Athletic Director Dustin Kerley said. “It’s something we’ve thought of and tossed around the idea for quite a while actually. We were finally able to put some things together from the ground. I think it’s a positive way to promote the athletic department at the high school and recognize previous student-athletes, coaches, groups and teams that have had a lot of success.”

A committee of 10 people, put together by Watauga County Superintendent of Public Schools Scott Elliott, Watauga High Principal Chris Blanton and Kerley will consider the nominees for induction. A maximum total of eight inductees, four athletes, two coaches, one team and one contributor, will be selected.

Kerley said there could be fewer selected, but the school wanted to cap each class to eight selections.

Kerley has seen several high schools and colleges, including Appalachian State, sponsor athletic hall of fames.

“There are a quite of few high schools that do it right now,” Kerley said. “How they do it is probably unique to each situation, but it’s definitely something that is out there.”

Kerley said the initial plan is to have plaques of the indictees on display close to the Lentz-Eggers Gym entrance, but nothing has been officially determined. Both the inductee and the school would receive plaques.

Kerley would like to have the induction ceremony the Saturday after the homecoming football game.

“We might have to move some things around and reorganize a few things here,” Kerley said. “My initial thought was to display on the side of the gym where the team pictures are. We might move those somewhere else or we might not. We might put the Hall of Fame somewhere else. It’s not nailed down exactly were we’re going to do this.”

Kerley said it’s important to have all the guidelines for eligibility, ceremony sites and any details that might come up settled as the nomination deadline approaches.

“We wanted to make sure we’ve got all the pieces in place before we roll it out,” Kerley said. “We think we’ve got a good plan, and the ultimate goal is to recognize those who are deserving and positively promote the work they’ve done.”

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