GREENSBORO — The Guilford County school board is set to consider on Tuesday naming the High Point Central High School baseball stadium after coach and teacher Andrew Harper, who died of COVID-19 in August 2021.
Harper's death followed a lengthy hospitalization. He was 48 years old.
"... we will probably never be the same again," High Point Central Athletic Director Mike Cook wrote in a letter supporting Harper's nomination. "He was a very special man, coach, teacher, and mentor."
Harper served as the head baseball coach at High Point Central and taught social studies at Kearns Academy, another district school.
"Mr. Harper was an intelligent guy and well-read guy," wrote Kearns Academy Principal Bryan Johnson. "In his classroom, he pushed and encouraged students to reach past their potential. That is what made him a great teacher."
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Kelly Giles, a captain with the Greensboro Fire Department, nominated Harper for the honor. He wrote that Harper coached baseball in the Triad area for over 30 years, and founded the nonprofit "Touch 'Em All," to help increase access to the sport for young people.
"Andy was a father-figure to many students from underserved communities," Giles said in his nomination. "He had several opportunities to coach at schools with more resources and talent. However, he chose to remain at HPC in order to make a larger impact."
Both Giles and Cook mentioned that Harper had put effort into improving the High Point Central baseball facilities. That included taking care of the field and building new batting cages and bull pens.
Former players wrote that he worked hard at helping them improve their skills and character as well.
"He was somebody who would pay attention to and take care of kids who many would shy away from," former player Robby Carr wrote. "Coach Harper showed us how to be good men day in and day out."