Haggerty new county athletic director

Published 9:57 am Thursday, January 28, 2016

Sam Moir had a legendary career as the Catawba men’s basketball coach, and Bill Haggerty was Moir’s right-hand man for several years. That doesn’t come close to telling you everything about Haggerty, but it certainly says a lot.

Haggerty, the new Athletic Director for Davie County Schools,  has impeccable credentials. He was involved in high school and college athletics for 36 years, including 30 at Catawba College in Salisbury. He served as head women’s basketball coach for three years. He was assistant coach for the men’s program for 26 years. He was the facility director for 13 years. He was head coach for men’s and women’s cross country for 14 years. He was the director of summer camps for 28 years. Yes, Haggerty was a Catawba man through and through from 1984 until his retirement in 2013.

His new position as Davie County AD is a part-time job. Bill and wife Carolyn reside in Davie County in the Advance community. They have three children and four grandchildren.

Moir, who is still going strong at age 91, was the Catawba men’s basketball coach for 34 years (1960-94), guiding the Indians to 546 wins, 23 winning seasons and making eight halls of fame. And he respects Haggerty enormously.

“He’s as fine a person as I’ve ever met,” Moir said Sunday. “He’s very loyal. He’s hard working, he’s very intelligent and he gets things done. He’s one of my best friends. He’ll do an outstanding job. He always does. You’ll never regret it and you’ll be amazed at what he can do.”

Let’s take a trip down memory lane. After graduating from Jefferson Township High School in Jefferson, N.J., Haggerty studied for two years and graduated from Morris County College in New Jersey.

“Then I stayed out (of school) for five and half or six years and trained and ran nine marathons,” said Haggerty, who has lived in Advance for a little over 10 years. “When I wanted to go back to school, I went to see Frank Dwornikoski. He was a guidance counselor and he coached football. He said, ‘Bill, go see Dick Cassels,’ who played football at Catawba and he played for the Washington Redskins (in the late 1950s). I went to see him and he said: ‘Hey, go take a look. There’s Elon, High Point, Catawba and all that.’ So I went down and took my little brother. I liked Catawba, spent two and a half years there and got my degree (in P.E. and Recreation). I did my student teaching at Knox.”

After graduating from Catawba, Haggerty moved back home to Jefferson, N.J. He became a recreation director and coached five sports at his alma mater, Jefferson Township High. He was recreation director for six years.

“I was passing back through (the area) and coach Moir said: ‘Bill, the (Catawba) women’s basketball job is open.’ The women’s team had lost 40 of 48 and 24 straight.”

Haggerty has enough stories for two books. Here’s a remarkable story: He left a well-paying job in Jefferson, N.J., as well as turning down a lucrative offer at another job, to accept the women’s job at Catawba, where he started out making $3,000 a year.

“The same week the phone rang and it was Mark from Masko Sporting Goods, a mid-atlantic sports company,” he said. “He had a Lamborghini. He had like seven cars and owned nine stores. He wanted me to come to work. He offered me $100,000 a year, a house and a car. This is back in the ‘80s now. I told my parents about it. My father goes: ‘Let me get this straight. You’ve got three options. You could stay where you are now where you’re making pretty good money. You could go to Union County (in New Jersey) and make $100,000 plus commission. Or you can go down to Catawba for $3,000 a year. Who was your math teacher at Catawba?’

“I was making $37,000 as a recreation director, substitute teacher and coaching up in New Jersey. I wasn’t married and I said: ‘Yeah, let me do that.’ I took a $34,000 cut. (Catawba) gave me a place to stay. I had room and board and $3,000 for the whole year. But we turned the program around.”

Haggerty coached Catawba women’s basketball for three years (1984-85 through 1986-87). It didn’t take him long to make a name for himself.

“The first year was the longest year of my life,” he said. “I got the job in July and we won four games. I spent $7,000 out of my own money that first year. They had terrible uniforms. And then we won 17 games (in 1985-86) because I was able to recruit.”

After the 1986-87 season, Haggerty slid over and became an assistant on the men’s staff. He spent seven years on the sidelines with Moir.

“That third year I was married and on a trip recruiting,” he said. “I had just signed three girls and two of them are in the hall of fame at Catawba. Coach Moir called me. His assistant for 11 years was going to leave. He said: ‘Bill, would you be interested in being my assistant?’ We worked out the details and I shifted over. For four or five years I was at the same salary, but I was in charge of all the summer camps. That’s where we made pretty good money for the program. I was also the facilities director for 13 years.”

Haggerty fell in love with Catawba. Along with being the men’s basketball assistant, he also became the head coach of the men’s and women’s cross country teams. When he wasn’t coaching, he was busy in the background.

What a ride it was. A Catawba coach from 1984 through 2013, he recruited and coached 260 athletes, with 96 percent of them graduating. The teams he coached compiled 1,267 wins, 13 championships and made 33 regional and four national tournament appearances. In 2010, his men’s cross country team was honored for having the highest team grade-point average in the nation in Division II.

Dennis Davidson – who also spent 30 years at Catawba, including Sports Information Director from 1984-96 and Athletic Director from 1996-2013 – holds Haggerty in high regard.

“Having known Bill for over 30 years, I can say that he will do an outstanding job for Davie County athletics,” Davidson, currently the Sports Editor of the Salisbury Post, said. “In my observations over the years, no one pays more attention to detail and stays at a task until it is completed like Bill Haggerty. Bill’s track record as a coach and administrator speaks for itself.”

Jeff Wallace, the Assistant Superintendent of Davie County Schools, is really, really excited about Haggerty coming on board to use his experiences and expertise to support and promote Davie County athletics. Haggerty will win you over real quick, according to Wallace.

“He has a plethora of experience and he clearly understands the next level. He’s coached at all levels,” Wallace said. “I’ve been friends with Bill since the mid-1990s. We’ve stayed in touch for the last 20 years. When he retired, he said: ‘If there’s ever anything you need, I’ll be glad to try to help. I like to stay busy and you know what I do.’ I kind of logged that in my head. Once Barry (Whitlock) retired (in December), I started thinking: What’s the next level for our programs? How do we communicate better? What can we do? Let me ask Bill if he’s anywhere interested in something like this.

“He’s right here and he has the time. One of the issues was how do you manage and communicate when you’re a full-time teacher and coach? That’s very difficult. But Bill has the time, the expertise and he’s gung-ho and ready to go. And he knows how to treat people.”

Bill Haggerty 1984-2013 At Catawba College

• Head coach women’s basketball 1984-1987

• Assistant men’s basketball coach 1987-2013

• Director of Athletic Facilities 1987-2000

• Head men & women’s cross country coach 2000-2013

• Director of Camps 1985-2012

• Started and directed golf marathons 1997-2002

• Graduation rate 96% in all four sports, and recruited and coached 260 athletes

• Coached in over 1,100 events for four sports

• Coached in four national cross country races

• Coached in 33 regionals in cross country & basketball

• Coached and won 13 basketball championships, including 6 regular seasons and 7 conference tournaments

• Coached and associated with 1,267 total wins in four sports

• Coached the best 20 times in cross country in 5K, 6K, 8K, 10K

• Coach of the Year in 1986

• Recruited and coached 30 1,000-point scorers (men & women)

• Recruited and coached 9 of 13 top assist players (men and women) in school history

• Recruited and coached 7 hall of fame players (men and women)