ROCKINGHAM — Ed Emory, who guided the Richmond Senior football team for six seasons, died Friday in Wadesboro after an extended illness at the age of 75.
A native of Lancaster, S.C., Emory led the Raiders to a 77-7 mark from 2001 to 2006. Under Emory, Richmond reached the East Region championship game, falling to Laney, and the West Region finals twice, losing to Independence in 2003 and 2004.
In addition to his tenure at Richmond, he also coached at a handful of other high schools in the state including Wadesboro, Grainger and Anson high schools.
On the collegiate level, Emory served as the head coach at East Carolina University from 1980 to 1984. He was also an assistant with the staffs at Wake Forest, Clemson, Duke and Georgia Tech. Emory even served as the offensive coordinator for the Memphis Showboats in the USFL.
As a collegian, Emory was a four-year starter for the Pirates and was named all-conference and all-NAIA three times. A co-captain as a senior, Emory was selected to the All-America third team.
Current Richmond coach Paul Hoggard played for Emory at ECU for three seasons, before becoming one of his assistants. Hoggard recalled his former mentor’s love for the sport.
“He was passionate about football and the people who played and coached football,” Hoggard said. “He had a great story. He left home around 15, went to Camden Military Academy and started to play football. I think he wanted to give back because football probably saved his life.”
Hoggard believes Emory’s biggest contributions to Richmond County weren’t on the gridiron, they were behind the scenes — in the locker room or in his office.
“He was a very giving person,” Hoggard said. “No one ever knew how much he gave because it was outside of the football field.”
Former Richmond standout and current Baltimore Ravens linebacker Dannell Ellerbe remembered Emory “for caring about his players so much.”
“He sent us to football camps, even those that couldn’t afford it,” Ellerbe said. “He took a lot of time to make sure our grades were in order too. Going to the camps helped get my name out there.”
Hoggard served as Emory’s offensive coordinator and strength coach with the Bearcats from 1990 to 1992. Hoggard followed Emory to West Caldwell, not as an assistant, but as the head coach when Emory was named the school’s principal. The pair reunited at Richmond, where Hoggard was Emory’s right-hand man.
“He was a great delegator. He hired people and let them coach their position,” Hoggard said. “He coached at every level from high school through the pros. He was very organized.”
In Emory’s six years on the Richmond sideline, his teams lost only one game in the regular season — a 12-9 loss at home to Douglas Byrd in 2001. Former Richmond quarterback Ryan Baucom recalled the defeat because Richmond was forced to travel to play Laney in the East Region finals in Wilmington.
The following year, Emory used a motivational tool to make sure the Raiders didn’t forget what the Eagles had accomplished.
“He had this Douglas Byrd shirt, it was maroon with gold lettering,” Baucom said. “I don’t even remember what it said on it. For all I know he could have had it made at Trophy World. But I remember him ripping the shirt up like Hulk Hogan. Here was this old man ripping the shirt like Hulk Hogan. It made the front of the sports section. I had it framed and it’s hanging at my parents’ house.”
— Sports editor Shawn Stinson can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 14, or by email at email@example.com.