The all-time winningest head coach in High Point men’s basketball history, Jerry Steele, passed away on Saturday at the age of 82. Steele went 457-412 in 31 years at the helm, which spanned from the NAIA all the way to their current home in the NCAA Division I Big South.
“Coach Steele has been a pillar in this community and in this state,” said current High Point head coach Tubby Smith, who played for Steele as a senior in 1972-73. “He is a Hall of Famer in every sense of the term. What I loved about playing for Coach Steele is that he was a man of principles. He was fair, he always kept things light he always someone I could count on and call on when I made a decision. He is one of those men once you knew him whether you played for him or knew him at all, he left an impression on you. He had great wit and wisdom. He was like a John Wooden he had many ways to motivate players that made it fun. I never worked for him but I know guys who were assistants for him really appreciated what he stood for and honest and sincere he was. I was always impressed with how he stood the test of time, when you spend as much time as he did in this business he did a remarkable job, his legacy will last forever. I believe his wife Kitty was a big key to his success and his longevity in this profession and in life and he would say that as well. He is someone that the coaching profession and High Point University can be very proud of. He is certainly going to be missed, he was a real fighter he competed in all areas of life. Donna and I will always love Coach Steele he meant so much to our family.”
Steele retired in 2003, having also served as athletic director at High Point from 1972-98. In addition to being in the High Point Hall of Fame, he is a member of the Hall of Fame at Guilford (NC), where he started his coaching career, and at Wake Forest, where he was a co-captain on an ACC title team, among other honors.
He is survived by his wife, Kitty, who is also a High Point Hall of Famer for her contributions coaching a variety of women’s sports.
credit to High Point Athletics for the image