Veteran Polk County coach Alan Peoples has been selected for induction into the North Carolina High School Track and Field and Cross Country Hall of Fame.
Peoples will be part of the Hall’s fourth class of inductees that will be honored during a Jan. 28 ceremony at JDL Fast Track in Winston-Salem, home of the Hall. Peoples will join former Polk County and University of North Carolina standout Karen Godlock and the late Tony Waldrop, who starred at Polk Central and UNC, in the Hall.
“High school track and field has existed in North Carolina for more than 100 years, with the first outdoor state championship held in 1913, the first indoor track meet held in 1922 and the first high school cross country meet held in 1929, and North Carolinas has a strong history of national success, dating to the 1930s when High Point High competed at cross country nationals,” said Brett Honeycutt, founder of the Hall of Fame.
“It’s our goal to honor those who have helped make this sport so great in our state, and these first four classes are a great start at letting people know how much talent has come through North Carolina.”
Peoples began his coaching career in 1972, spending the past 34 years coaching at Polk County. He is the only boys cross country and track and field coach in school history and has coached the girls cross country and track and field programs since 2003.
In his time at Polk County, Peoples has:
- Coached 63 individual state champions
- Coached 64 athletes who competed in college
- Led Polk County’s boys to the 2018 state 1A track and field championship
- Led Polk County’s boys to the 2016 state 1A/2A indoor track and field runner-up
- Been named a conference outdoor track and field coach of the year on 19 occasions
- Been named the NFHS Boys’ Cross Country Coach of the Year for North Carolina (2015)
- Been named the NCHSAA Boys State Outdoor 1A Track Coach of the Year (2018)
- Won the 2010 NCHSAA Charlie Adams Distinguished Service Award
- Won the 2002 NCHSAA Dick Knox Award
- Been chosen for the 2001 NCHSAA Wall of Champions
- Won the 1998 NCHSAA Unsung Hero award
- Led Polk County to the 1994 NCHSAA State Outdoor Track Team Academic Average Award
“I don’t care who you are, you can’t do this by yourself,” Peoples said. “I’ve had great assistant coaches who give everything every day. I’ve always had that.”
Peoples has also been actively involved in track and field at the state and national levels. He served as the regional and state outdoor track and field championships meet director from 1994-2017 and also as the state indoor track and field championships meet co-director from 1992-95 and 2017-20. He served as meet director for 24 regional cross country meets.
Peoples has held numerous offices for the North Carolina Track and Cross Country Coaches Association, has been involved in Junior Olympics and held coach and official certifications from USA Track & Field.
Joining Peoples in the 2023 class are Olympian and three-time World Championships medalist Keni Harrison (Clayton High); 2005 Track & Field News High School Athlete of the Year J-Mee Samuels (Mount Tabor High, Winston-Salem); 4-time All-American, two-time Pan Am gold medalist, national indoor 60-meter hurdle champion and nine-time state champion, Johnny Dutch (Clayton High); 17-time state champion and two-time All-American Latasha Pharr (North Rowan) and 1984 Pan Am Junior bronze medalist and eight-time state champion Pam Doggett (Grimsley High, Greensboro).
Also being inducted are coaches E.V. Patterson, the “Father of North Carolina Track & Field” who advocated for the first state meet and came up with rules for the first state meet in 1913, and who coached North Carolina’s first dynasty at now-defunct Friendship High in Burlington, where he led the school to seven straight state titles (1914-1920); Greensboro legend Charlie Brown, who has coached individual national champions, multiple state championship teams, two U.S. national cross country teams and served as meet director for U.S. national meets and two of the state’s longest running high school invitationals; and Roy Cooper (Apex High), the longtime meet director of the prestigious Apex Relays, 20 years as staff at Outdoor Nationals, 30 times as state track or cross country meet director, 17 years as Nike Southeast Cross Country Regional Team manager, as well as coaching Apex to 51 conference championships (cross country and track) and 62 top-10 (and 106 top-20) state finishes between both gender teams for cross country, indoor track and field and outdoor track and field.
A statewide committee of 21 track and field and cross country coaches, officials and media representatives who cover the sport extensively nominated and elected the class.