May 13 was a special day in the Warrior gymnasium. Southeastern Stokes Middle School held their annual sports banquet, but this time a new and prestigious tradition was born. The athletic department, led by Athletic Director Jason Clark, presented two young athletes the Bobby Duncan Memorial Student Athlete of the Year award.
This honor is dedicated to the 36 years Bobby Duncan was a coach at Southeastern. Coach Duncan passed away on April 4 of this year. Jason Clark said, “This is what we are all about,” as he waved his hand around the packed gym, “kids and their parents celebrating effort and teamwork. Bobby would be so proud.”
Coach Duncan’s wife, Blair, and two sons, Hunter and Merritt, were on hand to witness the inaugural presentation of the award.
The Bobby Duncan Memorial Male Student Athlete of the year was presented to Mikhail Phillips, an eighth grader who excelled in the classroom, as president of his class, on the football field, basketball court and the track.
“Hopefully this will inspire younger kids to work hard and compete the right way.” Phillips said. “Naming this award after Mr. Duncan made it very special.”
Katie Manring was named the Bobby Duncan Memorial Female Student Athlete of the Year. She is widely known as a superstar on the softball field, but also showed grit and class on the volleyball court.
“This is such a big deal. It’s a great feeling knowing hard work really does pay off,” she said.
Manring remembered Coach Duncan, “He, without fail, came up to me after every game and asked me how I did.”
Phillips’ memories were of Coach Duncan giving him a t-shirt (that he still has) when he needed one after a practice. He also recalled times in PE when Coach Duncan would call him aside and help him work underneath the basket.
The Bobby Duncan Memorial Student-Athlete award will be awarded annually to a student-athlete who has a high caliber of talent, understands teamwork, and displays discipline and hard work in the classroom. A plaque with all of the recipients’ names will be permanently displayed outside the Southeastern Stokes Gymnasium.