Recalling the Boys of Robbins
A Journey Well Traveled: Baxter Joins Select Group
For a feature story on Donnie Baxter, click here.
Donnie Baxter’s day in the sun at halftime of Saturday’s UNC football game in Chapel Hill was one that recognized a career that spans more than 40 years of coaching, teaching and being an administrator.
He was one of eight individuals that form the 27th group of inductees to join the prestigious North Carolina High School Athletic Association Hall of Fame, bringing to 148 the number of individuals enshrined.
Baxter will formally be inducted into the NCHSAA Hall of Fame next spring during the Hall’s annual banquet and induction ceremonies at the Friday Center in Chapel Hill.
“I’m humbled beyond words,” Baxter said. “I’m grateful to have had the career I’ve had. You don’t think about something like this when you start. I’m just very humbled.”
Although Baxter lives in Asheboro and spent most of his career in the Randolph County school system, he was born and raised in Robbins, a place that he says nurtured him and helped him develop the career he had.
“I believe there are two big influences in your life — heredity and environment,” he said. “The big influence for me was environment.”
Baxter said he grew up right across the street from the old ball field where the semipro baseball team that represented Robbins Mill played. The high school also played its football games there. He said he loved going to watch the semipro team play.
“I grew up in a little block in Robbins that had at least 25 boys living on it,” he said. “We always had an opportunity to play a ball game on that field, be it baseball or football. There was also a basketball court nearby, and we played basketball there.”
“It was a great place to grow up.”
Baxter, who graduated from Elise High School in 1964, shared the names of some of his fellow players and coaches at the school.
His coaches were Paul McLendon in football and Johnny Nesbitt in baseball and basketball. Some of the players he played with were Charles Lambert, Clifford and Greg Kennedy, Richard and Robert Vanore, Ronnie and Donnie Marley, Bill Steed, Johnny Freeman, Stan Haywood, D.A. Cockman, Wayne Williams, Tim Moore, Sammy Gilmore and Harold Flinchum.
“It was just a great and fun time,” Baxter said.
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