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Loss of a Legend

Jerry McGee dies at 80

McGee played and coached in region for decades

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Jerry McGee was a head football coach at John A. Holmes and Northeastern high schools during his career in athletics.

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By Malcolm Shields
Sports Editor

Monday, January 7, 2019

One of the most influential athletes, coaches, administrators and teachers in northeast North Carolina has passed.

Jerry McGee, who was a standout football player from Elizabeth City died Sunday.

McGee was 80 years old.

McGee’s son, Chris, told The Daily Advance Sunday evening that his father passed away peacefully in his sleep in Elizabeth City.

“He loved Elizabeth City,” Chris said. “He loved this community.”

Chris played football at Northeastern in the 1990s and was the head coach at Pasquotank County High School from 2016-2017.

Chris added that over the past several months, his father was able to see the majority of his extended family.

According to Chris, the elder McGee had been battling an illness for the past 16 years.

“He fought extremely hard and was always in good spirits,” Chris said.

Jerry McGee served as a football coach and athletic director at John A. Holmes High School in Edenton in the 1960s.

During his time with the Aces, McGee led the football program to a state championship.

Edenton athletic director Wes Mattera noted that Jerry McGee had a big impact on John A. Holmes athletics.

Mattera noted the times he spent with the elder McGee at athletic director clinics over the years.

McGee’s presence is around Edenton athletics as a plaque with his image is in the John A. Holmes football facility along with the high school awarding the Jerry McGee scholarship annually.

Jerry McGee also coached football and served as the athletic director at Northeastern High School from 1976-1981.

In 1981, McGee served only as the athletic director at NHS until the late 1990s.

During that time, Jerry McGee was as the athletic director for the entire Elizabeth City-Pasquotank Public Schools system over athletics at Northeastern High School and Elizabeth City Middle School.

Northeastern’s current athletic director Duncan Moore said working with McGee was one of the best experiences of his career.

Moore came to Elizabeth City with his wife in the 1980s and the McGee family welcomed them.

Moore added that McGee wasn’t the type of athletic director that would just sit behind his desk.

He noted that it was common for McGee to drive a bus when needed.

“He was very caring,” Moore said.

The North Carolina High School Athletic Association also honors Jerry McGee with a scholarship that has his name.

Football impacted McGee early in his life.

McGee was an offensive lineman at Duke from 1958-60.

After his playing career at Duke, McGee had coaching stops at the college level at Kansas State, Southern Illinois, Duke and East Carolina.

Before his time in Durham, McGee played football at Elizabeth City High School in the 1950s.

His career accomplishments also include being the executive director of the North Carolina Athletic Directors Association, and an North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame inductee in 2015.

Jerry McGee was survived by his wife Patsy and their four children.

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