Gentry Named Coach of the Week

The Carolina Panthers have named Coach David Gentry of Murphy High School (Murphy, NC) as a 2007 Coach of the Week recipient.

The program recognizes outstanding high school coaches that have a positive influence in the communities and schools which they serve. In addition to receiving this award, a $1,000 donation from the Panthers and the National Football League will be made to the school's athletic department.

Coach Gentry has led the Murphy Bulldogs to a 7-4 regular season record and a playoff appearance in 2007. He has won over 270 career games and seven Smoky Mountain Conference championships. During his 24 year coaching tenure, Gentry has won four 1A state championships. While he has been successful on the field, Gentry is far more than a football coach. He is a leader and a teacher, a father-figure and a friend, a mentor, a survivor.

"I strongly believe that calling [Gentry] a role model is an understatement," says Dave Bristol, member of the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame. "He truly cares about his players and students. He has made a difference in their lives both on and off the field."

Gentry considers his players, both past and present, as family and has often provided counsel and assistance to those who seek his guidance. Dave Bristol's son, Lance, notes, "I was struggling in my life and Coach [Gentry] told me that I would make a great teacher. I thought about it and at the age of 36, received my degree in physical education and political science." Lance is now Murphy's head baseball coach and serves as an assistant coach on Gentry's football staff.

Gentry's contributions to the Murphy community are also invaluable. He has served as the annual Guest Chef at the Longhouse Restaurant and as the director of the annual Black and Gold golf tournament, both programs that raise money for all departments in the high school. A cancer survivor, Gentry participates in the Relay for Life cancer survivor walk that raises money for the American Cancer Society.

Coach Gentry also involves his athletic teams in the community. Each year, the teams participate in the Crop Walk, an event that raises money for national and local food banks and shelters. He and his football team recently volunteered their time to assist in the construction of the new Cherokee County Wellness Center, which serves the entire Cherokee community.

David Gentry is a man dedicated to his players and his work. When he fought cancer during the 1984 season, he did not stop coaching. After heart surgery last spring, he only missed two days of work. Dave Bristol notes, "The respect his current and former players have for him [is incredible]." The Carolina Panthers wish David Gentry and the Murphy Bulldogs continued success.

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