By Matt Hill
Nathan Norman’s legacy will always live on in Elizabethton, thanks to a special golf outing that saw its fifth edition take place on Friday.
The Nathan Norman Memorial Scholarship Tournament is an event that remembers the life of an Elizabethton High School basketball legend who unexpectedly passed away on May 14, 2007 of a heart attack, and gives back to the high school he loved. The event raises money for two college scholarships, one boy and one girl, at Elizabethton High School in his honor.
“There was no better person in the world than Nathan,” Nathan’s older brother Wayne Norman said.
“He looked out for someone else before he looked out for himself.
It shows with all the different people who have shown up for the tournament every year, people he worked with, people he went to high school with, people he went to college with, friends and family — it’s amazing the turnout we have every year for a little tournament in Elizabethton, TN. People love to show up for it.”
Norman grew up in Elizabethton, and then went on to set all sorts of records at USC-Upstate in basketball before marrying and moving to Abingdon, Va., where he became a well-known member of the community and in the process was extremely active in the lives of children. Norman coached various youth sports and was very active in his church. It’s only fitting that Nathan is still having his legacy felt at EHS.
“One of Nathan’s best friends in high school was Benji Morrell, and he came up with the idea that we were going to do a fundraiser golf tournament just as a get together,” Wayne Norman said.
“Benji came up with the idea to give it away as scholarships to two individual athletes at Elizabethton High School, one male and one female. The scholarship goes to the individual athlete who loves the game that they play. They don’t have to be the best, they don’t have be the MVP, they just have to love the game — and that’s chosen by the coaches. Each year we’ve given an $1,000 scholarship to two different athletes.”
More than just raising money, this day was about the memory of a fine young man. Morrell knew the night he walked in the door at the funeral home in Abingdon just what an impact Nathan had made on so many people, even people in Virginia. “Nathan was always very caring and Nathan went out of his way to make sure younger kids, kids around us, even when we were in high school, were accommodated by giving them a high five after a ball game or spending time with them at camp,” Morrell said.
“Nathan had younger brothers and sisters (Patrick and Jaime) and he knew how important it was that the youngsters in the Elizabethton community knew they were important too.
“At the time he was in his early 30s, and I’ve been to funerals of people who have been around a long time, and they didn’t have standing room only and people lined out the door for three hours to see somebody that young who had influenced their life. On one hand it was heartbreaking, and on another hand it was heartwarming.
I hope when I pass on someday, I would have affected this many people’s lives.
The Nathan Norman Scholarship Tournament is an annual event held on Mothers Day weekend. One heartwarming note about the tournament, Nathan’s son, Adam Norman and Nathan’s nephew, Hunter Norman, were members of the winning team.
HAMPTON HIGH SCHOOL TO RAISE MONEY WITH GOLF TOURNAMENT
The Hampton High School Boys and Girls Basketball Programs will be raising money for support in a fundraiser golf tournament on Saturday, May 26 at the Elizabethton Golf Course.
Entry fee is $50 per player and that includes a lunch and cart fee.
All money raised goes to buy shoes, uniforms and other necessities to give the Hampton players and their parents a chance to be a part of the program.
Every Hampton High School Basketball player’s family gets into the games free, mainly because of this fundraiser.
“This fundraiser is vital for us,” Hampton High School assistant coach Mike Matheson said. “We’re a rural community and a lot of parents have lost jobs, but we still have ball games and we want to continue to keep the parents from having to pay out of their own pocket. We use this to buy shoes and uniforms. We can’t thank people enough.”
Hampton High School does fundraisers throughout the year, but this is the one that really pays the bills for the Bulldog program.
“This is the biggest fundraiser we have and every bit of it is used to go to ball camp and to help with expenses for players,” Matheson said. “We’re looking for a good turnout.”
This is a collaborative effort between the boys program and Leon Tolley’s girls program, both of which have been very successful for many years.
The kids don’t have the facilities some of the bigger Tri-City area schools have to use, but they do have the support of a community who comes out plays golf to raise money so that they can succeed.
“Half the money goes to the boys and half of the money goes to the girls,” Matheson said. “We work really well together. Leon and I have been doing it for five or six years.
We’re trying to take care of the kids.” For more information, call Mike Matheson at (423) 773-8889 or Leon Tolley at (423) 957-9000.
THE FIRST TEE OF TRI-CITIES
The First Tee of Tri-Cities has released its summer schedule. There will be programs available at seven locations this summer. The First Tee of Tri-Cities is a junior development program that teaches golf while incorporating character building and life skills curriculum. The First Tee Life Skills Experience, a curriculum for teaching character education through life skills, is one of the unique features that differentiates The First Tee from other youth initiatives and junior golf programs. It ultimately strives to instill in participants The First Tee Nine Core Values: honesty, integrity, sportsmanship, respect, confidence, responsibility, perseverance, courtesy and judgment.
Through the Life Skills Experience, young people discover how skills essential to success on a golf course can also help them flourish in life. These skills include: *Self-management *Interpersonal communication *Goal setting *Mentor *Effective conflict resolution Programs this summer are available at Pine Oaks Golf Course, Elizabethton Golf Course, Cattails@MeadowView, Andrew Johnson Golf Course, Steele Creek Golf Course, Clear Creek Golf Course and Big Hollow Par 3. The programming consists of 5 levels so juniors are able to progress as they go through the programs.
To find out more visit www.
WARRIOR GOLFERS FARING WELL IN TRI-CITIES JUNIOR SERIES GOLF
There’s a reason Happy Valley is so good in golf. The Warrior golfers participate in summer tournaments and hone their skills against the area’s best.
Last Saturday at the Johnson City Country Club, Warrior golfers Joseph Matherly and Cameron Dugger finished in the top ten in the Boys 16-18 age division in the opening tournament of the Tri-Cities Junior Series.
Matherly fired a 79, four strokes off the winning pace of Bristol, Va.
golfer Ryan Hyatt. Dugger tallied an 82 for a tenth place finish while Matherly was fifth.
Randy Izzo of Bristol, TN won the Boys 10-11. Sean Hsu took the Boys 10-13 title, William Nottingham won the boys 13-15 championship, Lucas Lowe was the boys 8-9 champion, Haverly Harrold of Kingsport was the girls 12-15 winner and Katerina Scott had the low score in the girls 8-11 division.
LOOKING FOR THE AREA’S COMPETITIVE GOLFERS
If you are a resident of Carter or Johnson County and your child is playing in the Tri-Cities Junior Series or you’re playing on the Tri-Cities Amateur Tour, please contact Elizabethton Star golf reporter Matt Hill at firstname.lastname@example.org. We want to update our readers in the Sand Trap of how they are doing in the area tournaments. Check with the Star for all the happenings on local golf coverage this summer.
NOTE: Cody Weems contributed to this report.
Matt Hill is the golf and tennis columnist for the Elizabethton Star.