Meekins throws in the towel

Meekins+throws+in+the+towel

Dylan Berry, Staff Writer

After thirty years in education, athletic director Kenny Meekins plans to retire Jan. 1.

Meekins grew up in Elizabeth City and graduated from Northeastern High School.  He played college baseball at both North Carolina Wesleyan College and Atlantic Christian College, which is known as Barton College today. While at NC Wesleyan, he played in the Division III College World Series. At Atlantic Christian, he and his team won the conference title. He also met his wife, Emma, while attending school at Atlantic Christian.

In 1984, he graduated from Atlantic Christian with a degree in health and physical education. He pursued this field because he wanted to coach baseball. Meekins had played sports all his life, and he thought the best way to get into coaching was to teach physical education.

His first teaching job was in 1986 at South Edgecombe Middle School. In 1988, he joined the staff at Princeton High School. While at PHS, he coached baseball and led the team to two 1A state championship titles, one in 1992 and one in 1994. The team made it to the final game in 1993 too, but they lost 2-3 in the series.

“[After winning] two state championships there, I wanted a new challenge,” Meekins said. “I came here to win a state championship and because I wanted to move my family here.”

Meekins spent the next 22 years of his career at Manteo High School. Meekins joined the MHS faculty in the fall of 1994. He taught P.E. and coached baseball his first year here.

Two years after arriving at Manteo, in the spring of 1996, Meekins led the varsity baseball team to a state 2A championship title. The team defeated East Davidson High School 9-8 to take the title. This was the first state championship for the school in 20 years.

“I felt like coming in we had a good group of players,” Meekins said. “They just needed a little discipline and a challenge, they had talent they just needed to work as a team.”

The following year, Meekins replaced Algie Campbell as the school’s athletic director and he will continue to serve as the AD until his retirement.

“[Being athletic director] gives you a chance to be around sports and be involved in athletics, it is a lot of long hours but you get to see the teams compete,” Meekins said.

Meekins went on to coach the baseball team for 16 more years after winning that state championship. His dad, Ronnie, was beside him, serving as an assistant coach for the team.

Meekins has seen a lot of changes over the last 22 years, especially in athletics.

“The biggest change was when the school split and we became a 1A school,” Meekins said. “The teams got a lot smaller and we lost some of our JV teams.”

Both his children, Hunter and Hannah, graduated from MHS. He coached his son in baseball and his daughter in volleyball while they were students here. Meekins also coached teacher Alfie Wheeler. Wheeler took over the baseball program when Meekins retired from coaching 2013 and he will replace him as athletic director too.

Before becoming the head coach of the program, Wheeler worked alongside Meekins for two years as an assistant coach. He has also worked with him this year as the assistant athletic director for the first semester.

“I like the fact that somebody that was here before and had such an interest in the school came back and is coaching sports and taking the AD position,” Meekins said.

Wheeler respects the job Meekins has done and is excited to continue the athletic program that he has nurtured.

“Coach Meekins has done a tremendous job here at Manteo as an athletic director and educator, and he will be missed by many,” Wheeler said. “His work has allowed MHS, and its athletic department, to experience many successes both on and off the playing fields.”

The staff that Meekins has worked with for all these years will be what he misses the most upon retirement.

“I going to miss the staff and faculty the most because it has been such a pleasure to work with all of them,” Meekins said.

After his retirement he plans to continue to officiate football, volleyball, basketball and baseball for the school.