St. Augustine's Basketball Starts Without Beloved Coach
Posted October 15, 1997
RALEIGH — At the stroke of midnight Tuesday, the first basketball practice of the season started at St. Augustine's. Last season the Falcons celebrated as they won the CIAA championship for the first time in school history.
"We had a little celebration in the gym and I think some of the students were happier than we were," said Rashad Coggins, Falcons player.
The happiness was short lived. Five months later Coach Norvell Lee died of a heart attack. Coach Lee's cousin Marlon Lee came to the school because of him.
"Even though I was fortunate enough to have a father still living he meant a lot to me as a second father," said Lee. "He guided many guys not only on the basketball court but in everyday life."
Assistant coach Chris Kennedy had worked with Norvell Lee since 1983 when Lee coached high school hoops.
"Obviously we are going to miss Coach Lee's fire and passion, he loved this school and he loved basketball," said Kennedy.
As the Falcons get ready to start a new season, there is no doubt that Lee will be missed, but the team and the school must go on without him.
"We are going to work hard and whatever happens we hope we are successful with it," said George Williams, athletic director.
"Coach Lee won't be on the sideline, but we know he will be looking down on us," said Kennedy. "He will be with us, we will dedicate our season to him and we are going to defend our CIAA championship the best of our ability."
Lee had coached at St. Augustine's college for 4 seasons.