ROCKINGHAM — Nellie Harrington thought it was going to be a long shot and even laughed when her old teammate said she was going to do it.
Renee McDougle told Harrington she was nominating the former Richmond Senior girls basketball coach for the Fayetteville State Athletic Hall of Fame.
“No chance,”Harrington thought to herself. She was one of 15 people sent to the selection committee and one of a handful of females to be nominated.
So when Harrington received a phone call last week to inform her that she was one of nine people voted into the Hall of Fame, she thought someone was trying to pull a prank on her.
“I had to call him back just to make sure it wasn’t a joke,” Harrington said.
It wasn’t. It really was Roosevelt Wright, the chairman of the FSU Athletic Hall of Fame, on the other end of the phone. Wright was happy to tell the Mineral Springs Elementary P.E. teacher and current Ellerbe Middle girls basketball, softball and volleyball coach she was going to be enshrined this fall.
“I’m still in shock,” Harrington said. “I was so excited I was screaming. I was thinking you have got to be kidding me.”
Harrington will be enshrined along with Lester Brown, Marvin Everett, Edmund Galimore, Ervin Melton, Steven Mims, Allene Ritchey, Barbara Ann Smith and William Smith during the weekend of Oct. 31 to Nov. 2.
Harrington, originally from Suffolk, Virginia, was recruited to FSU to play basketball, but found her way onto the volleyball court and softball field.
While playing softball is when Harrington, then known as Nellie King, made her mark with the Broncos. Harrington helped FSU win back-to-back CIAA championships in 1983 and 1984.
Harrington said several members of her family as well as friends will be attending her Hall of Fame ceremony. Harrington added she has one regret — that her late parents won’t be able to witness the event and celebrate her success.
“I wanted to go to school away from home,” Harrington said. “I was the baby of the family and I wanted to see what it was like. I could have went to school up there and lived with my parents, but I thought it would be better for me to get away.
“It was the best four years of my life. It taught me to be independent and responsible. It turned me into the person I am today. If I had to do it over again, I would.”
Harrington will be selling advertising for the induction ceremony dinner program. If interested in purchasing an ad, contact Harrington at 910-315-1610.
Reach sports editor Shawn Stinson at 910-817-2671 or on Twitter @scgolfer.