Best of Sports

All Fun And Games

Town of Cary Parks and Recreation athletic programs take the cake for readers’ favorite Recreational Sports Leagues. Adult offerings are softball, basketball, tennis and volleyball, and youth leagues include baseball, softball and basketball.

The leagues use a combination of community center gyms and space leased from other facilities to fill program needs. That equates to 11 to 13 gyms in use on a busy weekend, with up to 140 games. Youth participants number nearly 5,000. Adults aren’t far behind with more than 4,500 players — and that’s not including tennis, which boasts just shy of 4,000.

“You might question why we don’t have soccer, football and lacrosse. We’re not out there to compete with the private industry, so we’ve always taken the stance of working with other programs,” said Athletics Program Manager William Davis.

Honorable Mentions Capital Area Soccer League and Dreamsports Center have the bases covered in other sports. CASL counts more than 800 teams with an impressive 20,000 players. Dreamsports Center offers hockey and soccer for adults and kids, along with lacrosse for kids.

“We do a whole lot more than just our sports leagues. We also have instructional programs for kids and other drop-in birthday party events that we do. We also do track-out camps as well,” said owner Steve Werner.


Reader pick for Best College Coach, Duke men’s basketball’s Mike Krzyzewski, proved he earned the title on Nov. 15 when he bested the record of 902 wins to earn his place in record books as Division I coach with most all-time wins. The record was previously held by his former coach, Bob Knight.

School Spirit

Readers rallied around their favorite coaches in the new Best High School Coach category. They all know what it feels like to be a winner.

Brian Miller, Holly Springs High School varsity girls’ soccer coach, topped the charts after his first season coaching for the school. He previously coached at Fuquay High School and Holly Ridge Middle School, and also currently coaches at the Fuquay-Varina Athletic Association. Miller is a National Board Certified Algebra I teacher, and Math Department co-chair. 

His team’s record in the previous season — the first one where Holly Springs high made the playoffs in the Tri-Nine Conference —was 10 - 8 - 1.

Michael Bagnasco, Apex High School football assistant coach, started his coaching career in New York nine years ago. He was head coach at Salem Middle School for the past four years.

Melinda Cowley, Apex High School JV softball coach, insists “I was fortunate to coach a really talented group this past season.” Their 18 and 0 record proves it. Cowley has volunteered as a coach for the school for the past six years, and also coaches a 12 and under fast-pitch travel team.

Written by Tara Croft

Best College Basketball Team
UNC-Chapel Hill
HM: Duke
N.C. State University

Best College Football Team
N.C. State University
HM: UNC-Chapel Hill
East Carolina University

Best College Coach

Mike Krzyzewski, Duke Men's Basketball
HM: Roy Williams, UNC-Chapel HIll men's basketball
Tom O'Brien, N.C. State football

Best Local Baseball Team
Durham Bulls
HM: North Carolina State University
UNC-Chapel Hill

Best Play-by-Play Announcer
Woody Durham, UNC-Chapel HIll Football and Men's Basketball
HM: John Forslund, Carolina Hurricanes hockey
Chuck Kaiton, Carolina Hurricanes hockey

Best North Carolina Professional Sports Team
Carolina Hurricanes, Hockey
HM: Durham Bulls, baseball
Carolina Panthers, football

Best Recreational Sports Leauge

Town of Cary Parks & Recreation Athletic Programs
HM: Capital Area Soccer League
Dreamsports Center

Best High School Coach
Brian Miller, Holly Springs High School
HM: Michael Bagnasco, Apex High School
Melinda Cowley, Apex High School