It’s amazing that Sam Story ever finishes a meal in Burlington, considering the number of people who come up and want to shake his hand.
And he’s more than happy to greet them all.
Story retired after 25 years as head football coach at Williams High School in 2007. His love for Bulldogs football was bred long before he ever touched the gridiron as a player in 1962.
“I used to walk to games with my dad as a kid. We’d pop a bag of popcorn to take, and I was always afraid the bag would bust from the grease,” Story said. “I used to ride my bike around the neighborhood knocking on doors to get the other kids to come out and play football. I guess coaching and recruiting has always been in my blood.”
In numerous years of coaching at Williams and at Turrentine, Southern Alamance and Duke University, Story has won numerous state championships, awards and accolades. Recently, he was inducted into the Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas Hall of Fame.
The annual Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas, which began in 1937, pits the top high school football players from North and South Carolina in an all-star matchup. Story is one of only three individuals to play in the game and serve as both an assistant coach and a head coach. To this day, he still helps to choose the MVP of the game.
The proceeds from the game benefit Shriners Children’s in Greenville, SC, as well as helping as many children that they can reach. In true Coach Story fashion, when talking about his award, he said, “The Shriners are just great. They always have a smile on their faces, just like the smiles of the children they help.”
Brandon Spoon, a former Bulldogs star and the team’s current linebackers coach, called Story “the best coach that I’ve ever had.
“He made us better players, but he prided himself on making people better,” he said. “He’s humble. He always deflects the acknowledgement of his accomplishments towards his players, assistants, his family and others. He gets more joy out of giving them credit than his own.”
Story retired as the winningest coach in the history of Williams High School. But, he said, “I couldn’t have done any of it without the support of this community and my family. I’m just that little boy from Maple Avenue, and I’ve never forgot where I came from.”
Story noted, “I’m not lucky, I’m blessed.”