City recognizes EHS coach after state honor

Mebane’s city council members took a few minutes out of their meeting this week to recognize Eastern High School coach John Kirby, who has been named the outstanding male coach of the year by the North Carolina High School Athletic Association.

The Toby Webb Outstanding Coach Award is presented annually to one male and one female coach with a minimum of 10 years of experience who have made outstanding contributions to the success of high school athletics at the school, in the community and beyond. The award is named for Toby Webb, an outstanding coach, principal and superintendent from Albemarle, according to the state athletic association. Winners receive a $2,000 cash stipend.

Councilman Tim Bradley led the accolades for Kirby during the Monday night meeting, commending him for the impact he’s had on the lives of students and athletes, encouraging them and preparing them for success in life, over his past 35 years at the school – 30 of which have been as the head football coach.

His football teams have won over 250 games, eight conference championships, made 20 appearances in the state playoffs, and twice finished as the state runner-up.

Kirby also serves on the Corrigan Faircloth National Football Foundation Chapter as a board member.  The foundation awards scholarships based on academic prowess and athletic accomplishments.

In addition to serving as football coach, Kirby is the wrestling coach and athletic director for the high school.

Bradley included in his description of Kirby’s illustrious football career that the first and only time he had seen a halftime show at a football game in which he was coaching was when he escorted his daughter, Lauren, who was the class representative for the homecoming court her freshman year.

His son, tight end. J.T. Kirby, was one of his players who played on the team that went to the playoffs.

For his part, Kirby added a few comments that added to his bona fides as a true Mebane native.  He joked that he was “born in Martinho’s,” a popular downtown restaurant on Clay Street, adding the historical background that the building formerly housed the Mebane Medical Clinic.

Bradley joked that he thought about giving Kirby the “keys to the city,” an occasional honor granted to various dignitaries, but added that Kirby already lives here and thus didn’t need the keys.

Kirby was given a standing ovation by council members and the auditorium audience alike.

Council members Patty Philipps and Sean Ewing, together with city manager Chris Rollins and city attorney Lawson Brown were among those standing to applaud Coach John Kirby’s recognition by the state high school athletic association.