Closings and delays

Reynolds classmates in Winston-Salem remember Stuart Scott

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A high school yearbook photo of Stuart Scott. (Winston-Salem Journal)

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — Allison Lippard Morris pulled out her 1983 Reynolds High School yearbook on Sunday for a good reason, according to the Winston-Salem Journal.

Morris, 50, wanted to get the details right about one of her more famous classmates — Stuart Scott.

Scott, a nationally-known sportscaster on ESPN, died at age 49 on Sunday after a long battle with cancer.

From her home in Charlotte, Morris recalled the time the two played Little League baseball together.

“I was a pitcher and he was a catcher,” Morris said by telephone about their days in the Northwest Forsyth Little League. “And I’m pretty sure we played on the Indians for two years together.”

Morris, who played baseball from the age of 8 through 12, eventually turned her attention to soccer where she was good enough to earn a scholarship to North Carolina. She was a freshman in 1983 on the Tar Heels’ NCAA championship team.

Morris and Scott remained friends through their high-school and college years and stayed in touch periodically. Scott also attended North Carolina, where he played on the UNC club football team; he graduated in 1987.

“Stuart was a great athlete in high school and he wore No. 83 on the football team,” Morris said about Scott’s time at Reynolds, where he was a captain on the football team. “And he was the vice president of the student body and was also in the Key Club.”

Scott was the Sergeant at Arms of the Key Club and also ran track.

Another fond memory for Morris is when Scott was the master of ceremonies for the Reynolds Follies, a popular fund-raising event. Morris said Scott did a great job on the microphone, which as it turned out was a prelude to Scott’s eventual career path.

“He just had a zest for life back then and it continued in his work that a lot of us would watch on SportsCenter or the other shows that he did for ESPN,” Morris said.

Morris said that Scott’s seven-year battle with cancer is something she paid attention to because of her own health issues. She has had breast cancer diagnosed and is facing surgery later this month. She said that Scott’s public fight with cancer has only strengthened her resolve.

Morris said she watched intently Scott’s speech on TV in July at the ESPYs, where he received the Jimmy V Perseverance Award.

“Something that really stood was when Stuart said: ‘You have to let others fight the battle when you can’t do it anymore,’” Morris said. “There’s no doubt he’s an inspiration to me and to countless others who are battling cancer.”

Morris said the 1983 Reynolds graduation class had more than 600 students, and the spirit of the school is something that Scott embraced.
“He was very popular, he was a good student, a good athlete and a good friend to a lot of us,” Morris said.

While reminiscing about Scott, she remembered the time that Scott said her name on SportsCenter.

“They were talking about a story where a girl in Indiana was fighting to try out for the high-school baseball team,” Morris said. “She wasn’t allowed to try out because of her gender. Stuart mentioned our Little League days together and he mentioned my name. That was pretty cool.”

Dawn Sechrest (Wood), another 1983 graduate of Reynolds, said the reason that Scott was so popular in high school was his charisma.

Sechrest was a classmate of Scott’s for ninth and 10th grades at Mount Tabor, and then for 11th and 12th grades at Reynolds.

“He was always doing something and was always involved in a lot of activities,” said Sechrest, who also went to North Carolina after graduating from Reynolds. “We all kind of knew he would be successful.”

Sechrest said that the 1983 class has been active with reunions though the years, and she can remember the 20th reunion in 2003.
“Stuart came that year and at the football game he was mobbed for autographs,” Sechrest said. “When we had our 30th reunion we were hoping he could make it, but by that time he was undergoing treatment…. He’ll definitely be missed.”