A Staff Report
In March 2022, a heartfelt plea echoed during the Bladen County Board of Education meeting as Nathan Priest and Faith Inman approached the Board with a humble request—to immortalize Coach Ken Cross, a beloved retired teacher, and coach from Bladen County, by naming the West Bladen High School gymnasium in his honor.
Mr. Priest, a former basketball star in Bladen County, passionately emphasized that Coach Cross’s impact transcended the basketball court. He illustrated Coach Cross’s legacy as a triumphant coach and a community leader.
Recently, Nathan Priest revealed that the Bladen County Board of Education had endorsed the proposal to name the West Bladen High School gymnasium after Coach Ken Cross. The momentous occasion is set to unfold at West Bladen High School on Oct 1, 2023, at 3 pm.
Miss Inman, a former student of Coach Cross, took a moment to address the Board, recounting the invaluable life lessons she had imbibed from her mentor. She shared, “He taught me a lot about leadership and hard work, and the essence of honesty.” Miss Inman passionately underscored that Coach Cross was a remarkably successful coach and one of the finest educators she had ever encountered. She expressed, “I cannot think of a better person more deserving of having this gym named after him. I’m very thankful for Coach, and I know a lot of people can attest to him and the impact he had on their careers.”
Inman’s tribute illuminated Coach Cross’s track record of over 650 wins and his role in mentoring countless collegiate athletes over the years. Though Coach Cross retired from Bladen County Schools in 2016, he remains a cherished resident of Bladen County. Post-retirement, Coach Cross has continued to impart his coaching wisdom to aspiring athletes in local schools.
As Nathan Priest revealed, the Naming Ceremony promises to be a memorable event. It will encompass the gym’s formal dedication ceremony, providing an opportunity for former players, staff, friends, and anyone who wishes to attend to connect and reminisce about Coach Ken Cross’ profound influence on their lives.