Lee Horton walked in the footsteps of some of North Carolina’s most celebrated soccer personalities. While playing for Bill Holleman, Lee was an All-State midfielder and an All-American goalkeeper at Ravenscroft (Class of ‘74). He lettered at UNC under the guidance of the legendary Dr. Marvin Allen. During his senior season he played on the first Carolina team coached by Anson Dorrance. With that pedigree in place, it is inevitable that he would experience a career distinguished by service to others through the game of soccer. He represents the second generation of prominent figures in North Carolina soccer folklore. His personal testimonial: “I coach to affect lives, not to win games.”
Lee Horton’s extraordinary service and record of achievement as the soccer coach at Charlotte Latin School, at Greenfield School, for the Charlotte Lady Eagles, as well as for countless other club youth teams, has earned him the distinction of being selected as a member of the tenth class of inductees into the North Carolina Soccer Hall of Fame on this, the sixth day of January, 2007.
Upon graduation from UNC (1978) with a B.A. in Physical Education, Horton began his teaching and coaching career at Greenfield School in Wilson. In five years at Greenfield, his men’s teams had a record of 71-21-11 including an appearance in the final four of the North Carolina Independent Schools Athletic Association (NCISAA) state tournament. His women’s teams compiled a record of 69-13-10 including a trip to the state finals and another trip to the semi-finals. One of his fondest memories of his time at Greenfield must surely be the 0-0 draw achieved by his team in the first game in which he faced a Ravenscroft men’s team coached by his mentor, Bill Holleman.
Coach Horton left Greenfield to enroll in graduate school at Campbell University where he earned a Masters Degree in Physical Education (1985). While studying at Campbell, he was a graduate assistant soccer coach under Tim Morse. It was there, under Morse, where he learned the benefit of remaining composed and analytical while coaching the match.
Horton’s next stop landed him firmly in Charlotte where he has been for the past twenty-two years. Although his contributions have been made far and wide, he is most renowned for building and maintaining the men’s and women’s soccer programs at Charlotte Latin School. In twenty-two seasons his mens teams have a record of 285-105-42. They have won six NCISAA State Championships (1987, 89, 90, 92, 2003, 04) and have been nationally ranked by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA). His twenty-one previous womens teams amassed a record of 272-82-27 and earned three NCISAA Championships (1989, 90, 93). His fifty-three men’s and women’s high school teams at Greenfield and Latin have an amazing cumulative record of 697-221-90!
If that seems like a lot of games, consider them as just part of his coaching résumé. Horton has also coached numerous challenge and classic level club teams for boys and girls. Over time, he has coached teams in the Charlotte United, Park Sharon, Charlotte Soccer, Charlotte Eagles, and South Charlotte Soccer Clubs. Since 2000, Horton has been the head coach of the Charlotte Lady Eagles, an elite amateur team in the W League of the United Soccer League. In seven seasons the team has a record of 62-13-3 (10-7-2 in the playoffs). The team has earned a spot in the league playoffs each year, won the W2 National Championship in 2001, and were runners-up in 2002.
In recognition of his outstanding contributions, numerous local, statewide, and national Coach-of-the-Year honors have been bestowed upon Coach Horton. He is a five-time honoree as Coach-of-the-Year by the North Carolina Soccer Coaches Association (NCSCA). In 2004 he was named National Coach-of-the-Year (Private/Parochial Boys) by the NSCAA. In service to the NSCAA, he now chairs the National High School Coach-of-the-Year selection committee.
Horton credits his Christian faith and his loving family as his compass in life and coaching. “I am who I am as a coach because Christ is my Savior and because I have an unbelievably supportive family. I’ve been blessed by having played for Hall of Fame coaches Bill Holleman, Marvin Allen, and Anson Dorrance, and having worked with four great mentors in Tim Morse, David Sanford, Brian Davidson, and Mark Steffens.”
Likewise, hundreds of young men and women have been blessed by their affiliation with Coach Lee Horton.