Carolina Soccer Hall of Fame
|Having a vision
about what makes soccer “the beautiful game” is
a quality possessed by its most illustrious coaches, managers,
and administrators, but having the vision serves no purpose
if it promotes the game while neglecting the people who play
it. True champions use their vision as a vehicle to promote
healthy lifestyles, citizenship, sportsmanship, and other character
traits that have life-long value. Special coaches, like Zack
Osborne, possess the ability to teach winning soccer without
losing perspective of the whole player.
Zack Osborne’s outstanding career as the boys’
and girls’ soccer coach at Page High School, in Greensboro,
has earned him the distinction of being selected as a member
of the fifth class of inductees of the North Carolina Soccer
Hall of Fame on this, the fourth day of January, 2003.
Zack Osborne participated in cross country and track
at the University of North Carolina where he was a member
of the Class of ’73. Immediately upon graduation from
UNC, he accepted a teaching assignment at Page High School
to begin a career that would span 28½ years. Shortly
into his tenure, his visit into the office of principal Robert
Clendenin began as an act of advocacy for two students who
had been frustrated by a lack of a response to questions about
starting a soccer team. It turned into the beginning of Coach
Osborne’s tenure at the helm of the Pirate’s soccer
dynasty. Despite little background in soccer, he began the
boys’ program at Page in 1974. One coaching clinic led
to many others, and he wound up coaching the boys through
the 2000 season. His twenty-seven boys’ teams at Page
amassed a record of 410-112-35. They won four NCHSAA state
championships (’77, ’79, ’80, ’91)
and finished second twice. He began coaching the Pirate girls’
soccer team in 1980 and, to date, has been their only head
coach. So far, his twenty-three girls’ teams have a
record of 350-72-24. They won three NCHSAA state championships
(’86, ’87, ’88) and finished second twice.
He owns the distinction of having coached the Pirates in the
first NCHSAA state championship contests for both boys (1977)
and girls (1986). He coached the West boys’ squad in
the first NCCA East-West All-Star Game (1992) and was also
appointed to that post for the West girls’ team ten
years later (2002). He was a two-time girls’ State Coach-of-the-Year
recipient from the North Carolina Soccer Coaches Association.
While coaching two teams each academic year, he had an incredible
run of 43 consecutive winning seasons. During that run, he
didn’t receive a yellow card until the 423rd game of
his career. Accompanied by his girls’ team on May 2,
2002, he coached his 1000th high school soccer contest for
the Page Pirates.
These facts provide testimony to Zack Osborne’s
commitment to the Page soccer program, to the longevity of
his service, and to the excellence of his players, but a full
evaluation of his work necessitates recognizing other contributions.
He was a beloved teacher of English and Journalism. He used
those academic disciplines to inspire students of all abilities
to seek truth through the written and spoken word. He professed
a special affinity for working with sophomore students because
they were still developing their own system of beliefs. Beyond
his work in the classroom, he was a role model for many of
the young teacher/coaches at Page High School. He was one
of the first coaches to hold pre-season parent meetings, a
practice that is commonplace today. He was one of the first
coaches to involve his players in community service projects,
which is encouraged for all teams at Page High School today.
He took advantage of his writing ability to author weekly
newsletters to the parents of the Page soccer players. And
he was always on the job. He took only two sick days in his
entire teaching career.
coaching career blossomed from an innocuous effort to help
two students communicate their needs to someone, but his talent
as a coach is not a matter of mere coincidence. His ability
as a communicator and his appetite for life-long learning
distinguish him from his peers.