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Norfolk Academy's athletics department held its first meeting of the year on August 21, with tributes to three teacher-coaches who sadly passed away recently and a stirring speech from an accomplished alumnus.

Director of Athletics Chad Byler opened the Zoom meeting by paying tribute to the legendary coaches, all of whom passed away within the past five months. Ken Lampert coached cross country and track and field for 44 straight years until his passing in April. Tom York served at Norfolk Academy from 1989 until 2006. He taught math, was Varsity Football Head Coach - guiding the Bulldogs to 13 TCIS championships - and assisted in basketball and lacrosse. He was also Director of Athletics for four years. Dave Trickler led our varsity basketball program from 1966 until 2001. He also coached football and baseball and was Director of Athletics from 1979 until 2001. 

“They bled orange and blue," Mr. Byler said. “They made an impact on many children's lives."

Derek Melvin '01 followed Mr. Byler. A football and wrestling standout at Academy, Mr. Melvin attended Harvard University and is now a managing director for Morgan Stanley financial services. 

Mr. Melvin spoke about the joy he received learning from Academy's teacher-coaches. He talked specifically about how Coach York visited him in the hospital when he suffered a broken leg during his sophomore year. Coach York also routinely asked him a valuable question he still asks himself today: “Do you want to be good or do you want to be great?"

“Never underestimate the impact you're having on these student-athletes," Mr. Melvin said.

Mr. Byler closed the meeting by announcing Academy's athletics plans. He highlighted our successful summer conditioning program that ran in July and August, regularly attracting a few dozen student-athletes. Several teacher-coaches helped lead that program, in which athletes were socially distanced, took required temperature checks, and wore masks at all times when not exercising.

Academy competes in the TCIS conference, which won't begin practices until mid-November at the earliest because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Seasons will be abbreviated and begin with winter teams, followed by fall play, with spring last.

Before those TCIS seasons, Academy intends to offer team conditioning, starting September 21. Both Middle and Upper School student-athletes will be able to participate. Fall sports teams will go first, with about three weeks of training. Winter teams will go next, followed by spring teams. 

All of the workouts will follow social distancing and other health protocols, and will only take place if conditions allow.

“The number one priority is the safety of our kids and the community," Mr. Byler said.

To learn more about our athletics program, please visit our website.  

Derek Melvin '01 spoke to teacher-coaches on August 21, 2020.

Derek Melvin '01 spoke to teacher-coaches on August 21, 2020.

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