Sasser’s teams won 12 conference titles and went undefeated in the regular season six times at Havelock. Including his time at Hobbton, he compiled a 226-100-2 overall record.

Triumph marks 2017 in Havelock sports, but the year may not be remembered for on-field success but a major loss off of it — the death of Havelock High coaching legend Wilbur Sasser.


Sasser passes away

Wilbur Sasser, a man who inspired Havelock High athletes on the football field and in the classroom for more than two decades, died on July 22 at the age of 68. He coached Havelock football from 1979 to 2003, compiling a 207-76-2 record for the Rams and a trip to the 1986 state championship game. He also coached several state championship wrestlers during his time at Havelock High. The legacy he leaves continues today at Havelock High with current head football coach Caleb King, who played for Sasser from 1998 to 2001.

“He was just a great motivator and inspirer,” King said of Sasser. “We all felt invincible playing for him and we were scared, not of him, but scared to disappoint him because we loved him.”

Sasser’s teams won 12 conference titles and went undefeated in the regular season six times at Havelock. Including his time at Hobbton, he compiled a 226-100-2 overall record.

“Coach created a culture of toughness that enabled us to have a swagger about us. It wasn’t called that then but it is definitely what it was,” King said. “I don’t think he got enough credit for what he did defensively and how good his teams were on that side of the ball. He knew how to teach it and what kind of players he wanted and had to have.”


Bryant leaves, King hired

Jim Bob Bryant announced his resignation as head football coach at Havelock in January, taking the head coaching position at Freedom High School in Morganton. Bryant guided the Rams to three state championships and seven trips to the eastern regional championships in his nine seasons from 2008 to 2016. His overall coaching record at Havelock was 118-16, a winning percentage of 88 percent.

Three weeks after the resignation, Caleb King, an assistant coach on Bryant’s three state championship teams, was hired as the head coach after serving as the head coach at East Carteret for two seasons. King is a 2002 graduate of Havelock High.

“This means the world to me. This is my home,” King said at a press conference that announced his hiring.


Football success

The Havelock High football team won the Coastal 3A Conference and the 3A eastern regional championships on the way to the state title game Dec. 9 at Duke’s Wallace Wade Stadium. On a snowy afternoon, the Rams lost 28-14 to Charlotte Catholic, ending the season at 14-2. Along the way, quarterback Zach Sabdo set school records for passing yards and passing touchdowns in a season. After the season, Lineman Avery Jones and linebacker Tyiyon Johnson played for the North Carolina squad in the annual Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas all-star game. The year ended with Jones signing to play football at North Carolina and Khalil Barrett signing to play at East Carolina.


Floyd wins title

Havelock High senior Destin Flloyd defeated Frankie Miller of Corinth Holders 4-3 in ultimate overtime to the win the state 3A wrestling championship in the 285-pound weight class on Feb. 18 in Greensboro. The victory capped a perfect 25-0 season for Flloyd on the mat. Regional champion Kendall Frazier, Jashaun Boone, Krystian Kinsey and Lamonte Frazier were all Havelock state tournament qualifiers, finishing among the top 16 wrestlers in the state in their respective weight classes.


Bowman earns honors

Former Havelock High basketball standout Ky Bowman was named to the Atlantic Coast Conference All-Freshmen Team after his first season playing at Boston College. Bowman averaged 14.5 points, 5.0 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game and was one of just three freshmen in the country to have scored 30 or more points in a game three times. He started his sophomore season this fall and earned ACC Player of the Week honors after totaling 30 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists in leading Boston College to an 89-84 victory over previously unbeaten and top ranked Duke on Dec. 9.


Havelock track

The Havelock High boys 4-by-200 meter relay team brought home the bronze medal by placing third at the state 3A track and field championships on May 20. The group of Dominick Madden, Mahari Greene, Tyrone Cozart and Marcus Threatt finished in a time of 1 minute, 29.29 seconds. The same foursome placed fifth in the 4-by-100 relay.


District champs

The Havelock 10-and-under girls softball team won the Babe Ruth District 5 Fastpitch championship on June 18. The squad lost its first game in the tournament but battled back through the loser’s bracket, beating a New Bern team it had lost to previously, and then beating Down East twice, including 15-4 in the championship game, to win the district title.


Big Rock

Run Off ran away with the title at the 59th annual Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament in June. Its first day catch of 533.8 pounds held up over the remaining five days of fishing, earning the crew a record $1.16 million. Run Off’s catch was the first blue marlin weighed in during the week-long tournament.