Northside High School to honor Coach Bill Pope

ROANOKE COUNTY, Va. (WDBJ) - A Roanoke County School is ready to honor a local legend. Northside High School is looking to the community for help in getting a sign up at the gym for Bill Pope, the head basketball coach and a history teacher at the school.

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Pope has been coaching basketball at Northside High School for over 30 years. Nothing beat the moment for him quite like when he led the team to victory in the state championship in March.

"When you get to that moment, it was just incredible. What was really incredible about it was not only the happiness you felt for all the team members, players that put in so much work, and the coaching staff, but just for the community," Pope said.

But soon after, another moment gave him a feeling close to that one--when the Roanoke County School Board voted to name the gym after him.

It's overwhelming, it's an incredible honor," Pope said.

Local Pastor Thomas McCracken led the effort, getting over 2,000 signatures on a petition before presenting to the school board.

"I know that he led this group into an amazing victory, I was there for that game . . . I think this is much bigger than athletics or academics, this is an issue of leaving a legacy and having a symbol that shows that one man can make a difference," McCracken, a former member of the Roanoke County School Board, said.

Now, McCracken and other supporters are asking for the community's help in fundraising to get the signs up by December.

His name would be placed outside of the gym, as well as on the inside of the gym above both scoreboards.

"I think Bill Pope is one of those people that students will remember long into their adult life," former Roanoke County School Board Member, Jerry Canada, said.

For more information on how to donate, you can contact McCracken at 540-529-7843. You can also send cash or checks to Northside Athletic Booster Club 6578 Northside High School Road Roanoke, 24019.

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