Lexington coach savors award

Lexington coach savors award

When something needs to be done when it comes to athletics at Lexington Senior High School, Jerome Dukes is usually involved.

The multi-sport coach got rewarded for that on Thursday in Chapel Hill when he was named one of the North Carolina High School Athletics Association’s Eight Who Make a Difference.

“It’s awesome,” Dukes said. “I was shocked and elated.”

Dukes, who was born with vision in only one of his eyes, is an assistant coach for football, basketball, baseball and track at Lexington.

He is a beloved member of the Yellow Jacket athletic family.

“I nominated him and I’m glad he got it,” said Lexington athletic director Ronnie Beverly. “And I’m so excited for him. He’s a wonderful asset to not only the high school but to the school system and the community. He’s a servant. He gives, gives, gives.”

Dukes, a 1992 graduate of Lexington, has been a fixture in the community for all but two years when he lived in Virginia.

He pretty much does it all.

“He has coached every sport here except tennis and golf,” Beverly said “He even fills in for me when I have to be away.”

Dukes does it all with a smile.

“I love working with and being a part of our kids’ lives,” Dukes said. “The motivation for me is to make sure the kids get a good education and a good outlook on life when they leave the high school.”

Dukes fills a variety of roles when it comes to being on the coaching staff.

“He’s the biggest cheerleader in the dugout,” Beverly said. “He does the pitch count with baseball. He does it all.”

Having a handicap doesn’t impede Dukes either.

“He has been blind in one eye since birth,” Beverly said. “Some people would let a disability get them down. He doesn’t. It doesn’t stop him.”

Dukes left Lexington in 2009 and returned in 2011. He was glad to be back.

“I love it,” Dukes said. “It was a good feeling to be back.”

He doesn’t plan to go anywhere else.

Mike Duprez/ The Dispatch