A 6-6, 225-pound post player for Carroll County High School, senior Terry Edwards helped lead the Cavaliers to their first regional basketball championship in 1979. One of the anchors of an incredibly talented team that still holds the school mark for best overall record at 24-2, Edwards helped guide CCHS to the state semifinals his senior season.
Edwards went on to a stellar career at Clinch Valley College (now UVa-Wise), where he was an All-American in 1983 and an Academic All-American in 1982 and 1983. This week, Edwards talks about the large collection of talent on the 1979 CCHS team, the incredible home environment teams from that era enjoyed, as well life growing up on the farm in Cana.
What year did you graduate from Carroll County? I graduated in 1979.
Where did you attend college? I received my Bachelors Degree in business administration from Clinch Valley College (now known as The University of Virginia’s College at Wise) in 1983 where I played basketball. I received my Masters Degree in accounting from Virginia Tech in 1985.
Family members? I’ll be happily celebrating 30 years of marriage to Gleda Andrews Edwards on July 16th. We have two wonderful daughters, Ashley, 27, who works for the Census Bureau in Washington, D.C., and Sarah, 24, who works for British Petroleum (BP) in Houston, TX. My parents, Wayne and Lucretia Edwards, still live in Cana, VA.
Current Occupation: I’m a CPA and work as a Tax Manager in the Corporate Tax Department of Wells Fargo Bank where I manage a team that provides tax consulting to Wells Fargo business units.
What is your favorite memory in athletics? My favorite memory at Carroll County was our basketball team’s win my senior year when we won the regional tournament in Cassell Coliseum at VA Tech that sent us to the state tournament. Our goal all year was to get to the state tournament and our practice jerseys had the word “State” on them as a constant reminder of our goal. Winning the regional tournament was a thrill to see all our hard work pay off and our goal accomplished.
Top to bottom, the 1979 Carroll County boys’ basketball team was probably the most talented in school history. What do you think made that team, and teams from that era at CCHS so special?
Our 1979 team had a lot of talented players at all positions which made other teams play us straight up. They couldn’t double team or key on any one player. When you have starting talent at the guard positions like Steve Dowdy and Lynn Conners and wing players like Tim Tolbert and then Pat Sharp and me inside as well as players like Ray Snow, Ricky Hawks, Terry Dalton and the other members of our team coming off the bench, you can have any combination of players leading the team on any given night. I think that’s why we finished 24-2 and only lost the two games, one in overtime (unfortunately to Galax) and the final game by 3 points in the state tournament semifinal after leading at halftime.
I also think that we were very fortunate to have great coaches that pushed us hard and got the most out of us. Coach Dave Bentley did a tremendous job of maximizing our strengths and had a great mind for the game. I hated how hard we worked in preseason practices, but it made me and all of our team much better players. We also had great assistant coaches in Jeff Reynolds and Hal Clary.
Many of the players on our team were very successful in other sports. So, we had some very good athletes that were not just good basketball players. I think sometimes schools see very good players and athletes come in cycles and waves. I think on our team and some of the teams that preceded and followed our team during that time frame, we were all fortunate to be surrounded by other good players at the time we played.
To someone who wasn’t around during that time, how would you describe the atmosphere of varsity basketball games at Carroll County High School, and the rivalries that existed at that time in the old New River District? You couldn’t have asked for a better atmosphere to play basketball at than Carroll County High School my senior year in 1978-79. The fans were terrific and so supportive and enthusiastic. The stands were always packed. My sophomore year we finished 3rd in the New River District and made it to the regional tournament. My junior year we finished 2nd in the conference and then my senior year we finished first. So, I think we continued to build on some very good teams that I was fortunate to be on my sophomore and junior years that were led by some very good players and seniors that did a great job setting the stage for my senior year in 1979 when we had so much success. I think a big part of the success of those teams was the fact we had the fan support to energize us. When we played, there was always music blasting as we came out for warmups and the crowd made us feel special with their support.
The New River District was a terrific conference to be part of with our biggest rival being Galax. Galax always had great teams with a lot of talent as well. When we played Galax you had to get to the game early to get a seat. My senior year, Galax had the leading scorer in the state in Marc Quesinberry, so that made our games that much more intense. However, in 1979 we also had tough games against other great teams from the New River District like always tough Blacksburg, Radford and Christinsburg.
If we could take a time machine back to 1979 and pit you and Pat Sharp in a game of one-on-one, who wins and why? Pat and I competed against each other every day in practice. Coach Bentley always said he thought it made each of us much better players to have the other one to push us each day in practice. I’m sure Pat and I each won our share of those daily battles in practice. I was very fortunate to have Pat as a teammate when it came to game time. He was a great player, and an even nicer guy. Pat was certainly a better pure basketball player than me, but no one loved to play more than I did so I found a way to get it done most of the time. Let’s call it a tie. It’ll make me feel better whether it’s true or not.
And speaking of Pat, who was the better dunker between you two? I was never a dunker. Anyone who remembers me knows that, although I threw down a few in warmups when the refs weren’t looking, just to prove I could. Pat could definitely dunk, so he clearly wins that one.
You played for Coach Bentley at both CCHS and at Clinch Valley College. Is it true it was tougher to play for him at the high school level than in college? Coach Bentley played on the JV team at West Point when Bobby Knight coached there and he took a lot of the Knight approach to basketball with him into coaching so it was really tough to play for him at both CCHS and Clinch Valley. However, his practices at CCHS were much tougher and longer than in college at Clinch Valley. I asked him about that one time and he said it was because you had to spend so much more time teaching and working on the fundamentals of basketball with high school players than with college players. I never knew how great it was to get a break and a drink of water until preseason basketball practices at CCHS under Coach Bentley. However, he was a great coach and I loved playing for him. That’s why I played for him at Clinch Valley when he left CCHS to coach in college.
At Clinch Valley, you were an All-American on the basketball court and in the classroom. How hard was it to achieve that rare standard both athletically and academically? I was a decent basketball player and a decent student. However, I worked hard and became a better player each year I played in high school and then once I concentrated on just basketball in college, I became better each year I played in college. It was the ability to get better each year through hard work that ultimately resulted in the recognition I received. That was true not only on the court but also in the classroom. I grew up on a peach and apple farm in Cana and anyone that has grown up on a farm knows there is always work to do on a farm. So, it was the work ethic that I learned on the farm from both of my parents that translated into success on both the basketball court and in the classroom.
What was the most embarrassing thing to ever happen to you on the basketball court? In college, in a game against Middle Tennessee State, I missed a wide open dunk on a break away. I told you I wasn’t a dunker.
How close were you to playing football at Davidson College, and how much different do you think your life would be had you opted for the gridiron instead of the hardwood? I was 6’ 6” and 225 lbs. my senior year and a first-team all-conference defensive tackle on our CCHS football team. I visited Davidson and their head coach came to my home trying to entice me to play for them. I also was invited and took visits to VA Tech and two trips to UNC at Chapel Hill. However, when I wasn’t offered a scholarship by VT or UNC, I decided that playing college basketball was my best option. I think my potential was likely greater in football than in basketball given my size and abilities, but I loved basketball. I don’t regret the decision. I certainly wonder “what if” sometimes, but I don’t regret going the basketball route. I had hip replacement on my left hip just after I turned 50 two years ago, so I think football would likely have taken even more toll on my body than years of playing basketball did.
Is it true you are only third best post player from Cana in your class behind Chris Smith and Michael Easter? Yes, but thank goodness they didn’t decide to play in high school. We had some great games though over the years on the basketball court at St. Paul and the outside courts during the summers at Lambsburg. That’s really what playing basketball is all about, having fun, playing with my friends like Chris, Michael and Gene Hawks when I was growing up and even after I got to college and after college.
How much did growing up on a farm prepare you for your current job as a tax consultant with Wells Fargo? Growing up on a farm teaches you a great work ethic. It also teaches you to get a good education so you can get off the farm! At work in my office on the wall for years I had a picture of an old farm house to remind me of where I came from. I definitely miss working outside on the farm some days when I look out the window and the weather is beautiful. However, not for a second would I trade jobs and go back to the farm. Farmers are hard workers and have a tough and challenging job and you have to admire all they do. I’m not that tough.
Last week, we asked your sister-in-law Robin Andrews which was more probable, her beating you one-on-one in basketball or you beating her in golf. Now we pose the same question to you, for comparison’s sake. Because I’ve had the benefit of seeing her answer in the paper, I’m going to be nice and say she’s right that she’d have a better chance of beating me in basketball than me beating her in golf. However, that’s only if we played full court. If we played half court, I’d win every time. I’m still 6’ 6” and I’d just back her down and shoot over her. Thankfully, I doubt either of us is crazy enough to play basketball at our age though.