Photos Courtesy of Conference Carolinas
BELMONT, N.C. – Lees-McRae College President Barry Buxton and Vice President of Athletics and Club Sports Craig McPhail were both recognized by the Conference Carolinas Monday evening at the league's Legends of the Game banquet. Buxton was bestowed the Heritage Award, while McPhail received the Milestone Award.
The Heritage Award is one given to an administrator who has dedicated meritorious service to the conference. The Milestone Award, meanwhile, is given to an administrator that has at least 15 years of service in collegiate athletics. A coach receiving the Milestone Award has surpassed 200 career wins in soccer or lacrosse; 250 wins in basketball, tennis or volleyball; 500 in baseball or softball; or 15 years of coaching in golf, cross country or track.
Buxton has served as Lees-McRae's President since June 1, 2010 and is the fifteenth to do so in the 118-year history of the institution. During a career that has spanned over 35 years, Buxton has been in service to historical societies, museums of science and history as well as higher education. Buxton's presidency marked a new chapter for Lees-McRae College. Almost all of campus witnessed a transformation—from its academic buildings and residence halls, to its grounds, academic programming and even its technology infrastructure. Born in nearby Blowing Rock, North Carolina, the high country native brought a new perspective to a college that had struggled in the past.
McPhail is entering his 20th year at Lees-McRae College. He came to Banner Elk in 1998 as the Sports Information Director and Men's and Women's Cross Country Coach. McPhail spent the first 11 years at the helm of the Bobcat cross country programs winning 13 conference championships and 11 Coach of the Year honors. In 2009, he was promoted to Director of Athletics. While at the helm of the Bobcats athletic department great changes have occurred. Facility upgrades for all sports have occurred with locker additions and enhancements as well. The addition of the Bobcat Club has given great opportunities to build upon the student-athlete experience. Areas of social media, webcasting, and photography have been upgraded to showcase the Bobcats at their best. The Hall of Fame was also brought back to life under McPhail's watch. He helped orchestrate apparel and equipment deals which have saved the college money, while promoting the brand to higher levels.
Recognizing conference members is important as each institution continues to embody and instill the mission of the conference. Conference Carolinas Conference Carolinas is built upon the idea of offering challenging NCAA competition in an environment that fosters both the academic and athletic achievements of its student-athletes, committed to building tomorrow's leaders.