Coaches



Sam Casey




Like most things at the new Currituck County High in 1976, head football coach Sam Casey was transfer from JP Knapp High. A long time coach at Knapp, Casey had coached the Knights to a Tidewater Conference championship in 1970, 1971 and 1972 (tie). After moving to the Albemarle Conference, Knapp finished 2nd in 1973 and first in 1975. In his two playoff appearances, Knapp lost to Ayden in 1970 and Gaston in 1975. At Currituck, Casey coached two seasons 1976 and 1977. He led the inaugural CCHS squad to an Albemarle Title and a playoff appearance, falling to Weldon by two, 16-14 in round one. Today, Coach Casey is long retired and continues to live in Currituck.




At Currituck: Two Seasons: 10-10 Record, 0-1 Playoffs

Bob Sapp


A Winston-Salem native, Bob Sapp played for Furman College before getting into coaching. Currituck was his first head coaching job, after years of being an assistant coach at several places including with High Point Andrews when High Point won a 4A state title. After a year as an assistant at NC State, Sapp took over Currituck in 1978. In three years with the Knights, Sapp led CCHS to two Albemarle Conference Titles and of course the 1980 state title game. After leaving Currituck, Sapp moved to the middle of the state, making coaching stops at North Forsyth and South Brunswick, and an AD Stop at East Forsyth but it was his long tenure in two stops as Mount Tabor's coach that Sapp made his mark. He would go 68-18 in his first time as Tabor's head man, and 54-10 his second time around. After stepping down as coach he remained Tabor's AD for two more years. Recently inducted in Winston-Salem/Forsyth County High School Sports Hall of Fame, Sapp is now retired. 



At Currituck: Three Seasons: 21-15 Record, 4-2 Playoffs


Dan Antolik 


Taking a job on the heels of a state title run by a previous coach is always a hard thing to do, and it was not any easier for Dan Antolik. Prior to Currituck, Antolik lived in Colorado and West Virginia. He played football for Fort Lewis College (CO) from 1965-1968, and was Team MVP and Captain in '67, and '68. Later, he was an assistant coach at the college in the '70s. Today, he is an member of the Fort Lewis Athletic Hall of Fame. After coming to Currituck in 1981, from a position on the staff of Salem College in West Virginia, his tenure got off to a good start with a season opening 13-7 victory over Williamston. However, it went downhill from there, and Antolik was gone from Currituck by year's end. He quickly got a Head Coaching job with St. Paul's College, during which he was name dropped in Sports  Illustrated for being a white head coach at an HBCU, and was named the 1983 CIAA Co-Coach of the year after leading St. Paul's to a 7-3 record. He later had stints at Bridgewater College and Lafayette High School (Williamsburg, Virginia). Today he is an assistant coach at Christopher Newport University. 


At Currituck: One Season: 4-6 Record


Donnie Simpson


Simpson taking to Knights players in 1983.

An Albemarle area native, Donnie Simpson attended Elizabeth City High School. Following a college career at Elon, Simpson was a assistant coach at ECHS. He got his first head coaching job at rival Camden County High in 1973. Simpson would coach the Bruins through the '79 campaign, and led Camden to a sweep of Currituck in 1977, a spilts in 1978 and 1979. For two years, 1980 and 1981, Simpson coached at Randolph-Macon Acadamy in Virginia. However, in 1982, Simpson came back to NC to take over the Currituck job. Unlike his immediate precessors, Simpson stuck with the Knights and would stay until the 2000 season, 18 years later. At the time of his arrival, Simpson laid out a three year plan to the top of the conference, and indeed three years after arriving, CCHS won the conference title. In all as Coach, Simpson won over 100 games with Currituck as well as 5 Albemarle Conference Titles and an Eastern Regional Title. Twice, Simpson led teams went unbeaten in the regular season (1985 and 1989) and the '89 team was number one in the state for most of the year. One of the most well-respected coachs in the area, Simpson was an assistant in the East-West All Star Game of 1996, was named the NCHSAA Male Coach of the Year in 1997. Nearly every year of Simpson's tenure at Currituck, the Knights were predicted to compete for the title, or at worst, a playoff berth, and with few exceptions, CCHS was always in the mix during the season. After retiring from Currituck following the 2000 season (and a thrilling victory over Manteo), Simpson dabbled in coaching for most of the 2000s, helping out various teams such as Moyock Middle. Finally, in 2009, Coach Simpson returned to head coaching and the high school level, taking over Greenbrier Christian Academy in Chesapeake, Virginia. At GCA, Coach Simpson continued his career success, taking the Gators all the way to the state title game of the private school classification. After the 2013 season, Simpson stepped down as the Gators coach. In 2014, Simpson again delayed retirement and spent the year as the head coach of Currituck Middle School.

In August of 2017, Coach Simpson was elected to the North Carolina High School Athletic Association Hall of Fame! He will be inducted formally in the Spring of 2018, and honored publicly at halftime of NCHSAA Day next fall in Kenan Memorial Stadium on the campus of the University of North Carolina.



At Currituck: Nineteen Seasons: 116-92-1 Record, 7-10 Playoffs


Thomas Gardner

Like Antolik, Thomas Gardner had it rough due to the person he was replacing. Also like Antolik, Gardner's win-loss record did not help matters out. In fact, Gardner too, would last only one season at Currituck, a very dismal season. That year-2001-Currituck posted a winless 0-11 record. Gardner now works and is an assistant coach at Camden County High. 


At Currituck: One Season: 0-11 Record


Mark Kepler


A long time Simpson assistant, Mark Kepler was quite familiar with the Knights when he took over as head coach in 2002. In fact, as JV Head Coach in 2000, Kepler lead the young Knights to a Northeastern-Albemarle Conference Championship. However, in that year on JV alone, he would have more victories than his two year tenure as Varsity coach. Despite only winning five games in 2002 and 2003 though, Currituck made the playoffs in both seasons and even had a home game in '03. It was to no avail, as Currituck lost both postseason games in Kepler's tenure. Mr. Kepler continues to work at CCHS.


At Currituck: Two Seasons: 5-19 Record, 0-2 Playoffs



Rich Dombroski



An experience football person if there ever was one, Rich Dombroski had many credentials prior to being hired in 2004. A Parade All American and Florida all state offensive lineman at powerhouse St. Thomas Aquinas High in the late '80s, Coach D played football at Rice (1988 and 1989) and Georgia before his playing career ended due to a knee injury. After his playing days ended, Dombroski began his coaching career as an assistant at Cooper City High in Florida. He also was an assistant at Sranahan High in Fort Lauderdale, before becoming Linebacker and later D Line Coach at Iona College and had a internship with the Buffalo Bills. In 2002, Coach D came to North Carolina as Offensive Coordinator at 4A Jack Britt High helping the Fayetteville school reach the playoffs twice in a row. In 2004, Currituck hired Coach D to replace Mark Kepler. Like Donnie Simpson over two decades prior, Rich Dombroski promised a turnaround built on development over several years. Slowly, Currituck improved during Coach D's tenure, going from zero to two to four to nine wins in four years. The turnaround was based on the players buying into Coach D's message as well as his Spread Offense (Part of that certainly had to do with Coach D himself-at 6'5 with a loud voice, he does have a commanding presence). After finally returning to the playoffs in 2007, Dombroski opted to leave Currituck for Florida, deciding to return home, by taking over at Estero High in Lee County. Estero would go winless in 2008 (including the infamous 91-0 game), however, the Freshman team did much better, providing optimism for the future. Eventually, much like at Currituck, Dombroski built the Wildcats back into a playoff contender. In 2014, Coach D left Estero and accepted the vacant position at SW Florida power Immokalee. Recently, Coach D was hired to start the Bonita Springs Football program.


At Currituck: Four Seasons: 15-30 Record, 0-1 Playoffs


Rex Sponhaltz 


A veteran coach before he took over Currituck, Rex Sponhaltz had coaching stops as an assistant at Guilford College and East Carolina, as well as head coaching experience at Big Walnut and Lakewood High Schools in Ohio before coming to the Outer Banks. Sponhaltz was then a long time Offensive Coordinator for Walt Davis at Manteo High, before becoming First Flight High School's first ever head coach. Sponhaltz led the Nighthawks for four seasons (going 11-34, but 2-2 against the Knights) before coming to Currituck. In 2009, he left CCHS to go back to Ohio and Lakewood High. 


At Currituck: One Season: 1-9 Record


John Wheeler 


Unlike the previous coaches, John Wheeler was not an outsider coming in. Rather, when Currituck hired Wheeler in early 2009, it was a homecoming. A Currituck native (his parents were both graduates of Knapp), Johnny Wheeler has always been a part of CCHS. An attendee of Knights Football camps put on by Coach Simpson, Wheeler learned football from the high school and played for the high school as well, as a varsity player in the 1999 and 2000 seasons. After graduating in 2001, Wheeler went to Chowan College and played for the Braves, earning the nickname "Bulldog". After getting his degree from Chowan, Wheeler returned to Currituck as a history teacher and an assistant football coach. He was part of Coach D's staff from 2005-2007 coaching inside linebackers. Wheeler left Currituck for Estero with Coach D in 2008, and was Varsity Defensive Coordinator and Freshman Head Coach with the Wildcats. After Coach Sponhaltz left however, Wheeler became the favorite for the Knights job, and ultimately got it. Since then, Coach Wheeler has built the Knights into a winning program once again, guiding the team to the Eastern Sectional Finals in 2011 and to the first conference championship since 1990 in 2013. For the latter finish, Wheeler captured the Northeastern Coastal Conference Coach of the Year Honors. Among his accomplishments in his nine seasons at Currituck include a winning record in the Byrd Bowl (6-3), beating Bertie for the first time (he has a winning record against the Falcons), winning at Hertford County, beating Hertford for the first time since 1996, beating Northeastern for the first time since 2007, beating Manteo for the first time since 2007, beating Manteo in consecutive seasons for the first time since 1999-2000, winning double-digit games for the first time since 1990, winning a playoff game for the first time since 1989, advancing to the 3rd round of the State Playoffs Twice, coaching a practice on Thanksgiving, and sending two players to the NCHSAA East-West All-Star Game. 


At Currituck: Nine Seasons: 39-67 Record, 4-5 Playoffs


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