Hank Norton, one of the most celebrated figures in Ferrum College history, was saddened earlier this month by the passing of another Ferrum Sports Hall of Famer: his wife.

Lucy Norton was 85 when she died Feb. 1 at the Nortons’ retirement home in Deltaville on Virginia’s middle peninsula. They had been married for 56 years.

“She was a great coach’s wife,” Hank Norton said Wednesday. “I left at 7 in the morning for breakfast check, I got home at 5:30 and ate with my three children and went on back to work at 7 to make telephone calls.”

Lucy Norton was named to the Ferrum Sports Hall of Fame in 2008 and was described in a news release as “the spirit and soul behind Ferrum Football from 1961-93.”

Hank Norton, who will be 90 in October, has been confined to a wheelchair since last fall, when he fell down while exiting a car on his way to Ferrum’s season-opening football game and suffered a broken hip and leg.

His wife, who had been in failing health for three years, taught school in Franklin County when she wasn’t serving at football concession stands or working fundraisers.

“At games, I would ask our children, ‘Where’s your mother?’ ” Norton said. “And, they’d tell me, ‘She’s up praying in the press box.’

“She was a laid-back person who was happy most of the time. Mostly, she put up with me. Ferrum was a little place with no scholarships, but she was happy there.”

Flipping

In-state football players who changed their minds before national signing day included Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, a linebacker from Bethel High School in Hampton who was rated the No. 28 prospect in Virginia by The Roanoke Times.

Owusu-Koramoah, who had been committed to UVa since October, signed with Notre Dame. UVa previously lost committed offensive linemen to North Carolina State and Indiana.

n Peyton Henry, a kicker from Danville, California, who had committed to Virginia in December, reversed paths late in the recruiting process and took a preferred walk-on spot at Washington. UVa also signed kicker Brian Delaney from Chantilly, who made the Parade All-America team as a punter.

Looking ahead

Two days after signing day, Penn State picked up an oral commitment from Ricky Slade, a running back from Hylton High School in Woodbridge who was rated the No. 1 junior prospect in Virginia by The Roanoke Times.

Penn State offered Slade a scholarship in December of his freshman year at Hylton, when he scored eight touchdowns in one game. He rushed for 1,792 yards and scored 20 touchdowns this past season and is rated the nation’s No. 1 all-purpose back by 247Sports.

Overlooked

Vanderbilt signed Chris Pierce, a 6-foot-4 wide receiver from Smithfield High School who was rated the No. 90 prospect in Virginia by The Roanoke Times. Pierce had 90 receptions for 1,485 yards and 24 touchdowns in his final two seasons.

He had offers from Virginia, Wake Forest, and Boston College, according to rivals.com, and took official visits to Old Dominion and Central Florida.

Legacy

UVa has taken a men’s basketball commitment from 6-6 Austin Katstra, a preferred walk-on from Albemarle High School, where he is the leading scorer and rebounder in program history.

Katstra is the son of UVa senior associate athletic director Dirk Katstra. Both Dirk Katstra and his father, Richard, played for the Cavaliers and preliminary research indicates that Austin would be the first third-generation UVa player.

Hiring

Former Virginia assistant football coaches Vincent Brown and Chip West have surfaced on the staff of new Howard University head coach Mike London, the head coach at UVa from 2010-15.

London, most recently an assistant at Maryland, also has hired former UVa defensive lineman Keenan Carter. West will be the recruiting coordinator and Brown will be the defensive coordinator after a stint as co-defensive coordinator at Connecticut.

Milestone

Wofford University men’s basketball coach Mike Young, a Radford High School product, moved into second place on the Southern Conference list with 244 coaching wins with a 79-76 victory over East Tennessee State on Monday night.

Young previously had been tied with Burton Shipley (Maryland)and Mack McCarthy (Tennessee-Chattanooga). First is current Davidson coach Bob McKilliop with 447 wins.

Doug Doughty is in his 44th year at the Roanoke Times, having produced an estimated 10,000 by-lines, a majority of them on University of Virginia athletics.

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