Watauga Coach Michael Neff Has Passed Away

Watauga County Schools have announced that Head Track Coach Michael Neff has passed away.  Details of his passing were not announced.

Coach Neff was in his second year as head coach of the Watauga Track & Field moving up from coaching and building the middle school program.  He was a graduate of Watauga High School in 2009 and worked as a PE teacher at Hardin Park Elementary School in Watauga County.

I can't speak highly enough of the person and coach Michael Neff was.  He cared so much about doing the best for his athletes and students.  With Watauga MS and Watauga HS being the only schools in the county, they'd take a bus hours away on a school night to make sure their athletes were getting the best competition they could.

In 2022 at the NCRunners Middle School Elite Invitational, the middle school state championship meet, Watauga boys and girls programs both unexpectedly swept the team titles in dominating fashion with their boys scoring 74.5 points to Murphy's 45 and girls 98 over Marvin Ridge's 84.5.  I'll never forget seeing him throughout the day all over the Gaston Christian venue rooting on his athletes across all events while seeing their team title chances increase as each event went on.  An interview with Coach Neff is above after that day.

Coach Neff was the coach who always offered to help out at events always excited to be there and helping young athletes learn and love the sport.  The impact he and his staff made on their athletes was clear to anyone who watched them compete.

Our thoughts go out to the Neff family and the Watauga community.  Every school and track program needs someone like Michael Neff.

Michael Neff Obituary