by Pat Winter
When Leonard Carmichael married Georgeann forty-six years ago, they were both students at Elizabeth City State University. Over the years, they have moved often, but remember well traveling Route 17, the Ocean Highway, driving back and forth to Elizabeth City. In 2011, when they returned to Elizabeth City for Coach to work with cross country and track athletes at ECSU, they both recall seeing signs for Albemarle Plantation along that familiar route, but they really didn’t pay much attention to them. Yet it seems the Plantation life-style was just the thing they were look-ing for.
Leonard, who was born in Trenton, New Jersey, played four years of Viking basketball at ECSU, helping the team clinch the 1969 CIAA championship and bragging rights for many seasons to come. By 1972, he was signing on as a free agent with the ABA Denver Rockets. A three-year move to Orlando, Florida, came next where Leonard worked as an educator and coach. But Lumber-ton, New Jersey, a rural residential community with only one stop-light, was the place the Car-michaels finally settled down. Here the Carmichaels lived for 29 years, raising two sons and a daughter. Their family was an active part of Lumberton’s community sports scene, Leonard working as a coach in the schools, the children partici-pating in youth sports, and Ann being sure everyone was ready for each game, in the right place at the right time.
As their children grew up and retirement came closer, however, a move back to North Carolina seemed in order, as Leonard had a coaching opportunity at their alma mater. They settled in Elizabeth City for a year, but their memories of easygoing Lumberton life kept them looking for something more.
When their search finally brought them to our entrance gate, Ann recalled commenting, ”Now, this is what I’m talking about. It’s beautiful.” After looking at several homes, they chose one on the end of the cul-de-sac on Green Court East where you can catch a glimpse of the lake early every morning. Both Carmichaels feel at home here, where it reminds them of the rural peace and beauty of their community in Lumberton. Their daughter Monica, who has visited her parents several times on Green Court East, assures them, “This was the best move ever. It really feels like we are at a resort.”
Since their move to the Plantation, the Car-michaels have enjoyed several visits from Monica, who is an Early Childhood Administrator and was just named the State of New Jersey’s Administrator of the Year for 2017. They have also welcomed to their new home their son Bryce, who has recently completed his Master’s de-gree from ECSU in computer science and is now a pro-fessor at Rowan University. Their son Byron, who played professional soccer for the MLS, USL, and PDL, and is now an elementary school vice-principal in New Jersey, also stops by whenever he has the chance.
But, Coach’s children are not the only ones gar-nering all the attention. Coach Carmichael was induct-ed into the ECSU Hall of Fame in 1993 and has received the highest honor in sports at ECSU, its Legacy Award. In 2013, Coach Carmichael was inducted into the CIAA John McLendon Hall of Fame in Charlotte, NC. According to the CIAA website, the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association “recognizes inductees for their excellence in the CIAA, significant contribu-tions in the community, leadership in CIAA sports, and commitment to the CIAA mis-sion.” Way to go, Coach Carmichael!
Now, at home on the Plantation, Coach Carmichael is a member of the Rotary Club of Hertford and is presently recovering at home from recent hip surgery. Ann has come out of retirement to continue her work as a teacher’s aide at Elizabeth City’s Northside Elementary. They consider them-selves “snowbirds” of a sort, going back and forth to Lumberton to see family and friends, especially during the holidays. They look forward to getting more involved in the com-munity and enjoying a peaceful lifestyle on beautiful Albemarle Plantation.
Welcome home, Coach and Ann!