E.E. Smith High School’s Dee Major Hardy has received a number of significant honors in her long coaching career, but few will top the one she got at the school’s recent spring reunion. During the weekend ceremonies, the school announced that the basketball court in E.E. Smith’s D.S. Kelly Gymnasium had been named in Hardy’s honor, as the Dee Major Hardy Court.
Hardy was a high school basketball star at Smith before enrolling at what was then Pembroke State and is now the University of North Carolina at Pembroke. During her years there, she was second team National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics All- American in basketball in 1985 and two-time All-District player in volleyball in 1982 and 1983.
She finished her college basketball career with 1,555 points.
She joined the faculty at E.E. Smith after graduating Pembroke and has coached volleyball and basketball at the school. She’s led her teams to multiple conference titles in both volleyball and basketball.
In 2011, she was inducted into the Fayetteville Sports Club Hall of Fame.
She was the District 4 basketball Coach of the Year in 2018 and 2019. She won the 2011 North Carolina High School Athletic Association Doris Howard Female Coach of the Year Award and was a 2016 winner of the NCHSAA Homer Thompson Memorial Eight Who Make A Difference Award from Region 4.
Hardy joins Cape Fear’s Howard and Douglas Byrd’s Robin Long as the only Cumberland County female coaches to have a gym, court or field named for them. The softball field at Cape Fear High School bears Howard’s name while the softball field at Byrd is named for Long.
This past season was one of Hardy’s most successful as basketball coach at E.E. Smith. Her team compiled a 30-2 record, winning the Patriot Athletic Conference regular season and tournament titles along with the Gene Arrington bracket of the annual Holiday Classic basketball tournament.
The Smith girls advanced to the NCHSAA 3-A Eastern Regional title game before falling 62-59 to Eastern Guilford.
Photo: Dee Major Hardy