The WIZS family is mourning the loss of one of its own, Ron Noel, who died Wednesday. Noel co-hosted the Tuesday and Thursday sports show with Trey Snide. Thursday’s show was dedicated to Noel, in appreciation for his enthusiasm for local sports, especially in Vance and Granville counties.
Joe Sharrow, Vance County High School athletic director, shared the mic with Snide on today’s program, and the two shared memories about their colleague and friend.
“He was a great man,” Sharrow said. “He was the type of person who wouldn’t want things to stop because of him,” he added.
WIZS colleague Bill Harris called in to the show to remember Noel. “When I would fill in for you on Sports Talk,” Harris told Snide, “I would rely on (Ron’s) wealth of knowledge of local sports to get me through the program.” He could talk about coaches and players on various teams and various sports, Harris said. “I would let Ron go on because he just knew so much.”
Noel loved baseball, but he was interested in, and knowledgeable of, other sports as well.
“He was always prepared,” Snide said. When he’d come into the studio at 12:30 for the 1 p.m. show and the sports news was a little slow, Snide said Noel would simply say “let’s do local.” “That’s what we’re all about,” Snide said, appreciative of the fact that his co-host was always game for talking about what’s going on in the community.
“We love you, we appreciate everything you’ve done for us,” Snide said in remembering his friend and colleague. “We loved your excitement,” he added, saying that Noel listened to the show every single day.
Sharrow said Noel “always had a positive twist on things…he had a long-term vision – you lost this one, but you’re going to be all right down the road,” he said Noel would say after a tough loss.
Whether he was walking into a gymnasium in Vance County or Granville County, or a favorite spot to meet buddies and swap stories – the Oxford Bojangle’s – it seemed that Noel greeted friends wherever he went.
“He was ‘the guy,’Sharrow said. “He knew everything that was going on anywhere – in Vance, Granville – it could be anywhere in the state,” he said. He lived in Granville County, but he worked at J.C. Penney in Henderson for many years, so his love for both counties was evident.
John Charles Rose phoned in to express condolences to Ron’s wife, son and extended family on behalf of the radio station. “We thank Ron for the contributions he’s made over the years and for his family sharing him with us,” Rose said via telephone. He said Ron “always came in with a topic to talk about,” and really enjoyed talking about local sports.
Sharrow said the local sports community has lost several important figures recently – Joe Stepusin, Clay Faulkner, and Wilton Baskett.
Baskett was known for being a flashy dresser, and sporting school colors courtside, Sharrow recounted. The yellow coat at Northern Vance, then the green coat at Vance County High School games – Baskett wore them proudly. “He really believed in dressing professionally,” Sharrow said, adding that Baskett told him that he’d never coached a game without a tie on
“Ron was his tailor,” Sharrow said. “Ron is the one who picked those clothes out!”
Snide recalled Noel’s thoughtfulness to others, but especially to him before airtime. He would call up before coming to the radio station and ask if we wanted something for lunch – chicken or hotdogs, usually. “That just goes to show what kind of person Ron was,” he said.
Later today, Noel’s son, Ray, will probably be on the sidelines at Granville Central High School in Stem as the Panthers host East Wake Academy in the second round of the baseball playoffs.
Sharrow said he talked with his friend and GCHS athletic director Wednesday night and the younger Noel said he was going to be there. “He said, ‘this is what my dad would want me to do,’” Sharrow said.
Sharrow and others in the local sports community will be there tonight to support their friend and colleague. “And,” Sharrow said, “I’m absolutely pulling for the Panthers tonight.”