William Dudley Whitley
The News & Observer, on 1/5/2009
William Dudley Whitley,
74, died on Saturday, January 3, 2009.
Born in Edgecombe County September 24, 1934, he was the son of W.D. Whitley,
Sr. and Elma Brown Whitley.
He grew up in Pinetops, NC and attended the local schools until his senior
year in high school when he transferred to Rocky Mount High where he excelled
as an athlete in football, basketball and baseball.
He attended N.C. State University on a Baseball Scholarship and was named
to the all ACC Baseball team his junior and senior years.
After graduation from State, he played professional baseball in the Milwaukee
Braves farm system for several years before returning to Rocky Mount to
teach and coach in the Rocky Mount City School System.
Prior to his retirement in 1996, he held many positions with the city
schools including Teacher, Coach, Principal, Director of Personnel, Athletic
Director and Superintendent of Schools.
In the 1962-63 school year when Rocky Mount High School won the State
AAAA championships in football, basketball and baseball, he was assistant
coach in football, assistant coach in basketball and head coach in baseball.
He was instrumental in the organization of the North Carolina High School
Athletic Directors Association and was an early inductee into that organization's
Hall of Fame. He was an avid Wolfpacker, an active church member and a
He is survived by Sheila Robbins Whitley, his wife of 52 years; their
daughter, Beth Pridgen and husband, Dwayne; their son, W.D. "Dee"
Whitley, III and wife, Crystal; and three beloved grandsons, Will Pridgen,
W. D. "Lee" Whitley IV and Ben Whitley all of Rocky Mount.
A memorial service will be held at the First Presbyterian Church of Rocky
Mount on Monday, January 5, 2009 at 4:00 p.m., with Dr. Jody Wright and
Rev. Elizabeth Edwards officiating. Coach Whitley has requested that all
former players and fellow coaches sit together in the left front area
of the church.
The family will greet friends in the Foyer of the church following the
If desired, memorials may be made to the Youth Ministry of Lakeside Baptist
Church or to Hospice of Nash General Hospital.
Arrangements are by Wheeler and Woodlief Funeral Home and Cremations,
1130 N. Winstead Ave., Rocky Mount, NC.
Online condolences may be sent to the Whitley family by visiting www.wheelerandwoodlief.com.