Return to Headlines

Two Chapel Hill High School Coaches Win Top State Awards

Chapel Hill High School (CHHS) can boast of not one, but two North Carolina State High School Coaches of the Year, with Joan Nesbit Mabe winning for Men’s Cross Country and Greg Zoltners for Men's Swimming and Diving. Both Mabe and Zoltners coached their teams to state 2019-2020 titles. They are both building on a string of successes at the state level, and they hope to continue their streaks in the coming year.

Mabe was the head men's and women's cross-country coach at the University of North Carolina from 1993-1998, but she left coaching to stay home and raise three daughters. “But I was sad every day around 3:30p.m. because I so missed coaching,” Mabe said. “I was thrilled beyond words to get the Chapel Hill High coaching job after Ron Olsen retired, and I have loved every minute of these last seven years leading the Tigers to six state titles and five runner-up finishes (for a total of 11 podium finishes).”

“The best part of my job is sharing the joys (and heartaches) with my husband and assistant coach, Dave Mabe, who is also our world-class bus driver.  Covid 19 has been particularly challenging for all of us because putting team over self is kind of impossible when you aren't allowed to meet in person,” Mabe said.

“After waiting since March 16th to be together as a team, I believe we are more motivated than ever to repeat as State Champions for the boys and steal an upset win for the girls (ranked 3rd going into 2020 state meet).  The last time Chapel Hill High was double state champions in cross-country was 2016, and I think it's about time for another double Tiger victory,” said Mabe.  

“I have been fortunate to coach a tremendous group of swimmers these past few years, swimmers who showed commitment and determination along with good sportsmanship and good citizenship,” Zoltners said. “After a few years placing second at the state championships, we managed to take the 2020 title with a thrilling come-from-behind victory in the last event. With a relatively small team, every swimmer had to step up and contribute, and they did. We had swimmers who overcame serious injuries during the course of the season, and we managed to put it all together at the end. I am proud to coach these boys, and I am looking forward to what they can do this year.”

CHHS Athletic Director, Tim Bennett, said, “We are so proud of Coach Zoltners and Coach Mabe on being recognized by the NCHSAA and NFHS with this honor and representing the CHHS Athletic Program so well.  Both are positive role models for their student-athletes and foster a family environment on their teams. They are passionate about helping young people succeed in the classroom and in their sport.”

Coach Zoltners’ Men's Swim & Dive CHHS Coaching Highlights:  

State Champs: 2019

State Runner-up:  2018

Regional Champs:  2018, 2019

Conference Champs:  2019


Coach Mabe’s Men's Cross Country CHHS Coaching Highlights:  

State Champs:  2016, 2019

State Runner-up:  2015, 2018

Regional Champs:  2016, 2017, 2018 

Conference Champs:  2013, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019