July 27, 2016

East Carolina men’s golf coach Press McPhaul remembers several things about his first recruiting trip to watch Harold Varner III play.

The tempo of Varner’s swing stood out, but so did some obvious flaws in how the Gastonia native hit the ball. McPhaul, who stands several inches north…


July 24, 2016

In a year stained by violence where the world seems to grow ever darker, it is amazing the small things that can restore your faith in mankind.

A funny tweet. An email from a dear friend. A news story about some kind and generous act.

Or the chance to witness a beautiful moment.

I have had that…


July 24, 2016

An athlete ending his or her career on top can be as rare as unicorns and seeing music on MTV.

For every John Elway, Ray Lewis and Peyton Manning, there are dozens of greats whose productivity fizzled as they neared retirement.

Jeff Gordon wasn’t able to close out his illustrious Sprint Cup…

NASCAR Indianapolis Auto Racing-3

July 23, 2016

Among the many true blessings that have come my way is one that sat next to me during a Greenville (N.C.) Noon Rotary Club meeting several years ago wearing a stylish red beret. Evelyn McNeill was in her early 80s and looking so elegant in her beret that most of us were not even aware it was hiding…


July 17, 2016

Aren’t the rocks in North Carolina good enough?

That was the question I had when I came across a NC home-school group traveling to West Virginia last month for a geology field trip.

The answer I got, from geologist Rob Greenberg of the Hawbridge School in Chapel Hill, conceded that the…


July 17, 2016

We’re barreling into Loudon today coming off what was simultaneously one of the deadest and yet chaotic weeks of the NASCAR season.

If you’re reading this, you likely know Hendrick Motorsports announced Thursday that Dale Earnhardt Jr. will sit out today’s race at New Hampshire…

NASCAR Pocono Auto Racing-5

July 16, 2016

Back in 2001, when Bobby Burns, then city editor of The Daily Reflector, was driving me around Greenville, N.C., and offering me a job, I distinctly remember the flood-damaged street we were on when the subject of hurricanes came up. “We do have hurricanes here,” he said, “but not…

Mark Rutledge

July 10, 2016

Do you remember your childhood hero?

Most of us had at least one person we longed to emulate — someone who helped shape the person we eventually became.

For me, that person was Lucy Colucci.

Mrs. Colucci was the librarian at Union Lake Elementary, the school where I spent the first six years…


July 09, 2016

The action late in last weekend’s Xfinity Series race at Daytona was everything that is fun about restrictor plate racing.

So, of course, this column isn’t about how great the racing was or what a great story it was to see Aric Almirola finally get to be behind the wheel for an Xfinity…

NASCAR Daytona Xfinity Auto Racing

July 09, 2016

My younger brother, Jeff, asked if I would accompany him on a mission to remove a large nest of yellow jackets from a friend's crawl space. Because my brother so rarely asks for assistance, it's hard for me to say no, but I managed.

"The good thing about this nest ...," my brother began before I…

Mark Rutledge
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