The Virginia High School League state basketball tournament is six days long. Each day there are six games, beginning in the mid-morning and ending late at night. For members of the tournament staff, such as Ted Salmon, the schedule is grueling: arrive at the Siegel Center at 8:30 a.m. Walk out the door at 11:30 p.m., about 15 hours later.
For the past nine years, Salmon has served as tournament director. Those nine tournaments are just a small percentage of the more than 200 postseason events he has run in 41 years as an athletics director first at Clover Hill and then Cosby.
On Wednesday, the league announced Salmon would be enshrined in the VHSL Hall of Fame. He’ll be inducted this fall, during Salmon’s final year before retirement.
“It’s a tremendous honor,” said Salmon. “I’m very humbled by the whole thing.”
Back in 1974, Salmon was an assistant football and head track coach at the new Clover Hill High School in Chesterfield County. When he got the job as AD, he didn’t quite know what he was doing.
But he felt it was his responsibility to make sure postseason tournaments were run correctly. So he took charge of the region basketball tournaments. When Clover Hill became a AAA school, he ran the larger Central Region basketball tournament.
And when the state tournament moved to Richmond, the VHSL knew exactly whom to ask to run the event. Salmon had been organizing basketball tournaments for years.
“It’s a lot of work, but it’s something I enjoy doing,” he said. “I enjoyed seeing teams from all over the state and meeting people.”
While the tournament lasts six days, preparation begins two months beforehand. Not until a week or two after the tournament is done is every T crossed and every I dotted.
“It’s a lot of paperwork involved,” said Salmon.
After serving as athletics director at Clover Hill from 1997-2006, Salmon moved a mile down Hull Street to Cosby High School, which opened in the fall of 2006. He’s been there ever since.
The stadium at the old Clover Hill High School was named in his honor.
As an athletics director, he’s managed numerous district, conference, region and state events. Because Cosby has fielded so many good teams that had home-field advantage, he’s hosted playoff games in softball, boys and girls soccer, baseball and tennis in recent years. Each game has a schedule that needs to be set, officials to be enlisted and gate money to be counted.
Salmon coached football at Clover Hill from 1975-2000, winning 151 games and five district titles. In 1969, he graduated from Meadowbrook, where he was a captain on the football and basketball teams. As a senior, he was Meadowbrook’s athlete of the year.
He graduated from East Carolina in 1972 and became a coach and teacher at Craddock High School in Portsmouth. A year later, he took a job at Clover Hill and “never looked back.”
“I made the right choice with what I wanted to do with my career and my life,” said Salmon. “It’s been a very rewarding career. I really have loved what I’ve done for a living.”
The other 2015 inductees are Alonzo Mourning, a seven-time NBA All-Star from Indian River High School; Bobby Lockhart, a runner from John Handley High School who won 18 individual titles, the most in Virginia High School League history; Keena Schuler Wood, a runner from Broadway High School who won 21 individual indoor and outdoor track championships; Ray Heatwole, a baseball coach at Turner Ashby and Spotswood High Schools who won 303 games and three state championships; Don McCool, a boys basketball coach at Mount Vernon, Hayfield, West Springfield, Falls Church and Prince George who won 431 career games and two state championships; and Don Darnton, who helps run the Virginia High School League scholastic bowl.