Ben Norman followed up an award-laden career at North Surry with a good college career and a brief stay in the NFL.
For his many achievements, the former running back and defensive lineman will be inducted into the Surry County Sports Hall of Fame this afternoon.
Norman flew in from his home in Colorado Friday so that he could attend the induction ceremony at 4 p.m. in the Surry Community College gym in Dobson.
“Ben played football, basketball and track at North Surry from 1971 to 1974,” said Ron King, retired teacher and coach. Ben manned the post in hoops and threw the shot and discus for track.
“He played basketball for me, but of course football was what he really stood out in,” said King, a Hall of Famer himself.
“Among his many all-conference honors and other awards at North Surry was his selection to play in the East-West all-star game in Greensboro in 1974,” said King.
“In practice, we had to be careful a lot of times because we were afraid he would hurt some of his own players,” noted King, who helped with the football squad back then. “He was absolutely one of the hardest hitters I’ve ever seen.”
At a solid 6-foot-1, Ben had the strength to make tackles on defense, but the speed and quickness to dodge tacklers on offense.
“Off the field he was very soft-spoken, quiet, but he would really hit you on the football field,” said the coach.
Now 56, Ben was the oldest of four children.
“Ben was very quiet,” said sister Henrietta. “Kept to himself mainly, that was Ben.”
When he was young, Ben had a stutter, but he worked on it and speaks fine now, she said.
Sports were big in the Norman household, she said. All of them took part in track, and Ben’s younger brothers also played football.
After high school, “Ben received a scholarship to Ferrum Junior College (Va.) where he played one year,” said King. “He then transferred to Walawala Washington Junior College.”
For his last two years, he played at big-time football program Colorado State, which has produced NFL standouts like Joey Porter and Clark Haggans for the Steelers and DE Al Baker who had a great career with the Lions.
After Colorado State, he was picked up as an undrafted free agent. He was briefly on the roster for the Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles.
He finally got a chance to be on the field with the Denver Broncos, playing in three games in 1980.
He hurt his shoulder and couldn’t play at full strength, noted King. That kept the coaches from seeing all he could do.
Despite his shortened pro career, Ben did plenty in high school and college to deserve his induction today.