Michael Jordan’s high school basketball coach dies
Clifton “Pop” Herring, who coached basketball superstar Michael Jordan in high school, died this week, according to his daughter Paquita Yarborough.
Herring was 67, his daughter said.
Herring was the men’s basketball coach at Emsley A. Laney High School, in Wilmington, North Carolina, when a teenage Jordan was honing his skills.
He was famously known as the coach who cut Jordan during his sophomore year at Laney in the late 1970s, what became known as the “Great Cutting Myth.” However, Jordan was actually placed on junior varsity rather than varsity, according to a 2012 Sports Illustrated story.
Jordan ultimately played varsity his junior and senior year at Laney, Yarborough said.
Jordan and her dad a great relationship back then, she said.
“Michael would show up at the house on Sundays and tell us to wake up — and come to church,” she said.
Yarborough said that her dad would drive Jordan and fellow Laney teammates in his green Ford Maverick up to Boone, North Carolina, for basketball camps.
“He’d stay late at the school so the kids could play longer — driving them home afterward,” she said.
CNN reached out to Jordan for a comment about Herring’s passing, but has not heard back.
Herring was a talented athlete himself in college, Yarborough said. He played football and baseball while attending North Carolina Central University.
Yarborough told CNN her father had two nicknames — “Pop” and “Sweet Man” — the latter being a shoutout to Herring’s sweet, kind and humorous nature. The high school players always said that “he was like a big brother to them,” Yarborough said.