Dr. Charles Kernodle ’38 to be inducted into N.C. Sports Hall of Fame

Dr. Charles Kernodle '38 has been announced as a member of the 57th induction class of the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame.

The North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame has announced Dr. Charles Kernodle, Jr. ’38 as one of the 12 members of its 2020 induction class.

Kernodle is a 102-year-old Elon alumnus known for his role as the Burlington Williams High School football team doctor for 70 years. Kernodle is only the second doctor to be inducted into the Hall, following Dr. Lenox Baker, who trained Kernodle at Duke Hospital.

Kernodle graduated from Elon in 1938 before continuing his education at Duke University. His studies, however, were put on hold during World War II when he joined the U.S. Army and served as a chief surgeon for two years in Europe. Kernodle completed his residency at Duke in 1946 and returned to Burlington to practice as a surgeon in 1949.

Dr. Charles Kernodle, Jr. ’38 has been on the sidelines for the Bulldogs for decades.

That same year, Kernodle also took on the role of football team doctor at Williams, where he continued to serve during the 2019 season. To this day, people close to the program say Kernodle rarely misses a home or away game. Elon alumnus and former Williams High School football player and coach Sam Story ’69, whose family has known Kernodle since his clinic opened in 1949, admires the care Kernodle brings to the football field.

“He’s very humble, kind and always there,” Story said. “He was the first on the field if a Williams player or the other team’s player got hurt. He was out there looking after all the kids.”

Kernodle also served as a physician for the Elon football and basketball teams under coaches Sid Varney, Bill Miller and Bill Morningstar.

In 1950, Kernodle, his brother Harold and cousin John Robert ’35 started the Kernodle Clinic, a practice with more than 50 medical providers and 350 support staff in 15 areas of specialty as part of Duke Health. The clinic has served its community for decades, and its tradition of providing free physical exams for area middle and high school students is something Kernodle says still makes him proud.

Kernodle retired from private practice in 1984, but has continued his service to Williams High School.

For his contributions in the community, Kernodle was recognized with the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, North Carolina’s highest honor, in 2014. He was also honored with the Alamance County Area Chamber of Commerce Distinguished Service Sports Award and the NCHSAA Russell E. Blunt Legend Award. In 2007, Williams High School renamed its football field after Kernodle for his 90th birthday.

In the Fall 2017 edition of the Magazine of Elon, Kernodle said he is proud of his work as a surgeon, but also hopes to be known for his dedication to Alamance County.

“I’d like to be remembered as active in the community, working with young people and trying to help them go down the right track,” he said.

Kernodle joins a class that includes Debbie Antonelli, Muggsy Bogues, Mack Brown, Dennis Craddock, Mac Morris, Trot Nixon, Julius Peppers, Bobby Purcell, Judy Rose, Tim Stevens and Donnell Woolford.

“This year’s class encompasses all fields of athletics, including professional, collegiate, high school and special achievements,” said Nora Lynn Finch, president of the Hall. “This 57th class of inductees and their outstanding accomplishments continue to build on the rich sports heritage of North Carolina. We look forward to celebrating this special time in our state’s sports history.”

The North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame’s Class of 2020 will be inducted during the 57th annual induction banquet on Friday, May 1, at the Raleigh Convention Center.

To learn more about the Hall’s 57th class, click here.