Jerry Darnell Stackhouse, Singing the National Anthem

Jerry Darnell Stackhouse 

Jerry Darnell Stackhouse was born on November 5, 1974 in Kinston, NC, to George and Minnie Stackhouse. He grew up the youngest of 11 children (seven brothers and four sisters.) It’s no wonder that Jerry became so athletic as he spent his childhood trying to keep pace with his seven half-brothers. Athletic talent runs deep in Jerry’s family. Jerry’s older brother, Thomas Dawson, was a basketball star at Lenoir Community College in Kinston, NC during the 1970’s. At one point during his tenure at LCC, he led the nation in scoring, averaging better than thirty-five points per game. “And that’s before they had the three-point line,” he boasts. When Craig Dawson, Thomas’s son (Jerry’s nephew), was a star at Wake Forest University. From the time Jerry could dribble a basketball, he tried to imitate his seven older brothers. “You try to do what they can do,” Jerry said. “Then, you try to outdo them.”

Jerry traces his ambition and unflinching intensity to his upbringing. His father, George, never missed his 4 a.m. shift as a sanitation-truck driver in Kinston. Even today, while he battles diabetes and has a millionaire for a son, George refuses to let anyone else chop his firewood or mow his lawn. Jerry’s mom, Minnie, is a minister and worked for years as a short-order cook at the Surf & Turf Restaurant in Kinston. Jerry put in some time washing dishes at Surf & Turf during high school. He also briefly worked at a tobacco warehouse, suckering tobacco. “Jerry worked about three hours and barely made it through one row of tobacco before he decided that he had to try something else,” says George.

Jerry was very athletic growing up, playing baseball and football in addition to basketball. In 1987, he won a baseball championship. “I hit so many homeruns, that they stopped pitching to me,” claims Jerry. Jerry earned an MVP award as a quarterback of the football team at Savannah Middle School. “I played quarterback because I was the best we had, but if I had played in high school, I would have been a wide receiver,” says Jerry. “I could catch anything. I didn’t play in high school but I went to every game, home and away.”

The sport that Jerry did play in high school was basketball. He became a legend as he scored a total of 2,039 in only three seasons at Kinston High School. His highest scoring game of 43 points came against Wilson High School. “My mom raised us to have confidence in what we did and to show respect for our opponents no matter what sport we were playing,” says Stack. He averaged an amazing 29.8 points, 13.7 rebounds and 4.8 assists during his junior year! Overwhelmed by college recruiters, overzealous reporters and jealous classmates, he decided to play his senior season at Oak Hill Academy in quiet Mouth of Wilson, Va.

“Some of my friends had given up on school. “I just didn’t want to be coerced into trying some of those things. A couple of my friends dropped out of school and were selling drugs and trying to come up with fast money. I felt it could really jeopardize what I wanted to do,” says Jerry about leaving Kinston for Oak Hill.

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