Charles Futrell, a 1942 East Carolina Teacher's College Alumnus, played football and baseball at ECTC from 1938-41. As a senior on the ECTC baseball team, Futrell served as team captain and batted .404. Following college, Futrell served as a U.S. Air Force Physical training instructor during World War II and was successful as a high school coach in Maryland. Following his retirement in 1976, Futrell continued his love for athletics, becoming a world class triathlete.
In 1991, Futrell was the U.S. male champion in the 70-and-over category in the Gatorade Ironman World Championship Triathlon in Kona, Hawaii. At 72, Futrell was one of 1,400 qualifiers of 20,000 applicants for the race. He finished the 140.6 mile swim-bike-and run with a new American record of 15 hours, 35 minutes and 22 seconds and third in the world for his age category. In May of 1993, Futrell qualified to compete in his second Ironman Triathlon.
A member of the 1992 Triathlon Time All-America Triathlon team, Futrell competed on over 300 races during his career, including two New York Marathons. He was also a member of the 60-and-over mile relay team that broke the world record in 1983 (4:43.0).