John Christenbury, a native of Statesville, N.C. and a 1930 graduate of Davidson College, served as head coach of the East Carolina Teachers College football, baseball and basketball teams from 1940-41.
In 1940, Christenbury led ECTC to its first winning football season with a 5-3 record. In 1941, the Teachers, under Christenbury, recorded the only undefeated/united football season in the school's history, going 7-0.
World War II forced ECTC not to field athletic teams from 1942-45, including Christenbury who was a United States Navy Lieutenant. He was among those who enlisted and in 1944 was killed in an ammunition ship explosion.
Following his death, Christenbury was honored with the naming of ECU's old gymnasium on 10th Street as the John B. Christenbury Memorial Gym. ECTC also established a memorial award in memory of the Pirate coach. In 1991, the players of the 1941 football team honored the memory of their coach, establishing the John B. Christenbury Memorial Alumni Honors Scholarship.