A multi-sport student-athlete at East Carolina College from 1951-55, Wilson native Paul Gay is best known for his success on the football field. A halfback on the football team from 1951-53, Gay was named all-state and All-North State Conference during the 1953 season. He also played baseball, basketball and golf for the Pirates.
Gay stayed involved in both education and athletics since his East Carolina days, having coached and taught numerous sports and subjects at the high school level. He spent 25 years of his career at Sanford Central High School in Sanford, N.C., serving as a biology and physical education teacher, head football coach, and athletics director.
As football coach, Gay led his team, to eight conference championships, for co-state championships, and one state championship. In 1973 he was named the North Carolina Coach-of-the-Year by Associated Press. The Sanford community honored Gay by renaming the Sanford Central football stadium the "Paul B. Gay Stadium". Gay has also been inducted into the North Carolina High School Athletic Association Hall of Fame.