The longtime coach and athletics director at Grimsley High School, Coach Bob Sawyer, remains a legend in North Carolina high school athletics. While attending Grimsley, Sawyer was an individual state swimming champion under the legendary Bob Jamieson winning the overall state title in 1954 and 1955. In 1957 and 1959, Sawyer was the national (NAIA) champion in backstroke and was named All-American in 1959 at East Carolina. In 1961, Sawyer returned to Grimsley for 30 years where his swimming teams won 16 consecutive conference championships and an unprecedented 15 straight NCHSAA state titles. Sawyer also coached track, cross country, and junior varsity football. In 1974 Sawyer was inducted into the East Carolina University Hall of Fame and in 1996 he was enshrined in the North Carolina High School Athletic Association Hall of Fame.