Wake Forest University’s recent appearance in the 2021 Gator Bowl strikes historical connection to Rockingham County.
Wentworth, NC (December 30, 2021) – Tis the Bowl Game Season and Rockingham County has ties to one of the oldest in the Nation. For the second time in history, Wake Forest University will head to Jacksonville, Florida to compete in the Gator Bowl. The Deacons appeared in the inaugural Gator Bowl in 1946, where a Rockingham County local scored the first touchdown. Later, this same man would be inducted into the school’s Hall of Fame, hold a promising football career but give that up to become a doctor in Rockingham County.
Nick Sacrinty was born in Reidsville in 1924 where he lived until he enrolled at Wake Forest, following his brother’s footsteps. Sacrinty played his first year of college ball in 1943 and was named the number one Tailback on the All-Southern team. Just two years later, Sacrinty was Captain of the Wake Forest Football team, was All-State, All-Southern as well as played in the first Gator Bowl. After his time in undergrad, the Reidsville local played for the Chicago Bears and was named Rookie of the Year in 1947.
Sacrinty played in the NFL for one year before going back to school at Bowman Gray Medical School in Winston-Salem. Sacrinty is quoted in a 1960s newspaper article saying in part “I knew the longer I stayed out of school, the harder it would be to go back.” He continued to say he loved the game of football but knew he always wanted to be a doctor. Before returning to and setting his permanent roots in Rockingham County, Sacrinty worked around the country and served in the U.S. Navy.
Dr. Ed Wilson, also known as Mr. Wake Forest for his time at the University, remembers his time with Sacrinty by saying in part “In Rockingham County he was known to be a very fine physician. He was as highly regarded in his career as he was in simply playing football.” Nick Sacrinty passed in April of 2008 at the then Morehead Memorial Hospital, the medical center that lead him back home to Rockingham County.
This year’s Gator Bowl will host Wake Forest a second time with Sophomore Quarterback Sam Hartman on the roster. Hartman’s father graduated from Reidsville High like Nick Sacrinty. Sam Hartman’s grandparents still live in the area. The 2021 Gator Bowl is set for the 31st of December.
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