Youngest member of Water Ski Hall of Fame.
One of the area’s best-recognized athletes was honored again last week, getting inducted into the North Carolina Water Ski Hall of Fame as a reflection on a professional career that has spanned more than a quarter of a century.
A plaque honoring April Coble-Eller now hangs on the wall of the hall of fame, which is located in the pro shop of the Coble family’s complex outside Lillington. The family operates the largest water ski facility in the world, Coble Ski School, at the site of an old quarry. Mrs. Coble-Eller is the youngest person to ever be inducted in the N.C. Water Ski Hall of Fame.
The plaque honoring Mrs. Coble-Eller reads that she was inducted into the hall of fame for her “outstanding contributions to the sport of water skiing.”
She was chosen by a committee of her peers in the sport of water skiing.
It was presented at a ceremony last weekend. Mrs Coble-Eller said it represents more than her individual career.
“This isn’t about me, team Coble made this happen,” Mrs. Coble-Eller said. “I had a lot of support along the way.”
She said the experience made her emotional.
“I felt loved by everyone who was in that room that night,” Mrs. Coble-Eller said. “This was absolutely an honor to receive this award.”
Mrs. Coble-Eller began learning to ski at the age of 3 at the lake near the Coble home in Angier, before the family moved to Lillington. Her competitive career began in 1991 with a tournament in Indiana.
The sport sent her around the world, visiting countries in every corner of the globe. In the process she has won more than 20 national titles and multiple individual and team world championships. She also participated in the sport while a student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and won collegiate awards while she studied at the school.
Her awards range from the individual categories, jump, slalom and trick, to overall awards for excellence in the sport.
Her recognition also includes her career working as a water ski official and coach. It also considers other factors including integrity, sportsmanship and character.
The award came during the same period Mrs. Coble-Eller and her family ran a successful business that has continued to grow. The Coble Ski School has continued to be recognized as the premier facility of its type in the world. The business was recognized in 2017 as the Lillington Chamber of Commerce Business of the Year. It operates both as a summer camp and camp offering instruction for people of all ages.
Mrs. Coble-Eller joins both her parents, who have already been inducted into the North Carolina Water Ski Hall of Fame.
Her mother, Shirley, has competed in senior divisions of the sport in recent years.
Gary Coble, the patriarch of the family, also competed in the sport and had a career as a teacher and football coach in the Harnett County School system.
The state hall of fame has been in existence since 2005. Plaques of legends and ambassadors in the sport who have been inducted are on display at the Coble Ski School pro shop.
Last week’s celebration is likely the first of two recognitions for Mrs. Coble-Eller. She will mark three years retirement from professional competition in August which makes her eligible for the National Water Ski Hall of Fame which is located in central Florida in Polk City. She has already been nominated as a possible candidate to be inducted this year. Story and photos courtesy The Daily Record