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Hall of Famer Harvey a heralded three-sport star

Nearly 20 years since he last played a game in Gwinnett County, the name Terry Harvey still gets mentioned in high school coaching circles.

To coaches and others who saw him compete, the former Dacula star is the classic example of a slowly vanishing, throwback creature, the three-sport star.

In the modern era of specialization, most youngsters dedicate their time to one, possibly two sports. Few still shuffle between three sports like Harvey did, and few over the years have matched his stardom in all three -- football, baseball and basketball.

"It's just the era we're in, you don't see kids doing (three sports) much anymore," said Harvey, who will be inducted with the inaugural class of the Gwinnett County Sports Hall of Fame at Sunday's Gwinnett Braves game. "It's a combination of things. There are so many things for kids to get involved with and it's also got to do with parents, especially with kids at younger ages, pushing their kids to one sport. I've seen parents steer their kids to one sport, like this is going to be their meal ticket.

"I'm raising three boys now and I want them to be versatile, to do as many sports as they can. They'll figure it out from there, what they like. But at least they'll have the experience of different things and they'll know what they want to do."

Back in his day, Harvey did it all.

He excelled in football, baseball and basketball from an early age, playing the latter two in Dacula from the start. He began his football career as a 6-year-old in Lawrenceville because Dacula didn't offer the sport yet, though he eventually became a Falcon in football, too.

One of four children, he spent his youth in Gwinnett going from practice to practice, game to game.

"I got tremendous support from my family," Harvey said. "My mom and dad did whatever it took to get us places, driving us around after their work. They paid the price and made huge sacrifices for their kids."

Harvey never gave up any of his three favorite sports, even as he got to high school, where his feats became legendary as he started on the varsity all four years in all three sports.

As Dacula's quarterback, he led the football team to a 46-7 record and a trip to the Class A semifinals in 1990. He accounted for more than 7,100 yards and 82 touchdowns in his career, earning state player of the year honors as a senior.

He also intercepted a county-record 14 passes in 1990 as a defensive back.

"The major thing is he started on both sides of the ball for us," said Mike Strickland, Harvey's coach at Dacula. "He started at free safety and quarterback and he never came off the field."

As cold weather came each year, Harvey migrated inside, where he was an all-state basketball player. He had six games in his career with 14 or more assists, including a county-record 19 against Social Circle during the 1989-90 season. But basketball was the sport where he got the least acclaim of the three.

He also had a great love for baseball and his power pitching made him a coveted prospect in that sport. Various colleges recruited him for one sport or the other, but he chose North Carolina State because he had the opportunity to play both baseball and football there.

Harvey started three games his freshman season at N.C. State, guiding the team to the Peach Bowl. He redshirted the following season, then started three years and totaled 5,925 passing yards, at the time the third-most in Wolfpack history. He led the team to three bowl games during that span.

The right-hander was perhaps even more dominant in baseball, being drafted by major league teams on three different occasions. He set N.C. State records for career wins (35) and strikeouts (386) and became the first pitcher to no-hit Florida State, part of a college career that later made him one of 50 players on the ACC's 50th anniversary baseball team.

Harvey turned down the opportunity to end his college career early, even returning for a fifth year of football at N.C. State while putting his baseball plans on hold. He eventually played four baseball seasons in the minor leagues, but a torn labrum and rotator cuff problems derailed his athletic career.

The 38-year-old is still accustomed to answering questions of why he didn't pursue an NFL career.

"It's just a brutal sport at that level and your body lasts longer in baseball, plus baseball made itself available to me," Harvey said. "I didn't have any problems giving (baseball) up when I got hurt. I always said I would play until I couldn't anymore and then I'd hang it up. And to be honest, I haven't thought about it one day since."

Harvey and his wife Catherine settled down in Cary, N.C., where they're raising three boys -- 8-year-old Andrew, 6-year-old Luke and 2-year-old Reed. His sons are into basketball, baseball, football and golf, joining their dad (a 1 handicap) regularly in the latter sport.

In addition to his years of work with a global logistics company, he also works radio broadcasts each week for N.C. State football games.

"It's a great area up here, in all my travels I haven't quite found a place like the Triangle up here," Harvey said. "It's so nice and that's why it's always ranked so high on the quality of living every year."

Harvey's busy life hinders him in one regard, keeping him from regular visits back to Gwinnett. His father still lives in Dacula (his mother passed away eight years ago) and his siblings are still in the area.

"I do hate the fact that I've lost touch with some people, but we're all in the same boat with our priorities changing and raising kids," Harvey said. "I still feel close to a lot of folks even though we haven't talked lately. I look forward to seeing some familiar faces (on Sunday)."

Even Harvey's stay this time will be short. After his son's little league game today, the family will drive down to Gwinnett a day ahead of the hall of fame ceremony. He's excited about seeing how much Dacula has changed since his last visit.

Then he leaves town shortly after the Sunday induction ceremony to celebrate one of Gwinnett's all-time best in multiple sports.

"I am a product of the community more than just myself," Harvey said. "Hopefully there's a sense of accomplishment for the community in Dacula, too. A lot of hard work by other people in Dacula made everything possible for me. They gave me the platform to succeed. I had a ton of support. So hopefully Dacula can feel a sense of ownership and share this honor with me."