"We just learned of the passing of our head wrestling coach Anthony Dunbar who died in his sleep last night. Please keep Coach Dunbar's family in your thoughts and prayers this Christmas," the school - located just outside Raleigh, the state capital -- tweeted from its athletic department Twitter account.
Cary High School's principal weighed in with his own message on Twitter:
The entire Cary HS community is heartbroken. Coach Dunbar was a terrific coach who understood and embraced the magical role that coachs play in shaping the character and work ethic of today's youth. I know that he truly loved his team, his staff, his mentor, and his alma mater. https://t.co/tO7otIhe89��" Nolan Bryant (@PrincipalIMP) December 25, 2019
Dunbar had a long-time connection with the Cary High wrestling program that endured to the days just before Christmas. He had wrestled at Cary in the late 1990s, as a member of the school's state championship teams in 1996, 1997, and 1998. Dunbar was named the Co-Most Outstanding Wrestler at the 1998 dual team championship, according to HighSchoolOT.com.
Dunbar returned to Cary in 2006 to join the wrestling coaching staff. He helped lead the Cary Imps to seven state mat titles.
In 2017, Dunbar became Cary High's fourth head wrestling coach in 2017. In his first two seasons, the Imps won the Tri-6 Conference title; the 2018 team went on to win the Mideast regional championship and the school's 21st wrestling state title.
In 2018, Dunbar was named the league's coach of the year in 2018. This past season, Dunbar was named the 4A wrestling coach of the year for all of North Carolina.
UPDATE Saturday Dec 28, 2019
A memorial service to honor Anthony Braxton Dunbar will be held Thursday, January 2, 2020 at 2 p.m. at Hope Community Church- Raleigh, 821 Buck Jones Road, Raleigh, NC 27606.
In lieu of flowers, the family has suggested contributions to The Cary Imp Club - Wrestling at: Mike Dunphy, 638 Walnut Street Cary, NC 27511 Checks to: Cary Imp Club-Wrestling.