The first two North Myrtle Beach alumni to play in the NFL have also become the first to have their football jersey numbers retired by the school.
Ryan Quigley and Temarrick Hemingway were honored at halftime of Tuesday night’s boys basketball game with Marlboro County. During the ceremony, Quigley’s No. 4 and the No. 35 previously worn by Hemingway were retired, never to be worn by another Chief on the gridiron.
North Myrtle Beach athletic director Joe Quigley — Ryan’s father — said plans had been in the works for months.. He praised them for the example they set for current students.
“Both of them had to make tough choices while they were in high school,” he said. “They were students first and also men of great character and integrity. They separated themselves from potentially damaging situations, and they did things the right way to get where they are now.”
After graduating from North Myrtle Beach in 2008, Quigley went on to punt and kick at Boston College. After briefly signing with the Chicago Bears, he punted for the New York Jets for three seasons before joining the Arizona Cardinals in 2016.
In his career, Quigley has 259 punts for an average of 44.6 yards. Currently a free agent, Quigley doesn’t know exactly what the future holds, but he’s optimistic about his chances to sign with another NFL team for next season.
“Usually after the Super Bowl, things start to heat up and teams start making calls,” he said. “It’s a tough league, and I’ve had some great experiences. I’m grateful for every opportunity I get.”
Quigley stays connected to the Little River area as both of his parents still work at the high school.
“One of the coolest things for me is to be able to give back to our community and to teenagers especially,” he said. “I’m glad to come back for events like this because it shows students now what they can do if they work hard and stay focused on the positive.”
Hemingway played at North Myrtle Beach from 2007-2011 and, like Quigley, he was a multi-sport star.
“When I left here, I really didn’t have the NFL in mind,” he said. “Actually, I was trying to get back on the basketball court. Things didn’t work out that way, but I just took the opportunities that were in front of me, and it’s worked out.”
After a successful four-year run as a tight end at S.C. State, Hemingway was drafted by the Los Angeles Rams in the sixth round of the 2016 draft.
In his first season, Hemingway saw action in eight games, mostly on special teams, and recorded one tackle against the Seattle Seahawks.
“It was on a punt return against Tyler Lockette,” he said. “I was scared he was going to shake me, but I got him.”
Hemingway hopes his journey to the NFL gives inspiration to current high school students, regardless of what type of career they are pursuing.
“Just stick with it, and don’t let the doubters bring you down,” he said. “Think for yourself, and believe in yourself.”
Joe Quigley echoed these sentiments in lauding the pair of successful alumni’s accomplishments.
“That’s what we’re trying to show our students now – that dreams can come true, but you have to do it the right way. These two guys epitomize what we stand for at North Myrtle Beach.”