When Seth Knight pulls on a Paul Laurence Dunbar baseball jersey next March for his first game as the Bulldogs' new head coach, it will be the fulfillment of a very personal family wish.
"It's no secret that this was my dream job," said Knight, who has coached at Western Hills the past four years.
Knight has strong ties to Dunbar.
He remembers getting a tour of the high school from Frank Watson, a family friend, before it opened in 1990.
When Knight attended Dunbar (1994-97), Watson was the boys' basketball coach and Knight was his student manager.
Knight served as an assistant baseball coach at Dunbar from 2003-08, and was part of the Bulldogs' state title teams in 2003 and 2007.
He was a long-term substitute teacher at Dunbar before getting a full-time position in 2008. He's been in the classroom there ever since, even while coaching at Western Hills.
Delbert Knight, Seth's father, was a devoted Dunbar sports fan who was especially into baseball because his son was a Bulldogs assistant. After Mr. Knight died in 2006, Dunbar honored him with a plaque on the brick wall behind home plate.
"Having my dad's name at the field, that's an extra special touch for me to coach there," Seth said.
Donna Knight, Seth's mom, died a few months ago.
"One of the last times we talked, she said, 'I just know and believe in my heart that you'll get to go back to Dunbar and be head coach someday,'" Seth recalled. "And now it's happened."
Knight, who didn't play baseball at Dunbar but did play at Transylvania, was an assistant at Lexington Catholic in 2009 and was part of that state title team.
Knight said he gained valuable coaching experience at Western Hills. He led the Wolverines to their first 20-win season, and to back-to-back district titles. He also coached J.T. Riddle, who won Mr. Baseball honors in 2010 and now plays for Kentucky.
"It was a lot of fun at Western Hills," he said. "I learned how to balance the on-the-field stuff and off-the-field stuff. And I got to try out my philosophy, my plans of action, to see if they'd work."
Having taught at Dunbar for years, Knight already knows the Bulldogs' baseball players, and they know him.
"That should help make it a smooth transition," he said.
There's no questioning Knight's allegiance to Dunbar.
"It was always in my mind that I wanted to be the head coach here one day," he said. "I told them in the interview that if I can coach 30 more years and never put on another jersey besides a Dunbar jersey, I'll be perfectly content."
Mike Fields: (859) 231-3337. Twitter: @MikeFieldsNotes. Blog: fieldsnotes.bloginky.com.