Longtime Paintsville football coach Brugh remembered as 'legend in this town'

mfields@herald-leader.comFebruary 12, 2014 

Paintsville's Walter Brugh, one of Kentucky high school football's winningest coaches, died Tuesday night. He was 87.

Mr. Brugh played for Paintsville in the 1940s, became a Tigers assistant in the early 1950s and took over as head coach in 1956. When he retired after the 1994 season, Mr. Brugh was the state's all-time wins leader with a career record of 279-136-5.

"He's a legend in this town," said Paintsville basketball coach Bill Mike Run yon, who played football for Mr. Brugh and was an assistant under him for 23 years.

"Growing up as a kid here, one thing parents required of you was to play football for Coach Brugh. Whatever he said, your parents agreed with him. There was no second-guessing him."

Mr. Brugh built Paintsville into a small-school state power.

His Tigers averaged better than seven victories a season, and he twice led them to the Class A finals.

They suffered tough losses in both title games.

In 1978, Fort Campbell beats Paintsville 15-13 thanks to a third-quarter field goal that struck the right upright and bounced through for the decisive points.

In 1985, Paintsville took an early 6-0 lead against Crittenden County but played penalty-marred football the rest of the day and lost 14-6.

Mr. Brugh never regretted staying with the Tigers for his entire career.

In a 1993 interview, he said he "never ever wanted to go anywhere else. I've had opportunities to move on, to become a college coach or go to a bigger high school. But I didn't want to.

"I wanted to stay with the people I knew, the place I grew up, the community and school I love. No, sir, there's no other place in the United States where I feel I could do more to help boys on this level."

Mr. Brugh did win a state title at Paintsville. He coached the golf team to the 1958 championship. He also had coaching stints in track, baseball and basketball.

Mr. Brugh was a World War II Army veteran.

Visitation will be Friday from noon to 9 p.m. at Phelps & Son Funeral Home in Paintsville.

Services will be Saturday at 1 p.m. in the Paintsville High School gymnasium.

Mike Fields: (859) 231-3337. Twitter: @MikeFieldsNotes. Blog: fieldsnotes.bloginky.com.

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