Mike Wainscott has been a high school coach in Lexington for so long his career has spanned seven U.S. presidents. His longevity might be better appreciated by sports fans if it was noted that Wainscott's first season on the sidelines came five years before ESPN was launched.
Wainscott started as a football assistant at Tates Creek in 1974. He's been involved in at least one sport in Fayette County public schools ever since. But Wainscott, who has coached softball at Paul Laurence Dunbar the last 15 seasons, is ready to call it quits.
"I still enjoy the heck out of it, but it's just time," said Wainscott, 62. "I could keep going, but something's telling me I need to step aside."
Wainscott has enjoyed success at all his stops over the last 38 years.
As an assistant under Roy Walton at Tates Creek for 15 seasons, he was part of the Commodores' 1978 state at-large championship team.
When Dunbar opened in 1990, Wainscott was part of Mike Meighan's football staff. He was there for the Bulldogs' strong run in the mid-1990s, including a state runner-up finish to Nelson County in '96. That post-season produced what Wainscott said might be his biggest highlight in coaching. In the region title game, Dunbar led perennial power Boone County 14-10 when the Rebels had a first down on the Dunbar 1-yard line with a little more than a minute left. Wainscott, the defensive coordinator, watched the Bulldogs stuff Boone County on four straight plays and preserve the victory.
"Mike is one of the most competitive human beings ever, no matter what," Meighan said.
When Meighan retired after the 2000 season, Wainscott left football, too.
Wainscott coached boys' track at Dunbar for eight years. '"I didn't know a thing about track, but I was able to get football players out there, and they did a good job. My last four years, we won the region twice and were runners-up twice."
Wainscott, who played baseball at Henry Clay and the University of Kentucky, took over Dunbar's fast-pitch softball team in 1998. He's coached the Bulldogs to six district titles, and a region championship in 2005.
Midway through his career he also found time to serve as a baseball assistant at Henry Clay for one season, and as Jessie Clark Middle School's football coach for two years.
Wainscott, who retired from teaching in 2002 but still fills in as a substitute at Dunbar, obviously has coaching in his DNA. "It's just who I am. It's just what I do," he said. "I've always enjoyed working with young people, and enjoyed the relationships I've had with all the coaches I've worked with."
■ Baseball's post-season is only a couple weeks away. The 42nd District at Scott County starts May 21 with Henry Clay vs. Scott County at 5:30 p.m., and Bryan Station vs. Sayre at 8. The finals are May 22 at 6 p.m. The 43rd District at Paul Laurence Dunbar starts on May 21 with Lexington Christian vs. Tates Creek at 6:30. The semifinals on May 22 have Dunbar vs. Lafayette, 5:30, followed by Lexington Catholic vs. the LCA-Tates Creek winner. The finals are May 23 at 6:30. The district winners and runners-up advance to the 11th Region tournament at Tates Creek.
■ The Touchstone Energy All "A" Classic state baseball tournament is this weekend at Whitaker Bank Ballpark. Saturday's first-round games are: Covington Holy Cross vs. Walton-Verona, 9 a.m.; Lexington Christian vs. Prestonsburg, 11 a.m.; Hancock County vs. DeSales, 1:30 p.m.; Middlesboro vs. Glasgow, 3:30 p.m. The semifinals are Saturday at 6 and 8. The championship game is Sunday at 12:30 p.m.
■ Green County won the girls' All "A" Classic state softball title in Owensboro. The Lady Dragons beat Heath 6-2 in the finals. Green County pitchers Kasey Estes and Summer Ratliff each had three wins in the tournament and between them had 61 strikeouts in six games. Lady Dragons shortstop Rachel Marr was named MVP.
■ Ashland Blazer baseball coach Jeff Wilcox got his 400th career victory a few weeks ago. He's been at Ashland the last 15 years. Before that he was at Green-up County for four seasons. Wilcox was inducted into the Kentucky High School Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2009.
■ Bryan Station grad Danny Olszowy, a senior outfielder at Asbury, was named KIAC player of the year. Olszowy hit .391 with 30 RBI this season. He hit .456 in the conference. Five Asbury players made second-team all-KIAC, including Casey Messner (Lexington Catholic), Matt Cox (Henry Clay) and Tyler Weaver (Madison Central). Three Eagles won Gold Glove awards — Weaver, Brad Williams (Dunbar) and Josh Cummins (Grant County). Asbury lost its first 17 games this season, but bounced back to win the conference tournament. Freshman Logan Howard (Tates Creek) pitched eight innings to get the 2-1 victory over IU-Southeast in the finals.
■ Paris senior Kalyn "KK" Shepherd had three inside-the-park home runs in a 15-3 win over Pendleton County last week. Shepherd also had a triple in that game, and finished with four runs and eight RBI. She's hitting .627 this season.
■ Jordan McNary of defending 2nd Region softball champ Hopkins Central stole her 100th career base in a win over Daviess County on Saturday. She is hitting .522 with 21 steals and 19 RBI.
■ Woodford County's Eli Boggess smacked a grand slam in a win over Frankfort last week. The Yellowjackets sophomore thought he had struck out on the previous pitch and headed back to the dugout. But he had the count wrong and got another chance that he turned into a bases-loaded blast over the center-field fence.
■ Newport Central Catholic three-sport star Brady Hightchew signed to play baseball for Shawnee State, an NAIA school in Portsmouth, Ohio. In football, Hightchew played quarterback as NewCath won a state title in 2010, and an 11-2 record last fall. In basketball, he started for the Thoroughbreds' All "A" semifinal team in 2011, and 9th Region runner-ups this season. In baseball, he played shortstop on NewCath's state tournament team last year.
■ Becca Greenwell of Owensboro Catholic has been invited to try out for the USA women's basketball team that will compete in the under-17 world championships. The tryouts are May 17-20 in Colorado Springs. Greenwell missed her junior season at Owensboro Catholic after undergoing knee surgery last September.
■ All-City lineman T.D. Jemison of Tates Creek will play football at New Mexico Military Institute. Tates Creek Coach Mike Harmon said Jemison will play there one year, then look at his college options.
■ Seth Carmichael, who set several school records while playing quarterback for Anderson County as it finished second in the state in Class 5A, has committed to play college football at Centre. Carmichael has a 4.0 GPA and scored a 28 on the ACT.
■ Phil Todd has been hired for a second stint as boys' basketball coach at Russellville. Todd led the Panthers from 1990 to 2004 and won three region titles. He was Russellville's athletics director the last few years, but will return to the bench to succeed Dennis Pardue.
■ Tonya Wells has resigned as girls' basketball coach at Hopkinsville after leading the Tigers to the state quarterfinals and a 32-5 record this season.
■ Lexington Catholic quarterback Kyle Bolin, who has committed to Louisville, has been nominated to play in the U.S. Army All-American Football Game in January. Bolin passed for 3,088 yards and 29 TDs in his junior season last fall.
■ Dunbar senior Willie Rich will be part of Transylvania's first lacrosse team next season. Rich, a goalie on Dunbar's 2011 Division 2 state title team, will sign with the Pioneers on Monday.
■ Shain Ross, a Mayfield baseball and football player, and Cassidy Flynn, a basketball and softball player at Estill County, are the state-wide winners of the Forcht Bank/Kentucky National Insurance KHSAA Sportsmanship awards. Ross and Flynn will each receive a one-time $3,000 scholarship.