After more than 20 years as a head soccer coach in Central Kentucky, Bo Lankster is turning in his clipboard.
Lankster informed his team and Tates Creek officials of his decision to step down as the girls' soccer coach last week. A search for his successor will begin soon.
"I decided that I was ready to not be a head coach anymore after 25 years straight of doing it," said Lankster, who will continue teaching at Tates Creek. He's open to the idea of being an assistant if his successor will allow it.
Lankster finishes his career as a head coach with a record of 320-179-40.
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Lankster began his career at Paris, which hired him as its boys' coach after its original choice — Todd Bretz (with whom Lankster played at Lexington Catholic under Bo's father, Jim) — decided to take the job at the newly opened Paul Laurence Dunbar.
Lankster coached Paris for six years before taking over the boys' program at Tates Creek. He coached the boys for 12 years and has spent the past seven with the girls. In that span he got to coach his three daughters — Aaron, Arly and Bailey — and won the program's only state championship, in 2012.
Lankster reflected on that title, which the Commodores won 2-1 after a shootout against Notre Dame and in which all three of his daughters were a part.
"My middle daughter made the fifth shot, which allowed my oldest daughter — the keeper — to save their fifth shot," Lankster said. "Then my youngest daughter, she hit the seventh shot to actually win it."
Ally Tucker, an assistant under Lankster for his entire tenure with the girls, likened Lankster to a second father.
"I don't know if there's many, not just coaches, but guys better than him," Tucker said. "He treats everyone like family. He's not only taken the program to new heights on the field, but he's created a great atmosphere and family environment. He treats every player he coaches just like he would treat one of his daughters."
Those new heights include 15 girls who went on to play soccer at the collegiate level. Three on this season's squad will play college ball, too — Cameron Davis (Asbury), Haley Poynter (Belmont) and Makayla Shearer (Campbellsville).
Tucker summed up Lankster's commitment to his players with a story from a district tournament game against Henry Clay a few seasons ago.
A shot by the Blue Devils hit off a field goal post and landed behind the goal. An official originally signaled it a goal, but Lankster was certain it wasn't. Before the ball was moved and after failing to get the referees' attention through traditional means, he rushed onto the field and became the center of attention.
"He could have easily gotten kicked out of the game," Tucker said. "But he was not going to let those girls down by letting the ref make a mistake."
It worked. The officials reversed the call after determining the ball indeed had landed on, not inside, the goal.
Lanskter said he would forever be grateful to his wife, Michelle, and daughters for putting up with the sacrifices he had to make to coach for so long. He was gone a lot early on but hoped he helped "make it up to them" with the way the 2012 season ended.
"That moment, along with all the relationships that I've been able to have with former players and their families and other coaching colleagues — the whole experience along with that moment — I couldn't ask for anything else," Lankster said.
Football: Did ya know?
Dillon Wheatley could become Lexington Christian's first 2,000-yard rusher since Domonique Hayden.
Hayden, who went on to do big things at Thomas More, finished with more than 2,500 yards in 2009. Nick Whitman ended with 1,965 yards last season and probably would have hit 2,000 if not for being injured early in the Eagles' second-round playoff game at Shelby Valley.
Wheatley, a sophomore, needs 444 yards to reach 2,000 this season.
He leads Class 2A with an average of 173 yards a game, 40 more than second-place Dalton Frasure (a Prestonsburg senior committed to Austin Peay as a tight end).
If he maintains that average, Wheatley could be within reasonable reach of the mark if LCA makes the second round of the playoffs.
■ The Jessamine County Board of Education recognized its inaugural class of recipients for the Jessamine County Athletic Achievement Award during halftime of last week's East Jessamine-West Jessamine football game.
Honored posthumously were Cornelius Hager, former county superintendent and interim president of the University of Kentucky and what is now Asbury University; Billy Lockridge, a former coach at Nicholasville High, principal at Jessamine County and mayor of Nicholasville; Leonard Cavil, who spent nearly 50 years as a coach and P.E. teacher; William Maxwell, the district's first athletic director; and Frank Conyers, a multisport coach who won 150 football games.
■ Boyle County hasn't lost back-to-back games in a football season since 2012.
It followed up a 31-24 loss at home to Lexington Catholic with a 52-20 rout of Western Hills last Friday.
The Rebels lost five straight in the 2006 and 2007 seasons. Before that, the last time Boyle dropped back-to-back games was 1998.
■ North Laurel is eyeing its first undefeated regular season in program history when it hosts Montgomery County on Friday.
It also would become the first football team in Laurel County history to finish with an undefeated regular season, Coach Chris Larkey said.
■ For the second straight year, Fulton City and Fulton County are playing each other for the second time in a single season.
Bulldogs Coach Mike Thomas said his team has only 15 players, and two meetings with its county rival is more beneficial to the small school than another game against a larger school.
If the Bulldogs win it will be their first two-win season since 2009. The Pilots would end a 16-game losing streak with a victory.
■ By virtue of how cross-districting shook out, Conner, a 6-3 team with wins over Scott and Newport Central Catholic — each factors in their respective classes — must travel to Campbell County (1-9) for the first round of the playoffs.
The Jaguars hosted the Camels in the regular season. They won 36-14.
Several Kentuckians and teams have been honored or recognized recently. Here's a rundown:
■ Lexington Catholic's girls' soccer team was ranked 22nd in the NSCAA Super 25 fall rankings heading into the state tournament. Owensboro Catholic was ranked 17th. Neither was listed in the previous poll.
On the boys' side of the Super 25, Trinity was ranked 18th, moving up from No. 24. Henry Clay received votes in the poll.
■ Speaking of the Blue Devils, senior Aime Mabika was named to TopDrawerSoccer.com's All-American West Team. He and 39 other players will take part in the organization's fifth annual All-American game at 2 p.m. Dec. 5 in Raleigh, N.C.
Trent Stigler, a midfielder at St. Xavier, also was named to the West Team.
Mabika is committed to UK. Stigler is undecided.
Allison Whitfield of Manual was selected to TopDrawer's girls' West Team. She is committed to Louisville.
The third annual girls' game will be played at 4 p.m. Dec. 5 in Raleigh.
■ Franklin County's C.J. Jones, the state champion, was named 9th Region Player of the Year in boys' golf by the Kentucky Golf Coaches Association.
Lexington Christian Coach Eric Geldhof was selected as coach of the year in the region.
Here's the rest of the all-region team in the 9th: Jacob Cook of Franklin County, Ben Turner of Henry Clay, Joe Muschong and Harrison Lane of Lafayette, Cooper Collins of Lexington Catholic, Evan Davis and Tanner Wilson of Lexington Christian, and Zach Miller of Madison Central.
■ Tristyn Nowlin was named 7th Region Player of the Year in girls' golf by the KGCA.
Nowlin led Madison Central this to its first state title in program history. Indians Coach Mike Neal was named the region's coach of the year.
The rest of the all-region team in the 7th: Leslie Ginter and Sara Bidarian of Henry Clay, Laney Frye of Lexington Christian, McKenzie Neal of Madison Central, Shelby Campbell and Rebecca Fine of Paul Laurence Dunbar, and Judianne Speech of West Jessamine.
Regardless of how the Russell Athletic/KHSAA state football finals shake out, one thing's certain: The championship games will not move from L.T. Smith Stadium in Bowling Green.
There's a good chance Western Kentucky University will end up hosting the Conference USA championship football game Dec. 5. That's great for WKU but presents a potential conflict for the KHSAA, as its six football finals were supposed to be on the first Friday and Saturday of December.
The KHSAA confirmed to the Herald-Leader that the scheduled could be altered if WKU hosts the C-USA title game but that the site of the games would not change. Contingency plans will be made public soon.
■ In the recent past, if you couldn't make it to wherever a state tournament was being held, you could access free live streams from the KHSAA via YouTube or through its website, KHSAA.tv.
The KHSAA will continue to host web broadcasts on KHSAA.tv but now will do so through NFHS Network, a more dedicated high school video platform that requires subscriptions to watch live athletic events. The new model began Monday with the field hockey state semifinals.
Users have three options: day pass for $9.95, monthly pass for $14.95 or annual subscription for $119.95.
■ The 2016 Bass Fishing Championship will be held again at Kentucky Dam Marina in Gilbertsville, the Board of Control decided at last week's meeting.