After nine years as an assistant, Justin Yeary is getting a chance to be a basketball boss as the new boys' coach at Paul Laurence Dunbar.
Yeary, 29, said he was "a little surprised, to say the least" that he got the job.
"Obviously, my level of experience is something people will question," he said. "But at the end of the day, the committee and people associated with the school felt like I was the right guy."
Yeary replaces Carl "Redd" Hutchinson, who resigned after five years. He had an overall record of 60-75, including a 3-22 mark this season.
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Yeary spent eight years as a boys' and girls' assistant at Lexington Christian Academy, and this past season as a girls' assistant at Dunbar.
Yeary said his goal at Dunbar will be to "create an atmosphere that supports basketball and wants to be involved in it — players, students, teachers — and make it a positive experience for everybody.
"And, of course, try to win some games in this region and district."
At LCA, Yeary was an assistant to Jason Seamands for five years with the boys and three years with the girls. LCA's girls won the state title in 2007, and All "A" championships in 2007, '08 and '09.
Yeary said he also learned a lot from Tommy Huston, who was an LCA boys' assistant before moving up to head coach after Seamands took over the girls' program.
"They are two great basketball minds, but two even better people," Yeary said.
Semands has no doubt that Yeary is ready for his new challenge.
"I delegated so much responsibility to Justin the last two or three years he was with me that we were basically co-head coaches," Seamands said. "He did everything, from scouting to pre-game talks, to practice planning . ...
"He has a great blend of analytically being able to see the game, and being able to relate to young people. That's a great combination to have.
"The talent will ebb and flow, but Justin will get the most out of his team because he cares so much and is so passionate about it."
Yeary, who played on Boyle County's 1998 and '99 Sweet Sixteen teams, has changed his perspective on the game over the years.
"When I was younger, it was all about winning," he said. "And you can't down-play winning. But now I understand the more important end result is that kids should walk away better people because of their basketball experience."
Howard Beth retires
Howard Beth, the longtime girl's basketball coach at Marshall County, has announced his resignation.
Beth ends his career with a state-record 793 wins with just 150 losses. He finishes with two state championships, 23 district championships, 19 region championships and two Louisville Invitational Tournament wins.
Beth was inducted into the KHSAA Hall of Fame in 1994 and was named to the Kentucky High School Basketball Coaches Association Court of Honor.
"Marshall County High School has lost a part of its heritage today," said Marshall County Principal Amy Waggoner. "His job can be filled, but no one can really take his place; he is a legend in Marshall County, as well as in the state of Kentucky."