Kentucky high school basketball is getting its own Hall of Fame. It will not only have a brick-and-mortar structure, but also a mission of conveying the "essence" of the game to the state's young people.
The Kentucky Association of Basketball Coaches made that announcement on Tuesday and named the Hall of Fame's first inductees.
The inaugural class is made up of 16 former players and coaches, including legends "King" Kelly Coleman, Ralph Carlisle, Richie Farmer, Darrell Griffith, Cliff Hagan, Jim McDaniels, S.T. Roach and Wes Unseld.
On hand for the news conference at the Marriott were honorees Roy Bowling, Geri Grigsby, Clem Haskins, Bobby Keith and Wallace "Wah Wah" Jones.
Haskins, whose daughter Clemette is also in the Hall of Fame's charter class, said his days at Taylor County were the most enjoyable of his basketball life:
"I was very blessed to play on all three levels — high school, college and the NBA — and to coach for many years. High school basketball was the most fun for me."
Keith, a coaching legend at Clay County, said being in the first class "is probably the biggest honor I've had in my life. To be mentioned with all these great coaches and players is unbelievable."
Bowling, who coached Laurel County's girls to four state titles, said there are other Halls, "but this one means more. From what I've heard, it's really going to be an outstanding organization that people statewide will be interested in and proud of."
Ken Trivette, executive director of the KABC, said the new Hall of Fame will be located in Elizabethtown at a site to be determined.
The first class of honorees will be inducted on July 14 in Elizabethtown. The plan is to name a dozen or so new inductees every year so the Hall has 100 members by 2018 — the 100th anniversary of Kentucky high school basketball.
In the meantime, Rick Whobrey, executive director of the Kentucky High School Basketball Hall of Fame, will crisscross the state doing promotion and fund-raising.
"I can't wait to share our vision for this Hall of Fame with every county and community in Kentucky," Whobrey said
Trivette said the organization will go into schools across the state to stress the "essence of high school basketball and the life lessons it can teach."