Ray Story, a beloved principal at North Hardin High School for 21 years and a longtime leader in Kentucky high school athletics, died Monday at North Hardin Health and Rehabilitation Center in Radcliff. He lived in Vine Grove and was 69.
Mr. Story had been recovering from a stroke he suffered about three weeks ago when he suffered a second stroke over the weekend, said his pastor, the Rev. Christian Burton of Valley View Baptist Church in Vine Grove.
”He was more than just a principal,“ Burton said. ”He dedicated himself to his students. He touched a lot of people's lives.“
North Hardin honored Mr. Story early this year when it named its football stadium in his honor. He was active with the Kentucky High School Athletic Association for many years and twice served as chairman of its Board of Control.
In 1993, after black basketball players at three Berea-area schools had been routinely subjected to racial slurs, Mr. Story led the KHSAA Board of Control to adopt a guideline that said, in part: ”In this day and time, prejudice on the basis of sex, race, creed or ethnic origin should not and cannot be tolerated.“
Mr. Story hired Ron Bevars as North Hardin's head boys basketball coach, a job he still holds 33 years later. The school's gymnasium will soon be named in Bevars' honor.
Bevars has taken 11 teams to the state tournament, including the 1982 championship game, which North Hardin lost on a fabled last-second shot by Laurel County.
”He was the most respected person in the community I know,“ Bevars said. ”He was "Mr. North Hardin.' Athletics was always a big part of his life, and he preached academics. He was the leader of a unified faculty.“
Bevars said his teams started winning in his first five years as coach but didn't win a district or regional title, and some fans wanted him replaced. Mr. Story stuck by him, he said.
”A lesser administrator would have caved in to the demands,“ Bevars said.
”The next year the team to the went to the state tournament.
Mr. Story spent his entire career in the Hardin County schools. He began as a sixth-grade teacher at Vine Grove Elementary and then taught English at North Hardin. He moved up to assistant principal for two years and was principal from 1967 to 1988.
In 1998, Mr. Story, a Republican, lost the general election in his bid to become a state representative.
Clyde Ray Story was born in Waynesburg, in Lincoln County. He earned his bachelor's degree at then-Campbellsville College and his master's degree and Rank 1 at Western Kentucky University.
Survivors include his wife, Sue Story, to whom he would have been married 45 years on Aug. 24; and two sons, Mark Story, a Herald-Leader sports columnist, of Lexington, and Tim Story, Vine Grove.
Arrangements are pending at Coffey and Chism Funeral Home in Vine Grove.