Playing catch-up after summer vacation, with the start of football season just a week away ...
■ You can go home again if you’re a high school football coach. More than 50 teams have changed head coaches since last year, and a few of the new faces are familiar, except maybe for a few wrinkles and gray hairs.
Crad Jaggers, a standout quarterback at North Hardin in the mid-1990s under his dad, successful coach Joe Jaggers, considers it a dream-come-true to be the Trojans’ top guy. ”The catch-phrase I use is, ‘It’s great to be back home,’ “ he said. ”I grew up loving North Hardin and made a lot of great memories here. Now I hope to create more fond memories and give back to this school because it gave me so much.“
Mike Harmon, an all-city lineman at Tates Creek in the late 1980s and an assistant coach there in the ’90s, rejoined the Commodores after seven years at Lafayette. ”Tates Creek is home,“ he said. ”If you played here and coached here, I don’t think you ever get out of that mode.“
Randy Wyatt, one of the most accomplished athletes in Paducah Tilghman history, is now the Blue Tornado’s head football coach. He swept state titles in the 100- and 200-yard dashes four years in a row and helped Tilghman’s football team to state runner-up finishes in 1987, ’88 and ’89. ”I’m a homeboy,“ Wyatt told the Paducah Sun when he got the football job. ”I grew up at Tilghman. I know what’s expected at this school, and I know what it takes to win here.“ Wyatt has already proven that. Since returning to the school as track coach in 2000, he has guided the Tornado to eight consecutive state titles.
■ Headliner games next week involving teams that will be ranked in the pre-season: Corbin at Pike-ville (Pike County Bowl); Johnson Central at Breathitt County (Honey Bowl); Henry Clay at Bowling Green; Paducah Tilghman at Christian County; Central at Manual; Rockcastle County versus Pulaski County (Ray Correll Bowl at Somerset).
■ Lexington Catholic senior tight end Daniel Vogelsang has committed to Wake Forest. The 6-foot-3, 230-pound senior said he also was recruited by Cincinnati, Purdue, Vanderbilt, Duke, North Carolina State and Kentucky. ”Wake Forest had everything I wanted. It’s probably one of the best schools in the South. Their football team is really into team chemistry and character, like here at Lexington Catholic.“ Vogelsang had 32 catches for 422 yards and a TD last season.
■ Warren East running back/safety Shenard Holton has committed to the University of Louisville. He also had offers from Eastern Kentucky, Western Kentucky, Central Michigan, Ball State and Miami of Ohio. Last season Holton rushed for 712 yards and 13 touchdowns and caught 23 passes for 566 yards and six TDs. On defense he had 116 tackles and four interceptions.
■ St. Xavier running back Deuce Finch has narrowed his college choices to seven: UK, Louisville, Cincinnati, Illinois, Northwestern, Stanford and Vandy. He hopes to trim the list to four schools before the season starts.
■ Former Lexington Catholic coach Bob Sphire, now at North Gwinnett (Ga.), has an interesting season opener. North Gwinnett, state runner-up in 5A last year, hosts Byrnes, S.C., rated No. 1 in the nation by USA Today, next Friday.
■ Former Ashland Blazer and Rose Hill Christian boys’ basketball coach Jeff Hall is returning to the game as coach at Glasgow. Hall was an All-Stater at Fairview and played on Louisville’s 1986 NCAA title team. His move to Glasgow means the 16th Region is losing another of its top players. Hall’s son Cameron was a sophomore star at Fairview last season.
The 16th Region also has seen the departure of Rose Hill stars Dakotah Euton and Chad Jackson, who transferred to Scott County. The KHSAA’s Board of Control will determine Euton’s and Jackson’s eligibility in a meeting on Monday.
■ Southwestern senior soccer star Devin Fothergill had four goals in a season-opening win over North Laurel, giving her 100 goals in her career. Fothergill is also a 1,000-point scorer in basketball. ”Devin is a phenomenal athlete,“ Southwestern soccer coach Matt Cook said.
■ Former Lafayette and UK baseball standout Michael Bertram was the Florida State League player of the week. Bertram, an infielder with Detroit’s Class A affiliate in Lakeland, Fla., had 10 hits in 25 at-bats (.400), four homers, nine RBI and seven runs. Bertram is hitting .286 on the season.
■ Boyd County baseball assistant Brandon Ramsey is replacing Ben Maynard as head coach. Maynard resigned so he could have a more flexible schedule. In four years as coach, Maynard led Boyd County to 102 wins and two region titles. Ramsey is a 1990 Boyd County graduate and has been an assistant for 14 years.
■ Lexington Christian pitcher Robbie Ross graduated from high school to the pros when he signed with the Texas Rangers last week. Ross, who was drafted in the second round and was the 57th overall pick, got a $1.575 million signing bonus. That made him the highest paid player in the second round.
■ Reigning girls’ state golf champ West Jessamine is strong again this season. The Lady Colts won the Gene Hilen Invitational at Juniper Hills in Frankfort a couple of weeks ago and had three golfers break par: Betsie Johnson (71), Emily Haas (71) and Sloane Skinner (73). Caldwell County freshman Emma Caldwell took individual honors with a 7-under 67.
■ Clara Mitchell, who averaged 12 points and nine rebounds for Lexington Christian last season and played on the Lady Eagles’ 2007 Sweet Sixteen championship team, committed to IUPUI (Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis). Mitchell has transferred to East Jessamine for her senior season.
■ Jeffersontown’s Nick Gagel, one of the state’s top three-point shooters, signed with Florida Atlantic, which is coached by Mike Jarvis. In his career Gagel hit 49 percent of his threes, and played on J-town’s 2006 state title team.
■ Paintsville’s Shane Grimm will play college baseball at Walters State in Tennessee.
■ Bill Matteoli, who led Ryle to four straight regional softball titles and the 2006 state championship, resigned earlier this summer.
■ Ron Dawn, former boys’ basketball coach and athletic director at Newport Central Catholic, is the school’s new girls’ basketball coach. He succeeds Christie McDonald, who resigned after 12 years. Dawn won more than 300 games as boys’ coach before stepping down in 2001.
■ Tates Creek all-city shortstop T.J. Mangione signed with St. Catharine College where older brother Ryan is an infielder. T.J. hit .326 as a senior last spring.
■ Former Dunbar and Tusculum College baseball standout Dustin Morrow is the new baseball coach at Chuckey-Doak High School in Afton, Tenn.
■ Henry Clay all-city pitcher Matt Harris, who went 6-1 with a 1.67 ERA as a senior, will walk on at Eastern Kentucky.
■ Scott County softball coach Sabrina McCullough, who led the Lady Cards to a 71-16 record and back-to-back region titles, did not have her coaching contract renewed for this season.
■ Scott County High School will induct its inaugural Hall of Fame class at a banquet on Aug. 29. The honorees include: Bill Wilson, a star football player at Georgetown High and Georgetown College who started the football program at Scott County and led the Cardinals to the 2A state title in 1975; the 1975 state football title team, whose members will finally get championship rings; and Ukari Figgs, who led Scott County to the girls’ Sweet Sixteen title in 1995 and was named Miss Basketball. She helped Purdue win the NCAA championship in 1999.
■ Harrison County baseball coach Mac Whitaker, Pleasure Ridge Park basketball coach Dale Mabrey and Lone Oak tennis coach Larry Heflin were named national coaches of the year at the National High School Athletic Coaches Association meeting in Colorado Springs in June.