Dan Manley has been broadcasting Montgomery County sports on Mount Sterling radio station WMST for most of the past 45 years, so his occupation demands he never swallow his words.
But Manley admits he was "a little bit overwhelmed" when he walked into the Montgomery County gym last Friday and saw on the court, just in front of his press-row seat, a new logo: "Dan Manley, Voice of the Indians" and a picture of a microphone. Manley knew he was going to be recognized for his decades of broadcasting, but he had no idea he would get his name on the court (like Cawood Ledford in Rupp Arena), or that so many of his former radio sidekicks would be there to honor him.
Manley started helping out on Montgomery County and Mount Sterling high school games in 1967, when he was 14. Within a few years he was a primary voice for WMST sports broadcasts. His relaxed, easy-on-the-ears delivery has worn well over the decades. "The Lord just blessed me with a strong set of vocal cords, I guess," Manley said.
Manley, also the longtime sports editor of the weekly Mount Sterling Advocate, was a trust banker for 22 years before giving that up in 2000 to go into radio full-time. His workload has increased considerably since. He had already been doing the boys' and girls' state basketball tournaments, but he added the All "A" Classic, and the state baseball and football championships.
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Manley long ago lost count of how many games he's covered. "It's got to be in the vicinity of 5,000," he said. But it's been the experiences, not the numbers, that he most appreciates. "The chance to be on the floor, watching close-up, that's always been a great attraction to me. Beyond enjoying broadcasting, and the little financial remuneration I get, I'm a fan first and foremost."
■ Pikeville guard Ethan Rowe is having a big senior season. The 6-foot left-hander is averaging 22.9 points a game. He had a career-high 42 against Shelby Valley last week. "He's a great shooter, and a scorer, too," Coach Bart Williams said. "He takes it to the basket really well." Rowe is shooting 37 percent (50-for-136) on threes, and 89.5 percent (94-for-105) on free throws (best in the state). Transylvania is recruiting him hard. Pikeville plays Lawrence County in the 15th Region All "A" finals on Saturday.
■ Carlisle County 6-9 senior Marcus Burnett had 31 points, 25 rebounds and 10 blocked shots in a win over Hickman County last month. That put him over 1,000 points for his career. A week later in a win over Mayfield, Burnett got his 1,000th rebound. He's averaging 19 points, 17 rebounds and four blocks for the Comets.
■ Owensboro Catholic's Becca Greenwell, who hit 17 three-pointers and had 51 points in a 99-35 win over Whitesville Trinity this week, is the second player in state history to hit that many shots from behind the arc. David DeMarcus of Sayre hit 17 threes and had 59 points in a 119-36 rout of MMI on Valentine's Day in 1989.
■ When Texas A&M"s Elston Turner scored 40 points against Kentucky in Rupp Arena, he came up shy of David Robinson's 45 points for Navy against UK in Rupp in 1987. But the record for Rupp might belong to a high school player. Manuel Forrest of Moore had 47 points in a loss to Simon Kenton in the semifinals of the 1981 Sweet Sixteen.
■ Xavier University Coach Chris Mack watched Holmes sophomore point guard James "Beetle" Bolden get 27 points, seven rebounds, six assists and three steals in a win over Covington Catholic last week. A few days later, Bolden made an unofficial visit to watch Xavier beat George Washington. Holmes Coach Jason Booher said Bolden is "starting to get discovered by D-I coaches."
■ Berea's Lady Pirates got the 600th victory in school history when they beat Sayre last week. Despite being one of the smallest schools in the 11th Region, Berea has enjoyed its share of success. In 1998, the Pirates won a region title, led by Coach Greg Todd and star player Kristin Patton. Berea also has made four trips to the All "A" Classic girls' state tournament.
■ Henry Clay hosts the Al Prewitt Classic on Saturday, and will use the event to honor the 2003 Blue Devils who reached the Sweet Sixteen final four. That team included star point guard Lamont Campbell, now a Henry Clay assistant. Saturday's games: Adair County vs. Magoffin County, noon; Knox Central vs. Henry Clay girls, 1:45; Bourbon County vs. Bryan Station, 3:30; Christian County vs. Paul Laurence Dunbar, 5:15; and Tates Creek vs. Henry Clay, 7.
■ Trinity's leading scorer Darryl Hicks sprained his left foot and missed the Shamrocks' win over Western in the Louisville Invitational Tournament. Trinity Coach Mike Szabo told the Courier-Journal that Hicks could miss "several weeks," then amended that by saying Hicks' status is "day to day."
■ Dunbar alumna Ebony Rowe, a junior at Middle Tennessee, was named Sun Belt Conference Player of the Week for the third time this season and 11th time in her career. Rowe is averaging 21.6 points and 10.8 rebounds for the Blue Raiders. She has a school record 42 double-doubles.
■ Woodford County grad Jay Johnson is averaging 11.6 points and 9.1 rebounds as a freshman at John A. Logan Junior College in Illinois. Johnson had 20 points and 10 rebounds in a win over Olney last week.
■ Bullitt East would have been the top seed in the Louisville Invitational Tournament this week, but it chose instead to play in the Bass Pro Tournament of Champions in Springfield, Mo. Bullitt East Coach Troy Barr said he understood why LIT officials were miffed by the Chargers' decision. But the chance to play in the prestigious Bass Pro event was too good to pass up. Bullitt East played Nixa, Mo., in the first round late Thursday night. A victory would put the Chargers in the semifinals against Montverde (Fla.) Academy, which is rated No. 1 in the nation and has Dakari Johnson, who has committed to play at UK.
■ Henry Clay beat Woodford County in the sectional wrestling duals last Saturday, the first time the Blue Devils have beaten the Yellow Jackets in head-to-head competition. "I think we were 0-27 against them before this," Henry Clay Coach Andy Critchfield said. "It's real special for our program, a real neat experience." The Devils winning their matches were Michael Whalen (120 pounds), David Tuduri (132), Aaron Warta (138), Brennon Ball (145), Nathan Moore (182), Joe Tafolla (195), Zack Cooper (220) and Maurice Dixon (285). Henry Clay and Woodford County both advance to the state duals at Fern Creek on Jan. 26.
■ Franklin County football coach Chris Tracy said Ryan Timmons has gotten offers from California and Missouri, but nothing from Ohio State. Tracy said Timmons, who also has UK, Arkansas and Purdue on his list, will probably announce his decision on Feb. 7, the day after the national signing period begins.
■ After Yancey Marcum's days as a football and basketball standout at West Jessamine (Class of 2000), he played football at Youngstown State. "When I got there and saw what they did, how they ran their program, I always wanted to come back home and do the same thing — influence kids in a positive way and instill the right values." After serving as a West Jessamine assistant since 2005, Marcum has been hired as the Colts' head coach. Marcum, 31, said his top priority is to teach his players "how to be grown men — to work hard and not look for somebody to blame when something bad happens. Make them responsible. Football is one of the best tools to instill that kind of pride."
■ Ed Miracle, once the most successful high school football coach in Kentucky, died last week. He was 83. Between 1959 and 1971, Mr. Miracle led Lynch (in Harlan County) to four state titles and four runner-up finishes. He later went on to coach at Richmond Madison and Madison Central. One of Mr. Miracle's volunteer assistants at Madison Central was Mike Holcomb, then a student at Eastern Kentucky University. Holcomb credits Mr. Miracle's influence for his own success at Breathitt County, where his teams have won 272 games and three state titles in 30 years. Holcomb said he was "in awe" of Mr. Miracle and his football genius. "He was way ahead of his time in football strategy," Miracle said. "He'd do things that you'd later see in the pros."
■ Frankfort receiver/defensive back Aaron Jackson has committed to Western Kentucky. He also had offers from Air Force, Navy, EKU and Murray State, among others. In the last three years he had 113 catches, 2,590 yards and 39 TDs, and 126 solo tackles and nine interceptions. Jackson was MVP of the Bluegrass Bowl, and defensive MVP of the Border Bowl.
■ Lafayette's Tranard Chester, whose 90-yard TD catch gave Kentucky a 29-27 win over Tennessee in the Border Bowl, has committed to EKU. The 6-3 senior was first-team all-city last fall with 32 catches for 615 yards and eight TDs. He also drew interest from Illinois, Louisville and WKU. Chester averages 14 points for Lafayette's basketball team.