Kentucky’s two winningest boys’ basketball coaches won’t be on the sidelines when the 2019-20 school year gets underway.
Dale Mabrey, the head coach at Pleasure Ridge Park in Louisville for the last 38 seasons after two seasons coaching the junior varsity and freshmen teams, announced his resignation on Tuesday. Mabrey is the state’s second-winningest basketball coach, and finished with a career record of 937-274 (.774 winning percentage).
“I feel that I have given everything that I had to give to this great basketball program, heart and soul, over the 40 years that I have been a part of Pleasure Ridge Park High School,” Mabrey wrote in a letter to the Herald-Leader. “I may not have made everyone happy along the way, but who really can? I am very proud to have spent my entire career coaching and teaching at the greatest high school in Kentucky and one of the finest high schools in our nation, Pleasure Ridge Park High School.”
Billy Hicks, the state’s all-time leader in wins with 1,013, announced his own resignation from Scott County last month. Rodney Woods, who just completed his 36th season at Wayne County, is the state’s new active wins leader with 742. Lynn Camp’s Dinky Phipps (695), Madison Central’s Allen Feldhaus (630), Ballard’s Chris Renner (626) and Hazard’s Al Holland (618) are the only other active coaches with at least 600 career victories.
Mabrey got the better of Woods in 1989 when PRP defeated Wayne County, 75-73, for the school’s only state basketball championship. The Panthers played in two other state championship games — falling to Pulaski County in 1986 on a layup in the final seconds and to Breckinridge County, 70-63, in 1995 — and won a total of 13 6th Region titles in his tenure, the most recent one in 2014. The Panthers won 32 district titles in his 38 seasons.
“All these many accomplishments could not have been possible without the help of my longtime right-hand men, Coach Larry Kihnley and Coach Mike Baxter, who have been with me every step of the way. What a team that we have made. I could never be able to repay them for all their loyalty and dedication. They are two of the best,” Mabrey wrote. “I would like to thank my coaches, my players, my support staff, past and present, my family and my friends for all their support and loyalty along the way. Without everyone working together this successful journey would not have been possible.
“There comes a time in everyone’s life when you know that it’s time for change. I know the Panthers will continue their winning ways.”