Hello, welcome to the “Fast Lane” a weekly column that will discuss local and national sports topics. I will look into certain events in the sports world and try and make sense and give a different view point to all the flying topics.
The first weekly column in this series will be discussing coaching changes and after the recent news this is a perfect topic to bring up in Logan County/Russellville sports.
In March it was announced that coach Dennis Pardue was going to call it quits and resigned from his post at the helm Russellville boys basketball. Then a few weeks later coach Lou Kendall announced that this year was his final season of his hall of fame career at the head of Russellville baseball. The first week of June saw that Logan County wasn’t immune to the coaching carousal as coach Harold Tackett announced he would be leaving his post as coach of the boys basketball team before taking that same position at Greenup County.
So in the span of three months, there have been three openings in the sports world around Logan County/Russellville. There are plenty of reasons why coaches leave an established post. Family reasons, better opportunities elsewhere, the timing is just right, or the progress is not as good as fans, athletic department, and boosters desire.
Sports fans of every sport have seen coaches come and go within a moment’s notice. They have seen the varied results of coaching changes. University of Kentucky saw it with two years of Billy Gillispie and then two years of John Calipari. It was night and day between the two coaches and the success they had. University of Alabama football saw Mike Shula struggle while Nick Saban came in and was wildly successful.
But all of these coaches are leaving some very established positions, so their replacements will be called upon to take their teams to the next level.
The Russellville boys basketball team basketball coach has been filled by an old legend and with him comes the desire for the Panthers to get back to that stratospheric level of success they had before. Coach Phil Todd led the Panthers in the late 90’s and early 2000’s to unprecedented success. Coach Todd built the Panthers into a team that every team in the region feared. Even those Bowling Green Purples and Warren Central Dragons feared the Panthers of coach Todd.
Only time will tell if bringing their old coach back will result in the success that their fans are craving for.
On a side note, out of the four teams in District 13, only Todd County has the same boys basketball coach as they did last year going into next season.
The Russellville baseball team will look to replace a hall of fame coach. Coach Kendall amassed over 450 wins in his long tenure at the helm of Panthers baseball, and anybody who comes into replace him is going to have some huge shoes to fill. Not saying that the new head coach is destined to fail, he’s got a load of talent on that roster, it’s just been seen on many levels where someone stepping into a void left by a hall of famer seems to come up wanting. We all know Saint Louis Cardinals hall of fame short stop Ozzie Smith, but people hardly remember who succeeded him. Whoever succeeds Chipper Jones at third base for the Atlanta Braves is someone that I truly don’t envy, except for that paycheck he’ll receive.
The same goes to who steps in to fill coach Lou Kendall’s shoes.
The Logan County boys basketball team will be without coach Tackett next season after he chose to accept the position at Greenup County earlier this month. Coach Tackett came to Logan County and saw a program that was in complete disarray. He spent four years building a program that not only got back to the region tournament for the first time since 1998, but has a chance to have continued success in the coming future. He built a program from basically the ground up and with the right talent coming through the system the Cougars could be a force to be reckoned with.
Whoever steps into the void will have a head start on other coaches because of the foundation that coach Tackett left.
Speaking of programs, look at some of the programs around this region and the state. Some of the power house programs weren’t always powerhouse, but they were built from the ground up. Russellville football was in shambles and then coach John Myers came in and they had what people consider a “down year” last year and that down year included a play off home victory. Coach Dain Gregory was hired at Logan County to basically mimic and try to surpass what Russellville and Bowling Green have; that continued success and pride in their high school. And he’s well on his way to doing just that.
Hopefully fans and boosters will give the new head coaches the time that is needed to determine if they are going to be successful. Plenty of good coaches have been fired before they have gotten a chance to succeed.
I’m looking forward to seeing who will succeed Lou Kendall, and Harold Tackett at their post.
Next week I’ll look at the minor league baseball systems due to the bountiful talent of baseball athletes here in this county.