Since being named executive director of the Kentucky High School Basketball Hall of Fame in March, Rick Whobrey has traversed the Commonwealth drumming up interest, raising funds and spreading the gospel of high school hoops to anyone who will listen.
This Saturday, the hard work of Whobrey and countless others involved in establishing the Hall will pay off, as the inaugural 16-member class is inducted at State Theater in Elizabethtown.
“We think this is not just a huge sporting event, but it’s a historic event,” Whobrey said. “Never before and certainly never again will this collection of basketball legends ever be in one place, in one room at the same time.”
The star-studded slate of inductees includes Louisville-area legends Darrell Griffith, Wes Unseld and the late Ralph Beard.
Plans for the Hall of Fame were initiated by the Kentucky Association of Basketball Coaches roughly four years ago, and 100 members will be inducted by 2018, the centennial of sanctioned high school basketball in the state.
In Elizabethtown a permanent brick-and-mortar museum to house the Hall of Fame is in the works, and according to Whobrey, a host of other initiatives are planned, including coaching seminars, a speaker circuit and even the development of basketball-themed lesson plans for elementary schools.
“We believe strongly that high school basketball is such (an important) part of the fabric of Kentucky, whether you’re in the big city or in the rural areas,” said Whobrey. “It’s been real exciting to see (the Hall of Fame) take shape and to see the excitement in the players and coaches who are going in.”
Tickets ($30) are still available and can be purchased by calling 270.234.8354. A reception begins at 6 p.m. followed by the inductions at 8.
The Inaugural Class of Inductees:
“King” Kelly Coleman, Wayland
Wes Unseld, Seneca
Jim McDaniels, Allen County
Darrell Griffith, Male
Geri Grigsby, McDowell
Clemette Haskins, Warren Central
Rex Chapman, Apollo
Richie Farmer, Clay County
Bobby Keith (coach), Clay County
Roy Bowling (coach), Laurel County
S.T. Roach (coach), Lexington Dunbar
Cliff Hagan, Owensboro
Wallace “Wah Wah” Jones, Harlan
Ralph Beard, Male
Ralph Carlisle (coach), Lafayette
Clem Haskins, Taylor County
Carlisle, Roach and Beard are deceased.
The Kentucky-Indiana Volleyball Academy (KIVA) 14-White squad capped a successful season last month by winning the Club Division at the 39th annual AAU Girls’ Junior National Championships in Orlando, Fla.
Featuring more than 1700 teams, AAU Nationals is one of the country’s largest volleyball events.
The KIVA side, made up primarily of rising freshmen, entered the four-day tournament as the No. 23 seed among 144 teams in its division, then dropped only two games en route to a 14-0 record.
In the finals at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, KIVA prevailed 25-19, 25-15 over local rival MidAmerica Volleyball Association (MAVA) 14-Blue.
The win carried even more meaning as it came just two weeks after the passing of coach Mike Ewals’ wife, Alice, who died suddenly of leukemia at the age of 49.
“It was a very bittersweet month for us. My two daughters (Alice-Marie, 23, and Caitlyn, 21) really pushed for me to go down to AAUs and finish out the season with my team,” Ewals said.
“The elation of winning and then seeing my two girls run onto the court and come to me was a very special moment, and we felt like my wife was up there watching over us.”
Team members visited the hospital during Alice’s month-long fight against the disease, then dedicated the tournament to her memory, wearing orange shoelaces for leukemia awareness.
“For 14-year-old girls to have the maturity level that they did going down there, knowing everything that has happened. …[I]t was a storybook ending, it really was,” said Ewals.
KIVA’s Mikaila Humphrey was named tournament MVP. Meghan Malloy and Shelby Olsen of KIVA, Kassi Clayton, Elly Burke and Jaclyn Fischer of MAVA and Anna Zwiebel and Casey Foote of Union Volleyball Club were local players who earned All-Star recognition.
In twelve seasons at J-town, Jeff Morrow transformed the Chargers basketball program from Seventh-Region also-ran into a state powerhouse, winning two regional crowns and the 2006 state title.
Then, in May 2011 he abruptly resigned, telling The Courier-Journal it was “time to step back and figure out what direction I want to go.”
Now, following a one-year hiatus, Morrow will again pace the sidelines after being named boys’ basketball coach at Iroquois High School.
“Last year was good in many ways. I enjoyed a break, but reaffirmed that I want to keep doing it,” said Morrow, who went 250-118 at J-town. He replaces Michael Stinnett, who posted a 126-71 record in seven seasons.
“Iroquois has had a strong tradition in basketball. They’ve had some great coaches…and really good players,” Morrow said. “We’re going to do our very best to be successful right away.”
The Raiders went 14-11 last season and were eliminated by Doss in district play.
Contact columnist Chris Cahill at email@example.com.