Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local News

January 3, 2013

MARK MAYNARD: Hart embraced tradition, community

ASHLAND — Leon Hart came to Ashland 10 years ago not only to be vested in a high school football program but a community.

His retirement on Thursday will leave a void in both areas.

Everybody knows Leon Hart the football coach. He guided the Tomcats’ program to 78 victories and nine playoff appearances in 10 seasons. Exciting victories over rivals Russell, Ironton and Johnson Central will be most remembered by the fans.

Two of his quarterbacks, Ian Holbrook and Sam Hunter, rewrote the Tomcat record books.

But he was far more than a football coach to the Ashland community.

A special education teacher in the school system, he made an impact on more students than football players in his 10 years here. Those special ed students absolutely adored Leon Hart. I saw it firsthand a few years ago when they had a birthday party for their then 60-year-old coach at Poage Elementary. They loved him not because he was the Tomcats’ football coach – one boy even asked him if he went to the game last Friday when Ashland beat Ironton – but because he sincerely loved them back.

He taught his football players not just about the game itself but life. They learned a lot from Leon Hart.

Ashland’s players participated in the Salvation Army bell ringing campaign and cleaned up yards during the city’s Repair Affair. They also worked the Special Olympics in the area and came to know their coaching staff not just as coaches but friends.

He leaves a legacy of coaching and service with his retirement.

Not surprisingly, Leon Hart is retiring not because he’s too old to do the job. The 62-year-old coach is retiring so he can spend more time with his aging parents, both 84 and living in Mansfield, Ohio. His father is ill and isn’t getting better. He also has grandchildren in Burlington, N.C. Neither place is exactly a hop, skip and a jump from Ashland.

Text Only
Local News
  • 0420singer2web.jpg Young Johnson singer strives for ‘tears of joy'

    Marlana VanHoose says she was humming “Jesus Loves Me” before she could even talk.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Second trial delay sought

    The lead attorney for Morgan County Judge-Executive Tim Conley has requested his client’s trial date be pushed back again.

    April 20, 2014

  • Accelerating the positive

    One thing Sherry Jacobs knows about herself is she is not a quitter.

    April 20, 2014

  • Bike season in full swing

    A recent short cold spell didn’t keep kept cyclists from venturing outdoors to explore the new bike trails snaking through Greenup County.

    April 20, 2014

  • What's happening: 4/21/14

    Fan Fest, an open house at King’s Daughters Medical center’s Specialties Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine and Marshall Orthopaedics, will be from 3 to 6 p.m. Thursday at offices in Suite G30 of Medical Plaza B, 613 23rd St.

    April 20, 2014

  • Crime victims’ group to host conference

    Kentucky Voices for Victims of Crime, an advocacy organization for those who have suffered at the hands of criminals, will have its annual memorial conference next week.
     

    April 20, 2014

  • Boyd FFA to have test drive fundraiser

    The Boyd County FFA Chapter will have a test-drive fundraiser at Superior Chrysler Dodge Jeep of Ashland from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday to raise money for the National FFA Organization in support of local FFA chapter leadership programs.
     

    April 20, 2014

  • newwendy1.jpg Ashland woman develops pregnancy journals for mom, dad

    An Ashland woman has a way of helping parents everywhere.
    Wendy Sparks, 47, wrote The journals, which are for parents to keep for themselves and their children during pregnancy.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0420eggs0051.jpg Acres and acres of eggs

    A dozen volunteers spent the morning Saturday scattering more than 6,000 plastic eggs around the Greenup County Farm Bureau’s 10-acre field Saturday morning.
     

    April 19, 2014 2 Photos

  • Volunteers to pack thousands of meals for hungry Haitians

    Members of the First Baptist Church in Grayson are planning for the third year in a row to pack thousands of meals for starving people in Haiti, and they need help to do it.
     

    April 19, 2014