As expected, the future of the entire Russell football coaching staff is in question.
A day after the school announced that Ivan McGlone was no longer the head coach after 38 seasons, the remaining paid assistant coaches received notices regarding their status for next year.
Each assistant was given a letter stating that his contract had been fulfilled for the past year, since contracts are made on a year-to-year basis, and his salary for the next year would reflect the void of previous coaching compensation.
Basically, the slate is wiped clean in order for the new head coach to make staff decisions. This is considered common practice, and several may even return as assistants.
Jeff Smith, who played and coached for McGlone, decided to retire from coaching. He will remain an educator through next December.
“Other than my time in college or the six years that I left to start Fairview’s program back, I have played or coached with Ivan for 24 years,” said Smith, who was Fairview’s head coach from 1998-2000. “He has been like a second father to me. Even as much as I will miss the players and Friday nights, I don’t see myself coaching without Ivan.”
Garry Morris has been on the staff since 1997, after coming over from Lawrence County. Most of his stint was served as defensive coordinator. The Red Devils’ defense was continually a main reason for their success, especially in the mid-2000s. During Russell’s state runner-up season in 2006, it tallied four shutouts.
Morris, Russell High School’s Dean of Students, said the way McGlone’s legendary run ended was unsettling.
McGlone said on Thursday that he was offered a farewell season for both 2013 and ’14, but turned down the grand exit both times. The 75-year-old wasn’t ready to stop coaching, but Russell elected to go in a different direction.
“I’m frustrated and sad about how the whole ordeal played out,” Morris said. “I realize, however, that change is inevitable, but rarely easy. Obviously, this is not easy. I want to thank Coach McGlone. The great times far outweigh the not so great, and that’s still the case.”
Morris assumed the spot that Smith left vacant upon his departure to Fairview in 1997. Smith rejoined the staff in 2003.
Like Smith, Morris also referred to McGlone as family.
“I can’t remember when we first met, and that’s because I feel like, much like a father, he’s always been there,” Morris said. “Simply put, to me, he’s family.”
Morris has been rumored as a candidate to take over the program.
In response to those rumors, Morris said, “I’m not even thinking about football at all right now.
“Right now, I’m no longer a football coach,” he added. “I did not retire, I did not submit a letter, but right now I’m not a coach.”
The 50-year-old said he has a seventh-grade daughter who will also play a major role in any future decisions.
Tracy Edwards, one of the longest-serving assistant coaches ever in the area, hopes to have a decision in front of him. He spent 27 seasons as part of the staff with McGlone.
“I live and breathe Russell football and, if the opportunity arose, I would certainly be thrilled and for sure consider it,” said Edwards, who played his final season at Russell in 1975, a year before McGlone became head coach. Edwards joined the staff in 1987.
“I missed playing for him by one year,” Edwards said. “That sure would’ve been fun to play for him and then coach with him, too ... It’s certainly been an honor to coach with him and spend as much time as I did with him.”
Other (paid and unpaid) assistants on last year’s staff included Lee Evans, Dave Caniff, Buford Hurley, Chris Castle, Rhese McKenzie, Leslie Johnson and Tony Pierce.
AARON SNYDER can be reached firstname.lastname@example.org or (606) 326-2664.
As expected, the future of the entire Russell football coaching staff is in question.
- Local Sports
Panthers pound Ashland for repeat trip to Rupp (with video)
The Fleming County Panthers waited nearly an hour to ascend the ladders set up under the goals at Ellis T. Johnson Arena on Tuesday night.
To the victor belongs the spoils, which traditionally includes the nets after winning a tournament title. But Fleming County milled around on Morehead State’s floor taking pictures and soaking in the atmosphere after handling Ashland 82-59 in the 16th Region Tournament final.
Snipping the twine was almost an afterthought. In fact, except for a minute or so of celebration with their student section immediately following the final buzzer, the Panthers didn’t really even seem all that excited.
They expected to be here, and they were all business after earning back-to-back region titles and trips to Rupp Arena.
AARON SNYDER: Truth or Dare unkind to ’Cats
Ashland was left feeling like the shy kid after an intense game of Truth or Dare.
Truth: Fleming County outrebounded Ashland, 39-24, after Ashland outdueled Greenup County by 10 the night before.
'Relaxed' Steward earns MVP award
Both Fleming County coach Mark Starns and stellar senior Troy Steward attributed his significant strides this season to aggressiveness.
Playing a part, too, in Steward earning the 16th Region Tournament Most Valuable Player award was the lack of nerves, which were nearly overwhelming at times a year ago.
Central's 15th Region reign continues
Once was good.
Twice was nice.
Three was sweet for the Johnson Central Eagles.
Senior Slade McPeek scored 22 points and earned most valuable player honors Tuesday night as Johnson Central rolled past Shelby Valley, 81-56, for its third straight 15th Region championship at the East Kentucky Expo Center.
- Fleming goes for two: Panthers beat Ashland for 16th Region repeat Fleming County pulled away early and never looked back as the Panthers pounced on Ashland, winning 82-59 in the 16th Region championship game on Tuesday in Morehead. Fleming County will face Scott County in the Sweet Sixteen next Wednesday at Rupp Arena.
VIDEO: 16th Region semifinals highlights
Fleming County defeated Lewis County, 66-58, and Ashland beat Greenup County, 81-61, on Monday night at Morehead State University to set up tonight's championship matchup. Tipoff is set for 7.
Ashland cruises past Greenup to 16th Region championship game
Tyler Stewart is known for his unrelenting hustle as one of Ashland’s glue guys.
When the senior guard can pitch in some offense too, as he did Monday in the 16th Region Tournament semifinals, that’s just one more problem for Tomcats opponents.
Stewart scored 20 points, senior Steven Friley posted a double-double with 21 points and 14 rebounds, and Ashland outscored Greenup County 21-9 in the third quarter to break open what was a seven-point game at halftime and cruise past the Musketeers, 81-61.
Fleming battles back to 16th Region final
A healthy Wilder Williams this season has given Fleming County a whole new dimension.
Prior to his sophomore year, Williams sustained a football injury that resulted in three ankle surgeries and limited him to bench duty last season while the Panthers made their run to the 16th Region championship.
A physical 6-foot-3 player, Williams is making his presence felt around the basket as Fleming County looks to return to the Sweet Sixteen.
AARON SNYDER: Will the next hero be unmasked?
Who will the bat signal shine for tonight?
Or, should I say, the Cat signal?
In the third installment of a trilogy that might rival the Batman three-pack of “Batman Begins,” “The Dark Knight” and “The Dark Knight Rises,” Fleming County and Ashland will battle in a matchup that has produced a classic clash in each of the last two 16th Region Tournaments.
If the first two collectively served as a gradual progressions to tonight’s scene, the climax could be off the charts.
Corey Gregg was Ashland’s superhero in 2012, when the senior confidently fired a perfect 3-point shot from the right corner. The triple thrust the Tomcats and Panthers into overtime, from which Ashland emerged 79-73 in a first-round game.
Central wins, Lawrence falls in 15th
The biggest concern for Lawrence County coach Josh Cook was staying out of foul trouble.
His team stayed in it all night, and it cost them a spot in the 15th Region title game.
Shelby Valley senior Tyler Carr led four players in double figures with 19 points as the Wildcats knocked off Lawrence County, 72-60, in the semifinals of the 15th Region Tournament at the East Kentucky Expo Center.
“This one hurts,” said Cook. “We’ll learn from this, and I have no doubt that our kids will get back here and finish the job.”
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- Panthers pound Ashland for repeat trip to Rupp (with video)