Gary Kidwell, who has been involved with high school sports for nearly half a century, will be inducted into the National Coaches Association Hall of Fame next week in Des Moines, Iowa.
Kidwell, who turns 70 in September, has spent much of his career at Lewis County High School in various capacities, including coaching baseball and basketball. He’s also served as the school’s athletic director and still teaches half a day in driver’s education.
He was nominated by Jimmy Reeves of the Kentucky High School Coaches Association. Kidwell admitted to being “shocked” at the news he would be going into the National Hall of Fame.
“It’s not something I expected at all,” he said. Kidwell was inducted into the Kentucky High School Athletic Association Hall of Fame in 2011. Besides his work at school, he is the longtime radio voice of Lewis County sports on WKKS and has had a Saturday morning sports show for nearly 38 years. He also writes a column for the weekly newspaer, Kidwell’s Korner, also for 38 years. He recently had a one-on-one sitdown with UK Coach John Calipari.
“I’ve been blessed to be around a lot of great people, including all the superindents at Lewis County and the media in our area,” Kidwell said. “Everybody has been very good to me.”
Kidwell had a 155-150 record as Lewis County’s basketball coach for 13 years. He also coached baseball from 1973-88 and twice won the 10th Region.
Lewis County’s 1976 and 1977 basketball teams, led by David Gaunce and Jim Bloomfield, reached the 16th Region semifinals both of those seasons.
Kidwell is active in the Vanceburg community as well. He serves as the fair board president and was recently presented awards from that organization.
“The support we’ve had here in the community is tremendous,” he said. “Nobody travels better than our fans. We have the best fans in the 16th Region.”
Kidwell and his wife, Alice, who was also honored by the fair board, added two new grandchildren to the family this summer. They have three children, Merle, who is the Russell boys basketball coach; Stacy and Tai, who got married in December.
The hall of fame ceremony will be Monday in Iowa. “We’ve never been to Iowa. It’s about a 12-hour drive and we plan on staying and visiting a few places.”
Kidwell will be the 12th inductee from Kentucky and the first from the eastern part of the state.
MARK MAYNARD can be reached at email@example.com or (606) 326-2648.