Jack Lykins is a man with many hats.
Already the high school principal, the 40-year-old is set to next don the Lewis County blue baseball cap.
The school hired Lykins to the head coaching position on Friday.
"Baseball is the greatest game," Lykins said. "I was interested in the position not only because of my love for the game but because these student-athletes are a great group to work with."
Lewis County experienced back-to-back remarkable seasons under its previous coach, Keith Prater. Prater guided the Lions to a 52-17 total record, a 63rd District title and one 16th Region Tournament semifinal appearance over the last two years.
Prater resigned last August for family reasons, taking a teaching position at Rowan County.
Lykins is well aware of the Lions' past success on the diamond.
"Our expectation is to carry on and build upon the tradition that has been established by the players and coaches who preceded us," he said. "We have a great group of returning players. Not only are they talented but they are also a great group of kids, in general."
Among those is ace pitcher Sammy Holder, a right-hander who recently signed with Kentucky Wesleyan College.
The team graduated five off the 27-11 squad in 2013. All were regular contributors.
Lykins's latest undertaking is his first varsity baseball head coaching job. He does, however, have an extensive sports background.
Lykins spent several years as a coach and umpire for Lewis County Little League. He was also an assistant middle school baseball coach along with being the assistant principal at Scott County.
He coached seventh-, eighth- and ninth-grade boys basketball at Lewis County. He also spent time as the junior varsity girls coach and assistant to former girls basketball coach Kevin Lewis.
Lykins began playing baseball at age 3 and fell in love with the sport instantly, he said. He played through his senior year at Lewis County High School.
Lykins said he's excited to take on another important role at Lewis County. Serving as both an administrator and coach while at Scott County will help, he said.
Lykins has worked in the Lewis County school system for the last 13 years and has served as high school principal for the past two.
AARON SNYDER can be reached at email@example.com or (606) 326-2664.
Jack Lykins is a man with many hats.
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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.”
- Fleming hangs tough to beat Lewis Fleming County locked into another fight against Lewis County, which beat the Panthers earlier this season, before winning 66-58 on Monday in Morehead. Wilder Williams posted a double-double of 19 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Panthers, who face Ashland on Tuesday at 7 p.m.
- GALLERY: Ashland gets by Greenup County, will meet Fleming in region final Ashland's Steven Friley scored 21 points Monday to lead the Tomcats to an 81-61 win over Greenup County in the 16th Region semifinal in Morehead.
Kittens clamoring for more at state
Ashland girls basketball coaches went the extra mile, and a whole bunch more, to get a first-hand scouting report on the Kittens’ opponent for the State Tournament.
Head coach Bill Bradley and assistant Phil Wittich drove all the way to Henderson — 5 hours, 20 minutes one way Bradley said on the way home — to take in Sunday’s Second Region championship game.
Henderson County, playing on its home floor, defeated University Heights 67-54. The Lady Colonels went unbeaten in their region this season and are 24-5 overall.
EKC hands out hardware
The Eastern Kentucky Conference handed out its 2014 awards on Monday afternoon at a luncheon at Carter Caves.
Barracudas earn kudos from coach
Ashland Area YMCA swimmers impressed coach Ryan Ferguson from start to finish in the three-day Kentucky Y Competitive Swim League State Meet.
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- VIDEO: 16th Region semifinals highlights