Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local Sports

January 3, 2013

MARK MAYNARD: Hart embraced tradition, community



Leon Hart and his wife, Bonnie, will keep their Ashland home – Bonnie has two more years in the school system before she can retire. But Leon plans on being on the road a lot. He’s going to make time for his parents, children and grandchildren.

He’s coached other people’s children for the past 40 years so it’s now time he took some time for himself.

Dicky Martin, the longtime Tomcat broadcaster, said Leon Hart will be missed in the community.

“He’s not only our coach but he’s a good, good friend of mine,” Martin said. “This community embraced him and he embraced the community. He’s an awfully popular fella. Besides being a good football coach, he’s a heck of man.”

Hart came to Ashland in 2003 with an outstanding coach pedigree. He was part of Eastern Kentucky University’s two Division I-AA national championship teams and brought a wealth of coaching experience to Ashland.

He came looking for a place where he could serve the community and a place where football mattered.

It was the perfect storm for the Tomcats, who have become an area power under his watch.

Hart was always respectful of Ashland’s football tradition. He knew Putnam Stadium’s impact on the community and spoke reverently of former coaches Vic Marsh and Herb Conley. He was almost apologetic for surpassing Conley’s win total.

He is now in the category of former Ashland Tomcat football coach that will be remembered for all the right reasons.

MARK MAYNARD can be reached at mmaynard@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2648.

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