An uncomfortable realization struck Ray Brooks during this past football season.
Boyd County’s head coach didn’t feel like he was putting forth the time and dedication that the kids he cherished deserved.
On Friday, Brooks addressed those players with the news that he would not be their head coach next season.
Brooks resigned after just one season at the helm because he wants to spend more time with his family.
“It’s something that’s been on my mind for a while,” Brooks said. “I wanted desperately to do right by these kids — I know I sound like a broken record, but these Boyd County kids are just great kids — and I thought, at times, that I should’ve been doing more than I was able to do.”
Upon his resignation, longtime assistant coach Jeff Frasure was named interim head coach, according to Boyd County Athletic Director Dave Trimble. The head coaching job must be posted on the Kentucky High School Athletic Association website for 30 days before a hire is made. Frasure has been with the team since 2004.
Brooks said he would still like to be involved with the team in some way.
“I met with Coach Frasure. Throughout this whole process, he’s been my right arm,” Brooks said. “I told him to please call on me any way, shape or form that he sees fit.”
Brooks, who took charge of the Lions last February, guided Boyd County to a 5-6 season that concluded with a playoff loss at Highlands. The Lions showed promise for the future of the program as they nearly knocked off district opponent Rowan County in a game that determined the district’s No. 3 seed.
Brooks’ resignation comes a day after district rival Ashland’s head coaching position became vacant following Leon Hart’s announcement of retirement.
“I feel like I’m copying Coach Hart or something,” Brooks joked.
Boyd County has had seven coaches and just four winning seasons since 1990. Brooks said it’s on the upswing, though.
“I told these kids it’s like you’re in a football game, and someone goes down maybe to injury,” Brooks said. “You don’t lose the will to win when that happens. This is no different. Keep doing what you’re doing. Still get after it and still prepare because come August, football’s coming. It’s not going to wait.
“They accepted and respected my decision,” he added.
Brooks said he has been part of a football team in some aspect for 40 years. That, coupled with the feeling of extreme inclusion, made the decision difficult.
“I’ve never felt more a part of a team than I did with these Boyd County kids,” he said.
It was Brooks’ first head coaching job. He had spent the previous four seasons as Huntington High’s defensive coordinator.
Brooks will remain a special education teacher at Boyd County High School.
AARON SNYDER can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (606) 326-2664.