Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local Sports

January 3, 2013

Hart of the matter

Tomcat coach retires, citing family issues



Hart had some memorable victories over Ironton and Johnson Central, two of the Tomcats’ biggest rivals during his tenure. He also had some torturous losses to those teams.

“He always gave all the credit to the kids and, when they lost, he took the blame,” said Tomcat radio voice Dicky Martin. “He still talked about Vic (Marsh) and Herb (Conley) so much and what they meant and still do mean to the program. Not only did he (Hart) carry on the Tomcat tradition but he built on it. We have 80 kids out for football.”

Ashland made the playoffs in nine of 10 seasons with the 2-8 mark in 2007 his only losing record. Hart was a part of only four losing seasons in 40 years of coaching.

Hart and his wife, Bonnie, who has two years until her retirement, plan on staying in Ashland at least that long. It has become home to him.

“At no point do you think this is going to be the end,” he said. “I haven’t been away from football since 1963 when I started playing in middle school. I’ve had football every fall since.”

Hart said the Tomcats’ program is in good shape for the future and he endorsed assistant coach Tony Love as the man who should take the reins.

“They know. If they don’t hire Tony Love they’re making a mistake,” Hart said. “I mean that from the bottom of my heart. Tony turned down two jobs last summer to stay with us.”

Love has been Hart’s defensive coordinator since he started at Ashland.

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

Leon Hart year-by-year

               Reg. season           Playoffs

YEAR                W    L          W    L

2003                    8    5            2    1

2004                    9    4            2    1

2005                    9    3            1    1

2006                    9    3            1    1

2007                    2    8            0    0

2008                    7    5            1    1

2009                    9    2            0    1

2010                    7    4            0    1

2011                    9    3            1    1

2012                    9    3            1    1

TOTAL             78  40            9    9         


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