Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local Sports

February 5, 2013

Boyd County goes with Gilliam

Lions assistant lures his former MSU coach

CANNONSBURG — As one door closed, Boyd County just happened to be holding the key to another.

John Gilliam, former longtime Morehead State defensive coordinator, will be the Lions’ next football coach. He met with the current coaching staff on Monday at Boyd County High School.

Gilliam, 48, is set to be formally introduced to students in the high school auditorium today, if school is in session.

Jeff Frasure, a Boyd County assistant coach since 2004, played for Gilliam at MSU. So did fellow assistant Ryan Meenach. Both were linebackers and played directly under Gilliam’s tutelage.

“They’ve been like kids at Christmas since the day his name was mentioned,” said David Trimble, Boyd County’s athletic director. “For those guys, this far down the road, to say he was that good to them — it just sent a message to us that he would do a great job with our kids.”

When discussing candidates following the resignation of Ray Brooks in early January, Frasure mentioned Gilliam as a “shot in the dark.” Just weeks prior, Morehead State had let go of head coach Matt Ballard, and with new coach Rob Tenyer bringing in a new staff, Gilliam was without a job.

“I sent him a text, and didn’t expect much of a reply back,” Frasure said. “He said he was interested, and I was shocked at first. We just pursued it from there.”

Gilliam had already accepted a job as Rowan County’s defensive coordinator when approached about the Boyd County opening.

“These guys stole me away,” Gilliam said with a laugh.

The brand new high school, coupled with near-future plans of fresh football facilities, was a big draw.

“This is rival to just about any college building on any college campus that I’ve been around,” Gilliam said. “Here in a few years, when the new football field is here, this place will be the palace temple of high school football in this area.”

Gilliam’s son Austin, a two-time All-Area lineman, will be a senior next season. He’ll likely graduate a Viking.

“As of right now, he’s staying (at Rowan County),” John Gilliam said.

Gilliam also has a nephew inside Class 4A District 8. Shawn Gilliam is an Ashland Tomcat.

Before moving to Prestonsburg and becoming a three-sport athlete as a Blackcat, Gilliam lived in Flatwoods until he was 12. His mother currently resides there. His sister is a teacher at Raceland.

“He’s close to his family here,” Trimble said. “He has a long-term plan for the program. We feel like he’s going to be dedicated.”

Frasure expects players to respond extremely well to the school’s third coach in three years.

“Playing for him, I would’ve run through a wall for him,” he said. “He gets total effort out of his kids.”

Gilliam’s impending message to players is fairly simple.

“We’re going to focus on Boyd County, and quit worrying about everybody else,” Gilliam said. “If we do us right, we don’t have to worry about everybody else.”

Gilliam, who played under Kentucky’s all-time winningest high school coach Philip Haywood, wants to create both a serious and fun environment. He also wants his team to be physical.

“We want teams to say, wow, those guys’ll hit you,” Gilliam said. “We’re going to play aggressive and strike some folks.”

Boyd County went 5-6 last season, one that ended with a playoff loss at Highlands. The Lions have experienced just one winning season since 2002.

Frasure thinks Gilliam has what it takes to boost Boyd County to another level.

“He is a program changer type guy. He’s got that ‘it’ factor,” Frasure said. “I think we turned the corner last year, and I think he’s the one who can give it that extra push.”

AARON SNYDER can be reached at asnyder@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2664.

Text Only
Local Sports
  • Proposed plan a touchdown for Ashland, Central

    They’ll have to wait another year, but some major changes are on the horizon.

    April 15, 2014

  • Martin, Cannoy put pop on top of Boyd 12-2 win

    Boyd County’s softball bats are booming of late.

    April 14, 2014

  • Stock spiking for Raceland softball

    Raceland took a major step in trying to shift the balance of power in 63rd District softball.

    April 14, 2014

  • 0415eastSB0110.jpg Still chasing the Kittens

    East Carter entered Monday’s softball showdown with Ashland looking to show it’s a credible threat to the Kittens’ recent domination of the 16th Region.

    April 14, 2014 5 Photos

  • Local Sports in Brief: Bush, Porter Wendy's Heisman finalists

    Rose Hill Christian seniors David Bush and Myriah Porter have been named state finalists for the Wendy’s High School Heisman Award.

    April 14, 2014

  • Paintsville tops Magoffin, 12-0

    Kash Daniel and Spencer Taylor combined to toss a one-hitter as Paintsville pounded Magoffin County, 12-0, on Monday night in the first of a two-game series between 57th District foes.

    April 14, 2014

  • AARON SNYDER: Kittens on prowl for SS

    The Monday Morning Shortstop didn't have to dodge any actual darts at Ashland Softball Complex, although there may be an enlarged picture of him riddled with holes somewhere close by.
    If the piercing looks thrown my way weren't enough to sway me, the Kittens did more than enough on the field the past two weeks to distance themselves from a No. 5 ranking in northeastern Kentucky.

    April 13, 2014

  • 0414bcclassic0539.jpg Raceland girls, Boyd boys win track Classic

    As Boyd County first-year track and field coach Chris Holbrook stood on the infield and watched a member of Raceland’s 4-by-400-meter relay team circle the track in the final girls’ event of Saturday’s Boyd County Classic, he commented aloud to no one in particular, “She’s not showing any signs of running out of gas.”
    The Lady Rams had just enough in the tank to fend off the Lady Lions’ late charge and lock down their third victory of the young season, edging host Boyd County by six points, 171-165.
    On the boys’ side, Boyd County cruised, beating second-place Rowan County 175-114. A Lions club that finished 10th in last spring’s Class 2A, Region 6 meet has won all three meets it’s participated in this season.

    April 13, 2014 4 Photos

  • Starns, Steward stellar in '13-14

    After compiling a 40-2 record against 16th Region opponents over the last two seasons, Fleming County left the rest of the area thoroughly convinced of its prowess on the basketball court.

    April 13, 2014

  • Thunder on a sunny day

    Greenup County did its best to pitch to Ashland slugger McKenzie Vanover in her first three trips to the plate Saturday afternoon.
    It didn’t work out so well.

    April 13, 2014

Featured Ads
Seasonal Content
AP Video
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
SEC Zone