New principal

New Fairview Elementary principal Jeffery "Mo" Mullins

Rick Lambert only had to ask again.

Fairview's new athletic director tried to get Jeff "Mo" Mullins, his fellow Eagle, Class of 1979, to pursue the then-vacant boys basketball head coaching job this summer. Mullins, transitioning from being Fairview Elementary's principal to an assistant principal at the high and middle school, turned Lambert down.

"We had spent our whole summer just getting ready for the reopening of school and putting so much energy and focus into that," Mullins said, "that really, at that time when he came to me, the idea of returning to coaching just seemed so far away.

"But, to be honest," Mullins continued, "it's always been in the back of my mind, to return to (coach) my alma mater."

So when Lambert posed the question a second time, for Mullins to consider coaching girls basketball, that time he bit. Mullins was hired Wednesday to lead the Lady Eagles.

"He's gonna be a great asset to our school," Lambert said. "Kids will love him. Real outgoing, very knowledgeable, great basketball player back in the day. I know he'll do a good job. He'll get everything out of them he can get out of them, I'm sure."

Fairview went 21-8 last season, assembling one of the best campaigns in school history, but will need to replace at least four starters due to graduation and transfer.

That doesn't bother Mullins.

"I want our kids to be out there having fun and laughing and having a good time on the court," he said. "We'll be going through a rebuilding season, and probably a couple rebuilding years, because of where we're at with our numbers coming out, but that's just part of it. And I'm one that's never backed down from a challenge, so that's not something that's gonna be negative for me at all."

Mullins played at Centre and the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma before a semi-pro career of about a year in Philadelphia, after which he realized "a 6-foot-4 white boy from Westwood, Kentucky went as far as he could go" in basketball, Mullins said, laughing.

He favors up-tempo basketball, because that's how Fairview played under coach George Cooke when Mullins was an Eagle, it's how he played in college and in his semi-pro stint, and it's how Buddy Biggs coached Ashland's boys when Mullins was on his staff for six years.

"I've only played one way, and that's fast," Mullins said. "I don't know what slow-down basketball is; I don't know what Princeton-style basketball is. I've always been part of a run-and-gun-type atmosphere, high-pressure defense, increase the pace of the game, and just having fun."

Mullins began his teaching and coaching career in the Ashland district, but has always kept an eye on his alma mater, he said.

"It has everything to do with me even expressing interest in the job," Mullins said of that connection. "My finger was always on Fairview's pulse. ... Being alumni, but also being an athlete at your home school, it was a special moment for me just to be able to come back and be part of the rebuilding of everything we're trying to do, taking our academics and our athletics to the levels that you know they deserve to be at."

Mullins said his message to parents and players would be that what he envisions is "a legit program."

"We'll have weight training, a summer league, summer games, travel ball," Mullins said. "We'll have just a legit program that everybody can be excited about and all our girls can come out and be part of. We want them to understand that the people we have in place, everybody's gonna be in it to win it, and we're all looking forward to moving this thing in a positive direction and improving everything that we need to make sure that our program competes and becomes a winning program. That's our goal."

Mullins, who called himself "a young 59" with a chuckle, has four kids -- grown daughters Melody and Cameron, son Christian and daughter Carly. The latter two are a senior and a sophomore at Boyd County, respectively.

(606) 326-2658 |

zklemme@dailyindependent.com

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