16th Region Rowan County v West Carter

Rowan County coach Shawn Thacker directs his team’s defense in the last minute of their game against West Carter Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2019, during the first round of the 16th Region Boys Basketball Tournament in Morehead, Ky. Photo by John Flavell / For The Daily Independent

This may not be quite as good as Christmas, but as of last week, Dec. 25 is fewer than six months away, so how’s this to tide you over?

One of our favorite projects of the year is commencing — the sixth annual “Quite the Quotes,” in which we review and regurgitate what we deemed the best 40 quotes from The Daily Independent’s high school sports coverage this past school athletic year.

Aaron Snyder’s coverage of Ryan Biederman’s hiring as Raceland’s volleyball coach on June 28, 2018 and yours truly’s boys track and field All-Area story on June 20 bookended 781 articles covering high school sports that included quotes, composed by the newspaper’s three-person sports department and the 10 men and women who contributed at least one story.

That sentence alone is an annual reminder of what we have to be thankful for in still having three full-time sports writers, a staff photographer who loves covering local sports and a ton of dedicated assistance — especially given today’s media landscape and the population of our region.

Having a multitude of sporting figures to cover who say interesting things helps. Consumers of the previous five versions of this project may notice some traditional mainstays missing from this year’s edition. Rest assured, that doesn’t mean those people suddenly became boring.

It’s more a measure of just how many interview subjects in northeastern Kentucky high school sports take the time to deliver thoughtful and earnest answers — or simply hilarious ones — when clichés would do.

For that, we are greatly appreciative, and hope that our readers are, too.


2018-19 ‘Quite the Quotes’ Nos. 40-1

40. “I came in the dugout and I looked at (assistant coach) Brad (Hamilton) and I said, ‘That is the best freaking moment of my life.’” — Lauren Spears, Ashland sophomore, on homering in the Kittens’ 8-1 loss to Warren East in the state softball tournament quarterfinals on June 14

39. “I’m not gonna be able to do some of the things that I do, but of course, maybe that’s good for my maturity too.” — Jay Fite, Lewis County girls basketball coach, on limited mobility from a torn meniscus in the preseason

38. “When we saw him coming in, I told BB (Layne), ‘I’d rather see John Smoltz come out of the bullpen than that guy,’ and he didn’t know who John Smoltz was.” — Frank Conley, Boyd County baseball coach, on Ashland’s Asher Stevens coming on to pitch in relief in the Lions’ 10-6 win on April 30

37. “They called me ‘Motor Skills.’ I used to trip a lot freshman and sophomore year. I grew out of it, but I guess I still had one in me.” — AJ Hacker, Rowan County senior, on tripping over second base during the Vikings’ 10-0 win over East Carter in the 16th Region Tournament quarterfinals

36. “He was faster.” — Elliott County junior Lucas Ison, on finishing runner-up to Pikeville’s Rylan Keathley in the Class A, Region 7 boys cross-country championship on Oct. 27

35. “We’re not going to be on the Ashland Daily Independent’s All-Airport team, where you get off the plane and everybody goes ‘ooh’ and ‘aah.’ So we just have to out-effort teams.” — Jason Mays, Ashland boys basketball coach

34. “I’ve never been that tired after sitting that long.” — Robert Amis, Greenup County boys basketball coach, after he sat the whole game when the Musketeers were called for a technical foul in pregame warm-ups before a 69-65 win over Russell on Nov. 30

33. “We beat some teams last year that when you looked in the newspaper you asked, how did they do that?” — Derek Cooksey, former Fairview boys basketball coach, on the Eagles’ 2017-18 season

32. “I guess all that messing around before practice that your dad and coaches don’t like, it finally came in handy.” — Blake Stewart, Boyd County junior, on hitting a 40-footer at the first-quarter buzzer during the Lions’ 66-57 win over Ashland on Jan. 18

31. “We’ve always heard it from parents and stuff, but now we’re hearing stuff from 10-year-olds. When you’re getting cussed by kids, it’s like, wow.” — Brian Taylor, Northeast Kentucky Football Officials training officer

30. “I told him he was too damn smart to play football.” — Bill Musick, former Johnson Central football coach, on former Golden Eagle and renowned country music artist Chris Stapleton

29. “When I started here, I was like, oh my God, they’re all still on their ABCs, and I can’t even start with my DEFs with them in soccer.” — Billy Kemper, Boyd County girls soccer coach, after taking over Lady Lions program

28. “(He looks) like he’s just woke up. You know what? You score (29) goals, you can take as many naps as you want.” — Logan Price, Boyd County boys soccer coach, on Lions goal-hound Oliver Skaug

27. “Primarily, we want to get the ball to Kirk (Pence) — he’s on fire — but I was like, he’s got two more years to do this, I’m a senior.” — Greg Mershon, Raceland senior, after making the game-winning basket in the Rams’ 55-53 win over Russell in the 63rd District Tournament on Feb. 20

26. “Apparently my wife is taking them all to Dairy Queen or something after this. I’m sure that’s coming out of my pocket, some way, somehow.” Matt Stokes, Rowan County girls basketball coach, after the Lady Vikings’ 76-71 win over Floyd Central in the 2A Classic Section IV semifinals on Jan. 12

25. “They were contributors. They participated. The weren’t just great players and sat at the house and drank beer the rest of their life.” — Steve Gilmore, on the Elks Sports Day honorees, in remarks praising 2019 honoree and former Boyd County basketball star Steve Towler

24. “I might be a little too old for that.” — Tim Champlin, East Carter football coach, on jumping in celebration during the Raiders’ 47-12 win over Magoffin County on Aug. 17

23. “To heck with it that it’s a fifth-place game. It’s Boyd County-Ashland in the AIT on a Saturday, baby. You only live once. You’re going to remember that when you’re 80.” — Jason Mays, Ashland boys basketball coach, on an impending Ashland Invitational Tournament fifth-place game against Boyd County

22. “I called and ordered four pizzas. I called about 15 minutes later and added two more on to it because I know teenage boys are gonna eat like horses. About 7:30 on Saturday morning we’re all in our dugout just having pizza for breakfast.” — Frank Conley, Boyd County baseball coach, on the Lions’ pregame meal before 3-0 win over Lewis County in 16th Region Tournament quarterfinals on May 25

21. “One of the keys to this season is don’t let the middle school buses be delayed.” — Greg Logan, Greenup County baseball coach, on Musketeers’ youthful roster

20. “You just tell them, you have to play every point, and the better you play, the sooner we’ll go home.” — Tiffany Perry, Russell volleyball coach, after the Lady Devils beat East Carter 3-0 on Aug. 30

19. “I said, ‘What are you trying to do, ice me? I’m not the opposing team’s kicker. This isn’t the NFL.’” — Blake Stewart, Boyd County junior, on Lions coach Randy Anderson taking a timeout before Stewart shot free throws with 2.1 seconds remaining in Boyd County’s 66-60 win over Russell on Dec. 18

18. “I tell him all the time to get off that offensive stuff and play defense. That’s where the daggone money’s made. I tell him to get off that daggone glory side and get over there to the blood-and-guts side.” — Paintsville football coach Joe Chirico, on since-departed Tigers receiver Josh McClurg

17. “I feel like somebody’s grandma. Everybody that comes over wants to eat.” — John Caudill, Lawrence County assistant football coach, on his cooking prowess

16. “He’s about a biscuit away from 100 pounds.” — Logan Price, Boyd County boys soccer coach, on Lions freshman Rylan Keelin

15. “Allergies.” — David Greene, former Ashland baseball coach, on getting emotional during Senior Night ceremonies before the Tomcats’ 11-10 win over Russell on May 9

14. “I didn’t want to get this team in a situation where they were in a forest and a tree would fall on us and kill us.” — Shawn Thacker, Rowan County boys basketball coach, on scheduling for what he thought would be a young and inexperienced 2018-19 Vikings team

13. “I’m an idiot.” — Darrin Rice, Johnson Central girls basketball coach, on building a rigorous schedule

12. “It turned into another wiffleball game. I’ve got to start eating dinner before these.” — Scott Ingram, Ashland softball coach, on the Kittens’ 20-11 loss to Raceland on March 18, one in a series of long, high-scoring early-season games between the two teams

11. “As a coach, I hated to see him make the play, but as a human being, I think he saved three of our fans sitting over there, so can’t complain too bad.” — David Greene, former Ashland baseball coach, on Rowan County’s AJ Hacker’s catch at the fence in foul territory during the Vikings’ 12-2 win over the Tomcats in the 16th Region Tournament final on May 28

10. “I don’t have no more comment, just aggravation.” — Russell softball coach Terry Callihan after he didn’t like the game-ending call in the Lady Devils’ 9-6 loss to Lewis County on April 30

9. “Our guys are sitting here trying to hit frickin’ moon rockets. It doesn’t work that way. That's not high school baseball.” — Travis Feltner, Lawrence County baseball coach, on the Bulldogs’ plate approach in a 7-6 loss to Ashland on April 8

8. “They were trying to do too much too soon. It’s kinda like having a sandwich and eating it in one bite. You’re stuffing it into your mouth, it falls out, you look funny, you look terrible, and you probably don’t get to eat all the sandwich. Now, if you take a few bites and chew them up, it’s OK.” — E.B. Lowman, former Ashland girls soccer coach, on the LadyCats’ 4-1 win over Boyd County on Aug. 28

7. “There’s probably only a couple people’s gonna hit that, and God’s one of them. It’s not anybody from Greenup County.” — Greg Logan, Greenup County baseball coach, on Lewis County senior Seth Wright’s curveball after the Musketeers’ 5-1 loss to the Lions on April 16

6. “The baseball gods must have looked down and said, ‘Listen, moron, put the guy in the lineup.’” — Jeremiah Shearer, East Carter baseball coach, after Raiders sophomore Ethan Tiller, a late addition to the lineup, hit two homers in the Raiders’ 9-3 win over West Carter on April 15

5. “Thank God the Wiremans reproduced and fulfilled their biblical duty.” — Greg Logan, Greenup County baseball coach, on Musketeers eighth-grader Carson Wireman becoming the third Wireman brother to play baseball for Greenup County

4. “Really, what I say to them is redundant anyway. They know when they make mistakes, they know what’s wrong, they know how to fix it, so really I’m just kinda there as a parrot.” — Katee Neltner, Boyd County volleyball coach, after the Lady Lions’ 3-2 win over Fairview 3-2 on Sept. 4

3. “I’ll take the second-place trophy as opposed to a cardiac arrest.” — Mark Kachler, Mason County track and field coach, after meet official Tim King suggested a coaches’ relay to break a 152-all tie with Ashland in the Class 2A, Region 6 girls championship on May 18

2. “I would give you the scripture (reference), I can’t think of it off the top of my head, but ‘a dog returneth to his vomit.’ They’re going right back to what they knew was not working.” — Travis Feltner, Lawrence County baseball coach, on the KHSAA returning to a semi-state format for its baseball and softball postseasons

1. “We just tend to find each other, kinda like two pigs in the mud wallering around.” — Shawn Thacker, Rowan County boys basketball coach, on West Carter coach Jeremy Webb, after the Vikings drew the Comets in the 16th Region Tournament to set up their fifth meeting in the region tournament in 11 years