By LARRY VAUGHT
Since leaving The Advocate-Messenger at the end of December after spending 41 years working there, I’ve had few regrets.
I love getting a chance now to write for LEX18.com four times per week and also getting to write a syndicated statewide column for 30 newspapers. I also have had a chance to write for the Centre College website and share stories about some amazing student-athletes.
Then there has been expanded radio work thanks to WPBK-FM and its sister stations. That has been so much fun and starting next month I’ll be doing a weekly show from Mallard’s on UK football and more each Thursday night.
However, I do now have a huge regret about not being at the newspaper any more. This would have been the 20th year for the Bill Vaught Memorial Coach of the Year award. It was started in 1997 in honor of my father after his passing. He devoted his life to working at the newspaper and this was a way to honor him.
The first winner was Alvis Johnson of Harrodsburg. Apparently the final winners were Steve Adams of Boyle County and Marvetta Overstreet of Casey County. In between, there were so many deserving winners who had devoted their careers to high school sports and a big part of the award was also the character the coach displayed.
Maybe it’s because there’s almost no one left at the newspaper who even knew my father. Maybe no one thought recognizing a coach for his or her special accomplishments was worth the trouble. I have other guesses, but out of respect for my father I will keep those to myself.
So today I am picking my own Bill Vaught Memorial Coach of the Year. It goes to Boyle County track and field coach Brent Wagner.
He guided Boyle to its first Class AA girls state track championship this year. He’s kept the program strong year after year and done it the right way. He reaches out to athletes who also play other sports — maybe because he’s also an assistant soccer coach — and has a great rapport with his team members.
Wagner deeply cares for his athletes and has from the day he started coaching, something my father would appreciate more than the state title.
But in my opinion, the 20th annual Bill Vaught Memorial Coach of the Year is Brent Wagner.