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By LARRY VAUGHT
Sometimes it just takes a bit of time for someone to have the right opportunity to say thanks to someone for what they did.
For Danville’s Eugene B. Pflughaupt that came when he read a recent story I did about Shelby County native and former Kentucky basketball standout Charles Hurt starting his basketball coaching career as an assistant at Shelby County — and taking no pay for doing it because he’s retired from the military and receives a pension.
Here’s a copy of a letter I got from Pflughaupt that he sent to Hurt that I thought you would enjoy:
“First, I want to thank you for volunteering to help in the athletic program at Shelby County High School. My wife, Margery, and I have been strong believers in paying back and the kind of payback that you are making is of the highest order.
“But I have a second reason for writing to you personally. In the fall of 1971, I ran for and was elected to the Shelbyville School Board. I remember that at an early meeting in 1972, Superintendent Potter told us that the most outstanding young player he had ever seen would been performing for Shelbyville and there were two brothers playing with him that were almost as good as he was (Vince and Dean Chambers).
“In the course of events, Bob Pierce, Marty Hickman and myself caused the merger of the two systems in the county and hired coach (Tom) Creamer to watch over you. There were of course many in the community that thought the merger was a mistake. About that time my employment took me to Minnesota, so I missed much of this comment.
“When I returned to Kentucky, I heard no backbiting about the merger, only praise. I have always attributed this quick approval to your efforts in winning the state championship four years later in 1978 (for Shelby County). I have always thought that Shelby County owed you a great ‘thank you’ for that and I am pleased that I can write to you for giving back to the community.
“And personally, as I found a new career in Kentucky at a later stage of my working life, I hope you also find one after your military service.”
It’s amazing the role sports can play in so many things, including the merger of two school systems. It’s also amazing that Pflughaupt still felt so strongly about this 41 years later that he took time to write Hurt and share these feelings. Knowing Hurt as I do, I’m sure he will feel Pflughauupt is embellishing, but he’s probably not.
And I am guessing many more in Shelby County would feel the same way about Hurt and wish him the same kind of success in his new career as Pflughaupt is.