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COLUMN: 'I am glad he's my coach'

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Drury's 400th win special to his players

By John Herndon

Jacob Russell has been in Anderson County's starting lineup almost his entire four years as a Bearcat, so he knows that his coach, Glen Drury, is quick to deflect accolades heading his way.

Such was the case Friday night after the Bearcats had dispatched of Woodford County. To those of us who follow statistics and records, it was the 400th time that Drury had emerged victorious as a high school basketball coach. To others, it was his 14th win in 18 games this season.

To Drury, it was simply a reflection of those who have been around him the last 24 years.

“I went up to congratulate him about it,” Russell said. “He gave the credit to his players.”

We might have known.

There was no fanfare following the game. Just Anderson athletic director Rick Sallee trying to get to public address announcer Ed McKee so the information could be passed on to the crowd as it filed out.

“It is a tribute to the players,” Drury said later, “and longevity.”

But that in itself is why Drury's milestone win, over a major rival at that, really is a big deal. Teenagers of 2010 are much different than 1986, as different as Wii is from Super Mario Brothers.

Then it was baskeball shorts that were, ah, short. Today? Let's just say there is a lot more fabric in use now.

Like fashion, Drury has learned to adapt to the times.

But the core is still the same.

Just as Drury asked the local media to focus on his players back at Western Anderson High School, the spotlight this year has shone on the court, not the victory count.

“He never mentioned it,” senior guard Allen Warford said of the 400 milestone. “I think just before the season, Troy (Young) said something about it, but Coach Drury never mentioned it.”

Junior Erik Newton was also surprised when the story ran on these pages that Drury could hit 400 that weekend. The weather did not cooperate, but junior guard Erik Newton was surprised that he had the opportunity to be part of local history.

“I didn't know anything about it,” he said, noting that his first inkling was the newspaper article. “He's never talked about it.”

It is not that Drury is not a talker. Much to the contrary. Get him away from the court and in a light-hearted situation, he can be as gregarious as anyone.

And on the practice court, the key words are hard work and fun.

“No doubt, he has gotten (400 wins) because of  hard work,” Russell said.

“Every day in practice, he jokes around with us,” Newton said, “but then you have to be serious too. You have to compete in practice. He expects more from us.”

Drury however, insists it is about the young men wearing baggy shorts.

But those young men believe the man on the sidelines has played a major role too.

Said Warford, “He has made me a better ball player. And a better person.

“I am glad he is my coach.”

E-mail John Herndon at jpherndon@theandersonnews.com.