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A PLACE AMONG THE BEST

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By John Herndon

Wayne King still remembers the first time he ever saw Glen Drury.

There was nothing to suggest he would someday become a hall-of-fame coach.

“I didn’t even think he would be a good player,” King says with a laugh. “I had just gotten to Anderson County and we were able to open the gym for the returning players for a week or so.

“Glen showed up. He was short and scrawny and didn’t have his hand behind the ball when he shot it. He wasn’t even supposed to be there, because I think he had just finished the eighth grade.”

King, now retired from the school system and working as an assistant coach with the girls’ basketball team, paused. The traits that have pushed Drury to the top of his chosen profession actually were showing in that summer of 1973.

“He wasn’t supposed to be there, but he was always the first one to the gym and the last one to leave,” King said. “I didn’t have the heart to tell him he could not come.”

It probably would not have mattered. That short, scrawny kid has repeatedly proven the doubters wrong through his playing career at Anderson County High School and Berea College.

And now, his peers are honoring him as one of the best in the business.

At the Sweet 16 on Friday afternoon, Glen Drury will be inducted into the Kentucky Association of Basketball Coaches Court of Honor.

According to the association’s website, some of the criteria for the award are that the recipient “must have made a certifiable impact or contribution to the game of basketball at the high school level in Kentucky” and “must have displayed good moral and ethical conduct during career.”

For Drury, it is a great honor, but the sweetest part of the award is that it will come when his Anderson County Bearcats are at the Sweet 16.

“I would trade being there for this award,” Drury said. “A trip to the state tournament is a lot bigger than I am.”

Drury’s wife, Jennifer, said that Drury learned he had been nominated for the award in January. “He got a call from Jack Upchurch saying he had been nominated,” she recalled. Upchurch, who led the Bearcats to the 1971 state championship game, is also a Court of Honor member.

“We still don’t know who nominated him,” Jennifer Drury says. “What surprised us was that this is an award that most of them are retired or not coaching anymore.”

A few of the active coaches who have been named to the Court of Honor include Pleasure Ridge Park’s Dale Mabrey and Hazard’s Al Holland.

The list of retired coaches who have been inducted to the court reads like a Who’s Who of Kentucky basketball. It includes former Kavanaugh and Maysville coach Earle Jones, Kavanaugh grad and former Lafayette coach Ralph Carlisle, S.T. Roach, Evan Settle, William Kean, Gene Rhodes and Bobby Keith.

“This is a great honor,” Glen Drury said. “It is a credit to the people you learn from, to the players that have played for you, the administration and you have to have a great support staff. I have been blessed with that here at Anderson County.

“This award goes to all of us. It goes to the school and the community.”

Over the years, Anderson County has become known for sustained excellence on and off the court.

“Glen’s teams always play hard. They always play as a team. They are not always great, but they always compete to their greatest ability. I think this is the goal of every coach and Glen has accomplished it,” says longtime Gallatin County coach Jon Jones.

“The one thing that I have always admired about Coach Drury is his intensity and desire to be successful. He has always demanded that his players play hard,” adds Grant County’s Ron Kinmon.

While Drury is intense on the sidelines, he has changed dramatically from when he started coaching at Western High School. As a young coach, Drury often got slapped with technical fouls, but now approaching 50, he has not received a “T” for years.

“I learned that my emotions have to be in check if I am going to put the team in the best position to be successful,” Drury says.

“He just does things the right way,” first-year Eminence coach Chris Nethery said earlier this year.

“There is no secret to Coach Drury’s success. He is one of the hardest working coaches in the state,” adds South Oldham’s Steve Simpson.

While Drury appreciates the accolades and is humbled when his peers refer to him as a model for other coaches, he gives the credit to the kids. They are the ones that hit free throws and grab rebounds.

And they are the ones that have made him victorious 386 times.

“You try to do what is right and do what is right for the kids,” Drury says.

His wife says that basketball has been their life.

“I tell him to do whatever he has to do, whether it is practice, scouting, watching film or whatever he needs to do. Now that he is older, he has learned how to pace himself better.”

Drury loves winning and hates to lose, but he genuinely seems as proud of when people compliment his team – and there have been many – for their behavior both on and off the court.

“We try to have a positive impact on young people,” he says.

Looking people in the eye, giving a firm handshake and watching one’s behavior off the court is as much a part of the Drury system as the stifling man-to-man defense and playing as a team.

“Any team is a reflection of the leadership and ours is no exception,” says Anderson County principal Ray Woodyard. “When our team wins it is because they play as a team and Glen teaches the concept of team , I believe he is the best I have seen when it comes to creating team.”

That might be why his current team has posted the best record in his 22 years at Anderson. He has a high school star in C.J. Penny and some other good players but he’s had other teams that might have been more talented.

“The players are your voice,” Drury said in 2004.

But that voice needs direction, a direction that will be honored Friday afternoon in Rupp Arena.

King’s first impression was that of a small, scrawny kid.

The impression has changed dramatically. “He is a great high school basketball coach.”

Penny agrees, “You couldn’t ask for one better.”

Drury has changed little since his coaching at Western High

'He expected you to play hard and work hard. He expected you to play the best you could.”

It was fitting that state representative Kent Stevens presented Kentucky Colonel designations to every member of the Anderson County boys' basketball team at a school pep rally Monday afternoon. Back in 1985, Stevens, then principal at Western High School, tabbed the young Anderson County assistant coach as the man to replace the retired Paul Watts.

Drury was only at Western two years before coming back up Highway 62, but his legacy is strong.

“He was a great coach and taught me a lot on and off the court,” remembers Greg Boblitt, now a deputy in the Anderson County sheriff's office.

A sophomore at Western High when Drury took the helm, Boblitt learned about basketball and life.

“He taught us the fundamentals of the game and he expected a lot out of his players,” Boblitt said last week. “He expected you to play hard and work hard. He expected you to play the best you could.”

But Boblitt says that even in those first years, Drury showed the traits that led to his selection in the KABC Court of Honor.

“He wanted you to be responsible,” Boblitt said. “If you had trouble at school, you were going to have trouble at practice. He told us to look people in the eye and shake their hands.”

But Boblitt says there was always another side to Drury. “He would do anything for you. He's always been positive.”

Boblitt says Drury hasn't changed much since those days at Western. “He's mellowed some,” Boblitt said with a laugh.

But Boblitt says that Drury's message of responsibility has stayed the same. “His players are role models for our DARE program,” he said. “They are just really good kids.”

Boblitt says he will be in Rupp Arena Thursday night cheering the Bearcats and his former coach. The next day, that former coach will take his place along side the greats of Kentucky basketball history.

“He has been there,” Boblitt said. “He deserves it.”

Glen Drury's coaching record

At Western Anderson

Year • Record

1985-86 • 3-18

1986-87 • 5-16

Total 8-34 (19.0%)

At Anderson County

1987-88 • 16-12

1988-89 • 16-12

1989-90 • 11-12

1990-91 • 22-7

1991-92 • 21-8

1992-93 • 17-9

1993-94 • 20-8

1994-95 • 22-10

1995-96 • 11-12

1996-97 • 22-6

1997-98 • 12-11

1998-99 • 16-11

1999-2000 • 16-9

2000-01 • 13-15

2001-02 • 15-12

2002-03 • 19-9

2003-04 • 19-8

2004-05 • 12-15

2005-06 • 13-12

2006-07 • 21-7

2007-08 • 20-6

2008-09 • 24-5

Total 378-216 (63.6%)

Overall 386-250 (60.1%)

30th District championships

1991, 2003, 2007, 2009

Eighth Region championships

1997, 2009

Kentucky Athletic Directors Coach of the Year

1997

Kentucky Association of Basketball Coaches

Eighth Region Coach of the Year

1997, 2000, 2003, 2007, 2009

What they say about Glen Drury's induction into the Kentucky Association of Basketball Coaches Court of Honor

Glen's practice and example of giving a 100% at all time carries over in the life habits for these young men and the work ethic he fosters with his team will yield positive benefits for these young men throughout their lifetime.

--Ray Woodyard, Anderson County High School principal.

First of all great honor for Glen. He has grown as a coach because he seems to have ‘loosened up’ with the kids. We all have to change, and Glen has adjusted. Plus he’s a great role model for his kids. That is probably a coach's main role in life – prepare kids for the real world. Hard work and perserverance will make you successful in life seems to be the lesson that Glen teaches very well.

--Gary Forrest, head boys' basketball coach, Oldham County High School

It could not happen to a more deserving guy. I have always been impressed with Coach Drury and how he conducts himself. Over the years since I have called him for the Cats Pause or interviewed him after games, win lose or draw he has always been a gentleman and has always gone out of his way to make sure I get what I need.

The one thing that really sticks out for me is just his consistency. His teams are always so well prepared. You can tell they stress fundamentals and they always play great defense and rebound, they do the basics well and I think that is why they win games.

Coach Drury is just a class guy who represents his school well and the coaching profession as a whole. He is old school in that he is always on the up and up. He takes the kids who live in Anderson County and makes them the best players they can be, you never expect any of the shenanigans you might see at others schools where the players come and go at will.

--Mickey Patterson, sports editor, The Oldham Era

Coach Drury is successful because his kids love him dearly and will make whatever sacrifice he asks them to make. Glen is sincere in all of his actions. His players know they can trust him as he is 100% about his players. You never hear Glen talk about Glen. He only tells you about his great kids he has at Anderson County. Who wouldn't want to play for him? I would!!

You will also never hear Glen talk bad about another school or coach. He handles his business in a positive manner. He is a role model for me and most coaches in the Eighth region. A class act.

--Jon Jones, head boys' basketball coach, Gallatin County High School

Glen has touched the lives of everyone that has played for him. He is truly a role model which is much needed in this day. He knows how to motivate kids. He has shown loyalty to his school and community and has been successful doing things the right way. Glen and I go back to his days at Western Anderson and my days at Bullitt Central and Eminence. He is one of the most respected coaches in the state and is well deserving of this honor.

--Randy Mefford, head girls' basketball coach and athletic director, Carroll County High School.

The one thing that I have noticed is that while he demands maximum effort and intensity, he still can show compassion for his players while he stays intense and pushes them to be successful.

I think the thing that makes him successful is that he understands his players ability levels and adjust his team each year to the strength of that years players. However, the one thing that has always been constant is that his team will always play good half-court man-to-man defense!

Coach Drury has always understood what his role is: A leader of the youth of today. He has accepted the responsibility to teach young boys how to become good men while getting to teach them basketball. He has also been a leader in the coaching profession. He has always been good to me and helped me when I had questions. He has truly touched the lives of those around him. That is what makes him a hall of famer!

--Ron Kinmon, head basketball coach, Grant County High School

Coach Drury is a class act. He treats this profession with respect. He also treats others in the field with respect.

--Steve Simpson, head boys' basketball coach, South Oldham High School

Coach Drury deserves every award he gets. He is hard-working, honest, loyal, and loving to his players, coaches, and anyone else involved with Anderson County Basketball. I think when he took over Anderson County, we had fallen on hard times and now year in and year out its one of the

fixtures at the Eighth Region tournament. He is a great basketball coach, but he is a better man. If his players do what he preaches and take some of his daily habits they will learn more than they ever know.

--Bryan Hyatt, assistant basketball coach, Anderson County High School

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