The first class of inductees into the new Nelson County High School Athletics Hall of Fame will be honored on Friday, Sept. 11 at Cardinal Stadium during half-time of the Bardstown-NCHS game.
Inductees represent at least 10 sports, five exceptional individual athletes, one exceptional team and four outstanding coaches and athletic directors, while spanning the entire 46-year history of NCHS sports and beyond.
Honorees include Ernest Ruby, Mike Lusk, Virgil Livers, Minor Harmon, Megan Newcome, Crystal Mattingly Denton, OP McCubbins, Samantha Drake and Bill Broaddus. (See photo gallery at the bottom of the page.)
In 1969, Ernest Ruby, a Navy veteran of World War II, was named the first head boys’ basketball coach at the newly formed Nelson County Senior High School. He had first served in that role for 20 years at Bloomfield High School.
Ruby retired from coaching in 1976 but continued to serve as athletic director, a position he had assumed in 1974. He served as AD until he retired in 1986. His teams won a combined total of 413 games at the two schools. His accomplishments include a 1962 Fifth Region Boys’ Basketball championship and a trip to the Kentucky Sweet Sixteen.
Coach Ruby was inducted in 2008 into the Kentucky Association of Basketball Coaches’ Court of Honor and is a member of the Fifth Region Athletic Directors’ Hall of Fame. Coach Ruby’s success, both on and off the court, influenced the lives of many students in the Nelson County School System.
Another former coach, Mike Lusk made his mark during a teaching and highly successful coaching career that spanned 28 years and five sports, including roles that served both girls and boys at Nelson County High School.
He coached football, girls’ and boys’ basketball, baseball and softball. As a head coach in softball, his teams earned 300 wins, two regional championships and 12 district titles (11 consecutive). Lusk passed away on Jan. 1, 2003. Later that year, the softball field at NCHS was named Mike Lusk Softball Field in a tribute to the man who firmly established a winning softball tradition at NCHS.
Virgil Livers, an individual honoree active in that same early period of NCHS athletic history, saw his greatest success after high school as a storied football player at Western Kentucky University (1971-74) who went on to become a mainstay in the defensive backfield for the NFL’s Chicago Bears.
The Hilltoppers retired Livers’ jersey in 2001. A native of Fairfield, Livers started his football career as a walk-on, developed into an All-America athlete and went on to an eight-year career in professional football.
While at Western, Livers was a key member on teams that won 34 of 43 games and two Ohio Valley Conference championships. He also was a member of the ’73 team that earned runner-up status in the first NCAA national championship playoffs.
In addition to his football heroics, Livers was a standout sprinter for Western and a basketball cheerleader.
With the ’70s era already well-represented by the likes of Livers, Lusk and Ruby, basketball coach Minor Harmon helped span the ages while doing for NCHS basketball what Lusk did for the softball program.
After nearly three decades of prowling the sidelines for both the girls’ and boys’ basketball teams, Coach Harmon established himself as the face of NCHS basketball while compiling 461 wins and numerous region and district titles.
Harmon coached the girls’ basketball team from 1981-1990, winning four Fifth Region crowns and six 19th District titles, rolling up a 168-87 record during that time. He went on to run the boys’ varsity program throughout the ‘90’s, compiling a 293-221 record, 10 district titles and two regional runners-up finishes.
In 2005, Coach Harmon was inducted into the Fifth Region Athletic Directors’ Hall of Fame and the Kentucky Association of Basketball Coaches’ Court of Honor.
Megan Beth Newcome
Megan Beth Newcome earned her NCHS stripes as a track and cross-country runner from 1990-1993. After setting records and state championships in 1992 and ’93 (800M both years, and 1,500 in ’93), Newcome went on to become the number one Rebel runner on the University of Mississippi cross-country team in 1993 before transferring to the University of Florida.
While there, she was a member of UF’s “Triple Crown” team that won all three Women’s Southeastern Conference championships in cross-country and indoor and outdoor track in a single season. In 1998 she was voted Most Inspirational (SEC) Track Athlete.
Crystal Mattingly Denton
Another top female performer for NCHS, Crystal Mattingly Denton was a two-sport athlete (soccer, basketball) who managed to earn high honors and letter all four years in both sports.
In soccer, Denton was a member of the school’s first soccer team and was named on the All-District and All-Region teams all four of her high school years. During that time, the team earned four district crowns and a region crown and was a state quarter-finalist in 1996. She was named team Most Valuable Player 1996-99.
Denton was named second team All-State Team her freshman year and first team All-State for each of the three years following. She was a walk-on for the University of Kentucky soccer team as a freshman and earned a scholarship after the first season.
Denton earned similar honors in basketball, leading that team to the district championship in 1997, earning the most steals award her junior and senior years, the 110-Percent award her sophomore and junior years and earning a spot on the All-District and All-Region teams her senior year.
1996 State Championship Football Team
Rounding out the ‘90s is the 1996 state championship football team, led by head coach Mark Brown. All 59 players, along with coaches and all others listed on the roster are included as part of this award. Click this link to see the roster.
OP McCubbins, a 2006 NCHS grad, earned his place in the Hall of Fame with his accomplishments on the wrestling mat.
McCubbins was a key figure in helping Coach Jason Detre establish a wrestling program at NCHS. McCubbins was a star in the school’s first season of varsity wrestling and became the first state placer for the Nelson County wrestling program. He was a top-10 state finisher in the heavyweight division.
McCubbins went on to attend Murray State University where he was a three-sport athlete as a full-time student while beginning to establish himself as a wrestling coach. As a club wrestler for the university, McCubbins earned four Kentucky-USA state titles and travelled to wrestle in open tournaments against Division I and III opponents.
After college, as a wrestling coach at Campbell County High School, McCubbins helped the team win back-to-back regional titles and the 2012 KHSAA State Wrestling Championship.
Samantha Drake, a 2010 NCHS graduate, achieved record-breaking stats as a member of the girls’ basketball team.
During her NCHS career, she scored over 3,068 points during five seasons of play, becoming the all-time points leader for both the girls’ and boys’ teams. She also managed 1,381 career rebounds and holds the record for most rebounds in a single game. She also became the school’s all-time shot block leader and recorded 48 double-doubles in her high school career.
The final member of this illustrious group is Bill Broaddus, the school’s current athletic director, and architect of the school’s leap into the world of artificial turf along with extended seasons of accomplishment enjoyed by several sports under his wing.
Broaddus has led during a time marked by tremendous success in multiple arenas.
During his time at the helm, the softball team earned 20 district titles in a row (1991-2010). Boys’ basketball won six district titles in a row (’99-’04). Girls’ basketball won 11 of 12 district titles, with seven in a row. The football team won district and regional championships in 1997 and ’98, after winning the state championship in 1996, the year before Broaddus began his tenure as AD.
Also during the Broaddus tenure, NCHS has enjoyed the performances of two wrestling champions in the same year and had a regional swimming champion. Track and cross-country also enjoyed statewide success with a discus title while moving to a more competitive region. Volleyball has seen steady improvement along with the boys’ and girls’ soccer programs, with 10 district titles for the girls.
In addition to helping to shepherd the work of the many outstanding athletes who have helped make the difference at NCHS during his tenure, Broaddus oversaw and worked to make possible the installation of the artificial turf field for football and soccer. The field is surrounded by a brand new resurfaced track. The field and facilities are in use almost every day by someone – outside groups, football and soccer teams, the band and physical education classes to name just a few.
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