Boyle County coach Greg Edwards announces retirement

Published 5:00 am Tuesday, April 9, 2019

A lifetime of basketball started a new chapter on Monday.

Boyle County girls basketball head coach Greg Edwards announced his retirement Monday, finishing a 36-year Hall of Fame coaching career.

“You just kind of evaluate every day, really,” Edwards said. “Last year I thought about it, but I had five, six seniors so I thought I’d come back and finish with them, play it out and see how it goes. At this point, I just think it’s the right time. I’ve had coaches in the past tell me, ‘well you’ll know.’ For years, I was fired up about the summer, getting ready for the next season. It just felt different this year, just felt like it was time.”

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Edwards’ wife Nancy is retiring this year as well, and he said they’re looking forward to spending that time together.

Retirement is just another page turned in the book of basketball in Edwards’ life: He got his start with basketball as soon as he could pick one up and as soon as he stopped playing, he started coaching.

“I don’t think I could pick a better profession and I certainly don’t think I would do anything different, 36 years have been awesome,” he said.

In that time, Edwards has won a state AAU championship (1987), a 12th Region championship (1996), regional All-A titles, seven district championships and multiple coach of the year awards.

Of course, that success starts with his players.

“All of the kids I’ve been around, being around those young people kind of makes you feel young in a lot of ways,” he said. “I probably learned as much from most of them that they learned from me. I’ve had a lot of good players, guys and young women. I could name them but it’d go on for days, all the different players I’ve been fortunate to be a part of their careers.”

It was also some great coaches that have helped shape Edwards’ career: He started under Tony Cox at Mercer County, then helped Donnie Harville at Lafayette, a Jock Southerland disciple. He coached with Ronnie Bottoms and Steve Adams at Boyle County before accepting the girls head coaching position.

“Going back and just thinking about all the knowledge I’ve been able to pull from those guys, then all the assistant coaches I’ve been able to work with,” he said. “As a head coach you’re only as good as your assistants. That’s one thing, I always had great people I worked with. They’ve all had just a great amount of knowledge about the game. That’s one of the things I’m going to miss, just the camaraderie with all the coaches.”

Coaches in the 12th Region were also some of the best, Edwards said.

“Being in the 12th Region most of the time, I’ve had the chance to work against a lot of good coaches,” he said. “Rodney Woods, Steve Wright, Judie Mason, then I coached with Chris Souder together in three spots. Just a lot of really good people that I’ve had a chance to work with. I’ve had great people I’ve worked for, too, at all the schools I’ve been at. It has just been a lot of really good memories.”

There’s too many names for Edwards to count — coach Barry Welthy at Harrodsburg was another influence, as was Edwards’ coach in high school, Morris Stewart.

“I feel blessed, too, I got to accomplish everything I wanted to do,” Edwards said. “I won a state championship in AAU, won the 12th Region tournament, two class A tournaments, lots of districts. I got the chance to be put in the hall of fame 2009, coach of the area two or three times. If I wrote down everything I wanted to accomplish in a career, I think I’ve achieved most of those.”

The Rebels finished this season 8-16, and Edwards will leave Boyle with a 144-119 record. The program graduates four seniors from last year’s team but will return a wealth of experience and talented players for next season.

“That’s the thing, they’ll have three, four starters back next year plus a lot of players on the bench who have played a lot of minutes. The middle school, coach (David) Christopher and coach (Scott) Bugg and Hayley (Hellyer) have all done a great job down there. That’s going in the right direction, there’s a lot of kids who have gotten involved with the program.”

Edwards vouched for Hellyer, who graduated from Boyle in 2009 and is third in all-time scoring at Boyle, as his replacement.

“When Elmer Thomas asked me to take the girls job (in 2010), the one thing I thought was to give the program some longevity, give them a chance to get on their feet and turned around. For the most part, I think that’s happened. I just think the sky is the limit for the program, and I’m going to be a big fan.”

Basketball’s in Edwards’ blood. As he turns the page on coaching, he’s excited to watch more basketball — possibly making the trip to Utah State to watch former player Emmie Harris.

“Nancy and I, we talked about that last year getting out there to see Emmie play,” he said. “Then I’ve got some more Louisville games to get to, I got to see a lot of the women’s games this year. Hopefully catch more of them and then just see what is in store.”