Logan County High School announced that it would be turning to an alumnus and current member of the boys’ basketball staff for the head coaching position recently vacated by the resignation of Harold Tackett.
Lonnie Mason, who has served as an assistant coach for the past six seasons, was named the school’s next boys’ basketball coach at a press conference on Thursday afternoon.
During his six seasons as an assistant, Mason spent the past four under Tackett, which included a regular-season district championship and a trip to the Fourth Region Tournament this past year.
“I am extremely excited, this is a dream come true,” Mason said. “I played at Logan County and have lived here my whole life - I couldn’t ask for a better situation.”
Mason said that even though the team lost a lot - including four starters - to graduation, he thinks they will still be a good, competitive team next year.
“We did lose a lot,” he said. “It’s hard to replace the type of talent, but we’ve got some strong leadership back. We’ll have a lot of guys that are inexperienced on the varsity level, but they are a hard-working group. We’ll probably take our lumps, but if we play team defense and work together as a team, we’ll do okay.”
Mason worked under four different head coaches in his six seasons as an assistant, but the last four were all under Tackett.
“It’s been wonderful, coaching the last four years under coach Tackett,” Mason said. “He has helped me tremendously. I learned a lot from him as far as handling the pressure of a big game, to dealing with the kids on a day-to-day basis.”
In addition to working with the basketball team, Mason has also been involved as an assistant coach in the LCHS football program.
Mason grew up in Adairville and is a 1994 graduate of LCHS. During his high school career he was a member of the LCHS football team for year year, basketball for four years and track for four years. He was a member of the 1993 Fourth Region runner up basketball team. He continued his involvement in athletics at the collegiate level by running track for Western Kentucky University for 4 years.
Jaynes said that 30 people applied for our the coaching position, from various levels of experience and six different states.
“The levels of experience ranged from assistant NCAA Division 1 coaches to current middle school coaches,” Jaynes said. “We approached this position like we would any other position in the county with applicants having to go through our central office personnel screening process. If the applicant did not pass the screening process, they were not considered for the review process by the committee. Mr. (Marshall) Kemp believes that all of our coaches should also be good teachers. This puts into perspective of the importance of teaching. All of our coaches also have to be able to work with all students, not just basketball players. This process brought us down to 17 qualified applicants.”
Those 17 applicants were eventually whittled down to six candidates who were interviewed, then three finalists - from which Mason was selected.
“This decision was a very long and arduous process,” Jaynes said. “I believe that the committee worked well together, brought up valid points as to what was the best for Cougar basketball and again I want to thank them for their efforts in this process.”
Jaynes said that athletics is an important part of any high school and community in Kentucky.
“I don’t think that anyone would dispute that point. Athletics promotes a sense of school pride,” he said. “Athletics provides a means of community for many individuals and teaches many life lessons along the way. Students who are involved in some form or extracurricular activity are 85 percent more likely to graduate high school and have a successful transition to adult life. I have often said that I would not be where I am today without two of my coaches in high school, Kevin Gaugler and Harry Miller, who invested their time and efforts in my development as an athlete, but also as a student and a person.
“But we must remember that these are student-athletes. Student comes first for a reason. At some point their athletic career ends. Some careers end at high school, hopefully many at college and for two of our former students at the professional level. Soon enough our children will have to rely on their education for their career. We must remember that as we develop our children into student-athletes that decisions about their future should be based on education first and athletics second.”
We will need everyone to support all of our programs, but especially basketball. It is a great time to continue to develop the tradition and success that our students deserve and our community desires. This will take a lot of time, hard-work and dedication on our part, but anything worth obtaining takes all of these qualities.
Mason is married to the former Shatoya Bailey of Russellville and they have a daughter Taleia who will be a freshman at LCHS this year.