HAZARD – A familiar name to high school basketball fans in Perry County will take the reins of the Perry Central boys’ program as Kevin Spurlock accepted the head coach’s position this week.
Spurlock will begin working at the school on September 4, and will make the move from Sheldon Clark High School in Martin County, where last season he coached the Cardinals to a 26-7 record and a district championship, eventually losing to an athletic East Ridge squad in the 15th Region finals.
Spurlock, a Floyd County native, made a name for himself in coaching circles when he took over the Hazard Bulldogs’ program in 2002, going 19-10 in his first season. Three seasons later, he would coach the Bulldogs to a district championship and an appearance in the Sweet 16 at Rupp Arena.
He moved to the 13th Region in 2006, where he became head coach at the storied Clay County High School, and where he would win four straight district titles before moving on to Sheldon Clark in 2010. He captured two more district crowns for the Cardinals, but has yet to win another region title since 2006.
During an interview with the Herald on Thursday, Spurlock said he is looking forward to beginning what he described as “the best job in Eastern Kentucky.”
“The enticing thing about the job, the lure of the job, is the fact that Perry Central year in and year out, just despite how many kids they graduate, they’re always a regional contender,” Spurlock said. “They’re always going to be in the mix.”
Perry Central lost several players from last season’s team to graduation, including Jaysean Paige and Kyle Huff, but Spurlock will still inherit a talented squad with freshman Braxton Beverly in the backcourt and senior Dalton Cornett anchoring the team on the blocks.
And returning to coach in the 14th Region is also an exciting prospect, he added.
“I’m coming here with the intentions of winning the region,” he said. “That’s what they expect, and I’m excited about coming back to the 14th Region. I would say that the best coaching experience that I’ve had happened in the 14th Region. I think it’s a very unique region. They still rotate the regional tournament, the districts are a big deal. They still have that old time feel at their basketball games, and I miss that and I can’t wait to get back and be a part of that, especially at Perry Central.”
Spurlock also acknowledged that he will have talented players to coach in the upcoming season and expects to put a good team on the floor that plays with good fundamentals on both sides of the court.
“We have been real solid on our fundamentals and keeping the ball away from the other team’s strengths,” he remarked about his past teams, and what fans can expect for the upcoming season. “I’m point guard oriented. The offense will always run through the point guard, and that will not cease at Perry Central, but I try to make sure all players are a threat.”
Coach Spurlock also commented on the ongoing lack of regular season match-ups between cross-town rivals Hazard High School and Perry Central. It was in 2008 that the Hazard Independent Board of Education voted to cease scheduling any regular season sporting events with Perry Central, citing several incidents at matches and games resulting in physical confrontations. Spurlock remarked, however, that he hopes the two schools can begin playing each other again, as he views it as one of the best rivalries in mountain basketball. “I would hope that the powers that be would resolve that issue as quickly as possible.”
Spurlock is a Floyd County native and graduate of Allen Central High School, where he also coached baseball and football early in his career.