By Les Dixon / Sports Editor
When the name Roscoe Denney is mentioned, someone is probably talking about just how good of a coach he is. The man knows his X's and O's.
But if his name has been brought up recently, it might just be because he was named the 2013 National High School Athletic Coaches Association Boys Assistant Coach of the Year.
Denney, who has been coaching basketball the past 41 years and now serves as a boys assistant basketball coach at North Laurel High School, was presented the award on Wednesday, June 26 in Iowa, beating out South Dakota’s Robert Billoto, Montana’s Chance Ferlicka, Michigan’s Christopher George, Iowa’s Jeff Hoogenson, Virginia’s Jim Huff, Arizona’s Don Kramer and North Dakota’s Tim Tandeski.
During Denney’s head coaching career he guided Breathitt County and Danville to regional championships while winning two region crowns and a state championship in 1986 at Pulaski County as an assistant coach. He was also an assistant coach at South Laurel and helped guide the Cardinals to six regional titles and a state championship in 2005. His last regional championship came as an assistant at North Laurel just two years ago. He has an overall coaching record of 483-129.
“I am very humbled and grateful to get this award,” Denney said. “I’ll say this — they’re a lot of assistant coaches in Laurel County, and in the region, that deserve this award, too. They based it on my overall coaching record, professional honors and contributions to the sport.
“I just really like to help mentor the young coaches, and help with the high school student-athletes,” he added. “I was glad to accept this, and was representing the former and present players and all of the head coaches I have worked with through the years.”
North Laurel coach Brad Sizemore said Denney was very deserving of the award.
“He deserved this,” he said. “Obviously he has a lot of experience and he’s got a great knowledge of the game. I’m very happy for him. He’s very deserving of this. He’s helped me a lot and has been a big reason why we have been successful here at North Laurel.
“He’s been a great mentor to me as well,” Sizemore added. “He’s a great person and kids love him.”
It was a long process to get the award with Denney finding out he was one of the eight finalists in December. Each finalist had to give an hour-long presentation, according to Denney, and his was about the match-up defense, something he has been known for since he began coaching in the ‘70s.
“I was very comfortable doing that and I’ve always been known for the match-up defense during the past 41 years I’ve been coaching,” Denney said. “It’s kind of like a science to me.”
So after his presentation, Denney had to play the waiting game again, and in the end, it was well worth it.
“It was a very impressive banquet,” he said. “I am very surprised I won this and very honored. They read my biography, along with the other finalists and they mentioned the Little Dribblers and the Shooting Stars that I have been a part of. I was really surprised.
“I really enjoyed this,” Denney added. “Plus, this was like a vacation, too. It was a great experience and I was able to meet new people and talk about a lot of different things.”
Denney, who is 62 years-old, confirmed he will be back helping Sizemore on the sidelines again this upcoming season.
“A couple of years ago, I thought I was going to hang it up, but I didn’t,” he said. “I don’t know if I’ll coach as long as Joe Paterno did at 81, so I’m just going to take things one year at a time.”