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June 13, 2014

Head of the Class

Dixon, five others to be inducted in Kentucky Prep Softball Hall of Fame

LOUISVILLE — Former Times-Tribune sports editor and London native Les Dixon will be one of six individuals inducted into the 17th class of the Kentucky Prep Softball Hall of Fame Saturday at the Ramada Plaza Hurstbourne in Louisville.

Dixon will be inducted along with Kelly Vooris (Hopkinsville), Veronica Livers (Meade County), April Brock (Bell County), Renika Tolliver (Hopkinsville) and 2009 Miss Softball Amber Riddle (Rowan County) Saturday at 8 p.m.

“It’s a great honor to be mentioned in the same group with some of the greatest high school softball players and coaches in the state,” Dixon said. “I’ve been very fortunate to cover some great high school teams along the way, which has allowed people from across the state and country to see my work. To be inducted into the KY Prep Softball hall of Fame is an honor.

“Fastpitch softball has come a long way since 1995 and I hope, in some way or fashion, I have played a part in that, doing my best to promote the student-athletes and their accomplishments along with promoting high school softball teams across the state,” he added. “But when it comes down to it, it’s the student-athletes and coaches that have made the sport of fastpitch softball one of the best sports to coach, play and cover in the state. I’m just out there reporting the feats they have accomplished.”

Dixon was part of the first graduating class of North Laurel High School and will become the 10th individual from Laurel County inducted into the Kentucky Prep Softball Hall of Fame. He is the eighth individual from North Laurel High School. His dream throughout his junior high and high schools years was to become a sports writer one day and it came true at the age of 16.

During his high school years, he helped cover high school sporting events at the Sentinel-Echo with hopes of someday becoming a sports writer.

His dream came true in 1996 when was hired as a part-time sports writer for the London Sentinel-Echo. His hiring was a preview of things to come as hard work and dedication led to Dixon being hired at the Times-Tribune in Corbin, in 1997.

It didn’t take long for him to work his way up the ladder, being sports editor of the Times-Tribune, allowing Dixon to be one of the youngest sports editors of a daily newspaper in Kentucky, at age 22.

The following summer, Dixon attended and covered his first KHSAA Fastpitch State Tournament and he has never missed one since.

In 1999, Dixon took over as Sports Editor of the London News Journal and held that position until 2005. During that time, he covered some of the greatest state tournament softball games ever played — the 1999 championship game between eventual champion Dupont Manual and North Laurel, and Team Jaguar’s state championship run the following year.

"From 1998 to 2003, North Laurel High School's run in softball was amazing," Dixon said. "To be able to cover them during that time frame was an awesome experience for me. During that period, they were ranked No. 1 in the state along with being ranked as one of the best team's in the country and to be able to cover players such as Becky Abner, Sara Crook, Helena Hubbard, Ali Ray, Helcia Hubbard and coach Jimmy Durham is something I'll never forget."

Dixon took over as Sports Editor of the Times-Tribune in 2005 and remained in that position until this past October when he took a job with the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet as the Public Information Officer for District 11. He still roams the sidelines, covering sporting events for the Times-Tribune as a part-time writer, and was fortunate to cover his daughter, who started for South Laurel this past season as an eighth-grader in this year’s KHSAA State Softball Tournament. Dixon has also written for the Associated Press and continues to write for The Cats Pause and Bluegrasspreps.com.

During his 18-year journalism career, Dixon has won numerous awards for his writing, photography and graphic design. He has won more than 80 Kentucky Press Association awards, including 30 first place honors. He has also won the KY Prep Media award three times. When not writing, Dixon coached his daughter’s travel softball team, the Southern Kentucky Vipers, guiding them to numerous tournament titles, and a runner-up finish in the 2012 ISA 12U World Series. Four of his former Viper players started this past season for their respective high school teams, three of them are eighth-graders and another a seventh-grader.

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