- Special Sections
- Public Notices
ISSUE: Ron Bevars' coaching legacy
OUR VIEW: Victories go beyond the court
When North Hardin High School went looking for a new boys’ head basketball coach in 1974, Ron Bevars was not the first choice.
Another person actually was hired and introduced, only to back out before school started. Principal Ray Story approached Bevars, who had been the junior varsity coach, about taking the job. After 38 years, he can no longer be considered a stand-in.
Along the way, Bevars has known great success. Last weekend, fans and supporters recognized him on the occasion of his 800th victory as a varsity basketball coach. That total now is at 801 and counting.
His teams have been 17th District champions 17 times and won 12 5th Region titles which qualified the Trojans for the Sweet 16. Were it not for one opponent’s dramatic 50-foot desperation shot, which created a basketball legend, Ron Bevars also could have a state championship banner to his credit.
All his contemporaries from that first season have long since stepped down. Many of his assistants have moved on or retired.
But Bevars continues to roam the sidelines. As another 17th District Tournament is about to begin next week, his current team has recorded another 20-win season.
Now 38 years later, it’s difficult to imagine anyone but Bevars on the North Hardin sideline. Many fans of opposing schools carry only the image of his face glowing red while disputing a call or his characteristic stomp of frustration that rocks the hardwood.
Ron Bevars is much more.
Among intimates, he’s known for his good humor and rowdy laughter. He’s much more likely to smile than to scowl off the court.
He’s logged numerous unpaid hours documenting North Hardin sports history, making an effort to record every basket and every game for every player and coach who has worn the blue and white. But that’s only a hint of the times he’s gone above and beyond the call of duty.
He’s been a father figure for countless students who needed an example. People close to the program can offer multiple examples of personal sacrifices Bevars and his family made to ensure a student stayed in school or a family had food or another coach’s spouse could find a job.
When he was coaxed out to center court last Friday to be honored for win No. 800, the players cheered and the assistants celebrated. His wife and friends smiled and applauded. But standing in the gym the school has named for him, Bevars made no speeches and took no bows.
For these 801 accomplishments on the basketball court, he modestly accepted the accolades and headed back to the locker room.
He’s long been in the spotlight at ball games but he is not defined by that spotlight. Part of him is still a boy from Upton who found a focus for his life thanks to a caring teacher who introduced him to a game. He’s still the Sonora High School leading scorer who accepted a reserve role when a merger formed East Hardin High School his senior year. He’s the man who got the assistant coach’s job at North Hardin because another teacher was called to military duty and became head coach when the school was in a pinch.
He’s a man who makes sure to credit others and to say thank you at every opportunity.
Ron Bevars has collected a lot of wins over these 38 seasons. Only a fraction of them occurred on game night.
This editorial represents a consensus of The News-Enterprise's editorial board.