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Toss a stone in the still water of a country pond and a series of tiny circular waves emanate from the initial splash point. The circles slowly expand until the ripples reach the pond’s edge.
More than four decades ago, Ron Bevars tossed his career into the North Hardin High School community. As a teacher and coach, he influenced thousands upon thousands of lives. But as a friend of children, his influences will ripple endlessly.
In sports, Bevars’ accomplishments are measured in wins and losses including district and region championships. By that measure, Bevars leaves a good record. He is one of the winningest coaches in KHSAA history.
But scoreboards don’t account for the number of former students whose lives are better today for knowing Ron Bevars. Game statistics don’t reveal the kids and the families he’s helped — including the ones he has rescued.
Confronted by poverty, Ron Bevars found ways to step up. On one occasion, he quietly organized meals for a house full of children that likely was to be without food throughout a 23-day school break.
Confronted by tragedy, Ron Bevars became a surrogate parent and a lifeline to an athlete dealing with the savage slaying of his mother.
Confronted with the senseless death of a teammate, Ron Bevars provided strength, direction and a purpose for dozens of teenagers overwhelmed by grief, anger and frustration.
Those are just some of the off-the-court stories. He helped some kids destined to be thugs and malcontents to become productive community members. He helped countless others find their purpose and direction in those clumsy, confusing teenage years.
Most of those stories, you never will hear from Ron Bevars unless you push and pry them out. He also could teach most of us lessons in modesty.
“I haven’t done anything for kids that any decent person wouldn’t do for a kid if they had the opportunity,”he said Friday morning just a short time after the formal announcement he was stepping down as North Hardin’s boys’basketball coach.
Reviewing the basketball accomplishments of his life, Bevars could not separate the games from the players, supporters and friends encountered along the way.
“If we only worry about wins and losses in coaching and in teaching,”he said, “we haven’t done a very good job.”
Born 70 years ago in Hart County and raised in Upton, Ron Bevars played for the last Sonora High Comets basketball team and the first East Hardin Rebels squad as the consolidated high school opened his senior year. He worked second shift in a Bowling Green factory while taking classes on a six-year process of achieving a degree at Western Kentucky University.
After a year working in a Warren County middle school, Bevars managed to land a position as an assistant coach under Wally Johnson at North Hardin.
A few years later when Johnson stepped down, another coach was hired to much acclaim. When that man later backed out, Ron Bevars took over as a second choice with no assurances beyond one season as head coach.
From that point in 1975, he set in place many positive ripples on the water at North Hardin.
But this story is not about Ron Bevars’influence alone.
As a boy in Upton, Bevars never thought much about basketball. His father operated a small garage and thought his boy should start thinking about work and jobs — not much consideration was given to careers and certainly not as an educator or a legendary coach.
About that time, Bobby Humes was hired to teach at Upton Elementary. He convinced young Ron to play for him on the basketball team.
Without the ripple that Bobby Humes created in the waters of life, the past four decades at North Hardin would have unfolded differently.
Caring teachers make a huge difference in our lives.That brings to mind something else that Ron Bevars said upon announcing his retirement from coaching.
“We don’t spend enough time talking to kids.”
Ben Sheroan, a one-time student basketball manager at North Hardin and a student twice assigned to Ron Bevars’ classroom, is editor of The News-Enterprise. He can be reached at 270-505-1764 or firstname.lastname@example.org.