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North's Bevars steps down

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Legendary coach ranks fourth in Kentucky in wins

By Chuck Jones

After dedicating more than 40 years to the game of basketball and North Hardin High School, Ron Bevars has decided to resign as coach of the Trojans.

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Bevars, 70, met with North Hardin principal Lonnie Dennis on Friday morning to inform Dennis of his decision. Bevars said he spent a lot of time thinking about stepping down during the offseason and finally decided this was the right time to do it.

“It’s not a rushed decision, that’s for sure,” Bevars said Friday afternoon. “A lot went into it. I probably would have resigned after last season, but I didn’t want to rush it. I’ve always had good assistants and we have people in place that can 

coach. I feel confident in how I’m leaving it.”

Bevars has taken the North Hardin program and built it into a 5th Region power. Prior to his arrival, the Trojans won more than 20 games only twice in their first 13 seasons. They never won a region or 17th District championship and went to just one district final.

In Bevars’ first season, the Trojans won 20 games and reached the district championship, a sign of things to come. Bevars guided North Hardin to 17 district championships and 12 region titles during his 38-year varsity coaching career.

Bevars is one of only four coaching in Kentucky with more than 800 wins. He compiled a record of 805-348 and his win total ranks fourth in the state. His teams won more than 20 games an astounding 21 times, including five seasons in which the Trojans won 30 or more games. Only five times did his teams finish below .500.

“I’ve had a good run,” Bevars said. “I’ve had a lot of good kids and I’ve had a lot of good assistant coaches. I have nothing but good memories. My wife (Susan) asked me if I was sad this morning. I told her I was glad. I was lucky and fortunate enough to do it all those years and accomplish the things we did.”

The only thing to elude Bevars was a state championship, although he was close several times. In the 1982 Sweet Sixteen championship, Laurel County’s Paul Andrews hit a half-court shot at the buzzer to dash North Hardin’s hopes, dealing them a 53-51 loss. The Trojans reached the semifinals in 2001 and ’02. A bad call ended their run in 2001 and an injury derailed their bid the following year. Four times they lost to the eventual state champion.

“We were close several years,” Bevars said. “You just move on.”

Although he’s stepping down at North Hardin, Bevars isn’t ruling out a return to coaching.

“I’m not calling it a retirement,” Bevars said. “I don’t know if I’ll coach again. I’m glad I’ve had the opportunity I’ve had. I don’t know what I’ll do.”

Chuck Jones can be reached at 270-505-1759 or cjones@thenewsenterprise.com.