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Longtime Rowan County softball coach, Larry Slone, retires after historic season

Rowan County Associate Athletic Director Randy Wallace and Retiring Softball Coach Larry Slone.
Samantha Morrill
Rowan County Associate Athletic Director Randy Wallace and Retiring Softball Coach Larry Slone.

A veteran coach in Rowan County has taken another step toward retirement. After a record-setting season, Rowan County Senior High School Softball Coach Larry Slone retired last month from the program he helped create in 1994. Coach Slone said that’s when the Kentucky High School Athletics Association decided to introduce fast-pitch softball and Rowan County decided to make the switch from slow-pitch.

“And I was teaching in the building, driver’s-ed, and I applied and got the job. And I have a really strong background in fast-pitch softball, I’ve played it since I was 16 years old at a very, very, high level,” said Slone.

Slone took that experience and used it to help athletes make the transition to the fast-pitch style and went on to coach the Rowan County team for the next 29 years. The coach has made plenty of memories over the years. He said a standout comes from 2007, when the team won the regional championship against Raceland.   

“That was pretty emotional, I’m in the dugout and we had never won the region before. And that was one of our goals, we had a group of kids who come in and they believed they could get there and they did the things that we really wanted them to do to get better,” said Slone.

The team went on to win the region again the next year. Coach Slone said this year though, he’ll never forget. 

“To make a run at the state tournament and possibly win it? You know, with just a little bit of luck, we could have maybe won it. That would have been just unbelievable. And to even go and compete the way we did, with this young group, will always be a memory for me,” said Slone.

The team didn’t come out on top at the state tournament, but they did win their first two games… the first state victories in the program’s history. Slone said he had a good team this year. 

“Led, you know, obviously, by a Division 1 softball player, Haven Ford, a Division 1 basketball player. But, she was a multi-sport player and very good at just about all of them. And the rest of the supporting cast were outstanding,” said Slone. 

Randy Wallace is the school’s Associate Athletic Director.

“Larry’s not one to brag on himself much, so I’m going to do it for him a little bit. You know, with all the success he had this year, he did that with a tremendous senior leader, that he mentioned. But, his rest of his starting line-up were all freshmen and sophomores. Well, actually he had an eighth grader, four freshmen and three sophomores out there with that senior,” said Wallace.

Under Coach Slone’s leadership, the young team delivered the best season record in school history. They closed out the summer 35-5-1. The veteran coach said after the team’s historic season, he felt now was a good time to retire.

“I felt like when I did step away, I wanted to leave the next person with a very proficient, outstanding bunch of young ladies. And this team is really, really, good,” said Slone. 

Randy Wallace, also a long-time friend and colleague, said Slone has been successful in all of his coaching endeavors at Rowan County. 

“A lot of people don’t know, he was a pretty good assistant basketball coach at one time, too. And he’s coached some football for us over the years. So, we’ve used him in a number of areas,” said Wallace.

As coach of the fast-pitch softball team, Slone closes out a 28 season career with 594 wins and a .628 percent win rate. Wallace said he’s going to miss Coach Slone out on the field. 

“You know, hate to see him go, but I’m glad that he’s getting to go out the way he did, with a couple of wins in the state tournament. You know, he was really excited to get that first win, but I think I may have been more excited just watching him enjoy all that. He deserved it and it was a big deal for everybody,” said Wallace.

Slone said just because he’s retiring from coaching softball, doesn’t mean you won’t see him around. 

“I still sub, quite a bit out at the middle school. I enjoy that, it’s a lot of fun. You keep in touch with the kids and do that. I miss the driver’s ed, we really enjoyed that, I had a lot of good times with the driver’s ed. I’ve enjoyed my entire time at Rowan County School District and it’s been fantastic,” said Slone.

Slone is staying on coaching golf for Rowan County. He said he’ll keep doing that until his wife retires… when it’ll be time to retire from that position, another one he’s held for more than three decades.