In 1970 Henry Reynolds brought his family to Trigg County. Henry had just been hired as an accountant at Hoover. You might say the Reynolds family invaded Trigg County since Henry brought along his wife Ann and their nine children. You readers may remember the kids. Their names from oldest to youngest were Phyllis, Michael, Mark, Patti, Hank, Theresa, Chuck, Kevin and John. Twelve years separated the oldest of the Reynolds siblings from the youngest. In my interview with Kevin he said, “We were the twelfth Catholic family to move into Trigg County.” At first I thought he was joking but then I realized he was dead serious.
Many of the Reynolds clan participated in track and cross-country at Trigg County High. It is my classmate Kevin that I will single out and focus on today however.
Fast forward to the fall of 1974. There were only two freshman on the Trigg County Cross-Country team. Those freshman were Mike Wright and Kevin Reynolds. There was also a freshman in his first year of running named Bill Fort. We learned our cross-country skills from Coach Jim Wallace and upper classman Henry Cunningham, James Hopson, Jimmy Gentry and Kenneth Ladd. Kevin and I finished that first year and then recruited teammates such as Fenton Dawson, Lenny Raley, Steve Guess, Charles Alexander, Gus Acree, and Mike Morris over the next few years. We became a very tight knit cross-country team and an even tighter set of friends. The high school years flew by until it was late in the summer of 1977.
Kevin and his younger brother John were the only two Reynolds left in high school as fall approached in 1977. The two Reynolds boys were not wasting a second of any day as school fast approached. Their daily routine late August of 77 was like this. They would rise way before daylight and drive from their Rockcastle home to town to pick up their supply of Louisville Courier-Journal newspapers. They would then deliver the Courier-Journal all over Trigg County. After that they would work in the tobacco patch till around 5:00 pm. From there they would head straight to Cross-Country practice and knock out a 5 mile workout or so with our team. Then Kevin and John would head off to the Western Kentucky State Fair which just happened to be going on in Hopkinsville at the time. Both Kevin and John had to be exhausted with a schedule like that but it never seemed to show. Kevin was the picture of boundless energy, carefree, loose and always on the go.
There is one day in that late summer of 77’ that has forever been etched in my memory. I can see the images of that day as vivid as if they were right in front of me in the present.
Remember if you can that things were different back in 77’. At the beginning of Cross-Country practice Coach Wallace had loaded several of us in the bed of his old green pickup truck and dropped us off somewhere down around Blue Springs at the lake. Our training run consisted of winding our way back up the hills and around the bends to the end of Riley Hollow road where we would finish our workout as we had started, by climbing into the bed of Coach Wallace’s truck. One by one we reached the truck and as quickly as we could secured a prime seat in the bed of the old pickup. One where the fender well wasn’t jutting out. One runner however did not stop at the truck. One runner blew by the green truck and hollered out to Coach Wallace, “Hey Coach, pick me up down the road. I am going to run an extra mile.” Coach Wallace just shook his head and smiled, outwardly and inwardly at the same time. That was just Kevin he thought. Coach Wallace fired up his old truck and we followed Kevin Reynolds down the road as he ran that extra mile. None of us knew that it would be the last time he would ever run.
OTT: Thank you to all of you that told me you missed my column last week. You motivate me and inspire me.
Enthusiasm Makes the Difference
Mike Wright is the former head coach of boys basketball and cross country at Trigg County High School. Emails concerning Coach’s Corner can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.