I have thought alot the last few months about the first article i would write about my coaching experiences in Appalachia. Well here it is!
Not many high school coaches get the chance to coach a 5 time STATE CHAMPION, 3 time All American, and many other awards too numerous to mention here. Paul Akers was and is a remarkable person. Now a devoted father and husband Paul is still remembered in the state of Kentucky as well as surrounding states as one of the best track athletes to ever put on a uniform.
This ol hillbilly was fortunate enough to be his coach, and experience first hand this remarkable athlete and person. I could go on and on about his achievements in track, and his achievements as a father and husband, but there is not enough space. I had many really good athletes through my years of coaching, and i hope to be able to discuss those in the future. But today belongs to Paul. I have added a couple pics from his Facebook, and below some comments made on Facebook about the 92 pic of Paul and I at the Regional. Enjoy.
Paul you were the best!
this pix means a lot to me. i usually started high jumpin at 6 ft 6. all the other would usually go out at 5 -6. but i got really freaked out this day, my senior year and all the pressure of breaking the state record and all that came down on me like a ton of bricks. i told coach i cant do it. i told him i was going to start at 6ft today. i missed ... See Moremy first jump. the second i knocked it all again. the only time in my career that i freaked out. i cried and lost it. coach came over to me and put his arm around me and we walked without talking. we walked about a football field, then turned around and came back. then he said to go jump this. remember i was jumping 7 ft during this time and 6 ft was candy to me. but when you pysch urself out it is different. i leap over it with the greatest of ease. i went on to win sectionals and then state making me a 5 time state champion.
honestly i hated the fact that the high jump is a sport where no matter how good u do u still end in failure because you keep raising the bar. lol
seems like winning was not good enough for the news, papers and the fans. they wanted the state record. i still hold the indoor state record after all these years. i am proud of that. but i never broke the outdoor record. you can only do it at the state meet. it was raining my senior year, my junior year i had sprained my ankle, my sophmore year i was so close but did not get it. oh well, that is my lifes story. so close but no cigar, lol
check out greg couch behind us in the leslie co uniform. he had alread jumped and was hopin i did not make my final jump lol
You were really good, I remeber when I jumped my soph year and I never could go over with ease like you did I got to 5ft4 when I got hurt and scared myself and would never go back. But had I stayed with it my height would have been what state title jumped that year.
Brilliant story! I remember being there the first time you figured out you could high jump. In my memory it was a meet at Johnson Central. I was standing in the infield next to coach when Tim Elam came up and asked what a good height was for High Jump. I don't remember coach's answer but Tim's response was "Well, Paul's clearing that height by ...
i was on the bus when i heard we had a new high jumper...if he had a pit to practice
I remember that photo I was trying to pump you up in the background. I also remeber your first dunk at p.e. Class, how about the topahawk in your first real game at mg co. Oh, I do remember you flyin over that bar the first time me, Tim, William. It was like a bird at first flight. You were like Tyson. By the way your triple-jump,200m,1600m relay
Long jump all rocked. There will never be another to match.
aaron it was jamie owens. but you and a lot of people helped me that day. i have so many good memories of the great friends that i made. that is really what i bring from this. the ones that ran track with me and were my true friends never put pressure on me. you all knew how hard it was. i am so thankful for this facebook thing becuase i am so glad... See More to reconnect with you guys. i love each one of you. sean you are right it was johnson central. my first time i jumped 6-7. steve the only place for me to practice until my senior year was johnson central. my dad would drive me there about once a week to practice. i had so much support. i feel like i let a lot of people down when i did not take the scholarship at lsu. but my pleged to all the kids out there. study hard. i only scored a 17 on my act. i needed an 18. so i was going to sit out a year then go. my sophmore year i got married. i ran track for morehead my junior year but by then i was married and lost interest. i did not work out like i should have. i threw away my talent and dreams. because of me kids i would not change anything. but i do have a lot of regrets. but as stated beforethe friends i made i will never forget.
ps amy i remember you were a heck of a jumper. but injury plauged ya.
I have often been asked who my best athlete was. My answer is always the same. 'There is sometimes a difference between best and most gifted'. In Paul Akers i had both! Paul was the most exciting and unbelievable athlete i ever saw in high school, and believe the old coach when he says, i had some dang good ones in track which i plan on talking about at GarysWorld Appalachia and here in the future.
92 regionals, the get ur head on straight walk in between jumps
Paul it is amazing what athletes sometimes remember that a coach said to them. That was word for word. The truth is i knew the pressure you were feeling that day so i used an old trick one of my college coaches used on me one basketball game when i missed 4 shots in a row... to focus on something besides the next jump. In my case he reminded me why he had recruited me in the first place. I had 6 points at the time in the 2nd half. When the horn sounded i had 32.
thanx coach. we had a good run didnt we
SocialInterview.com asked me "If you had to give this photo a caption, what would it be?"
I answered "they were a great duo that 'never gave up'"
Tags: Paul Akers, Kentucky track, high school, high jump, GarysWorld 'Appalachia'