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Grant County High School will host the “Coach Carl Wenderoth Classic” on Dec. 1.
Wenderoth, of Dry Ridge, is an icon in Grant County’s basketball history.
He began his coaching career in 1957 at Ludlow High School. He spent the next 38 years coaching at Ludlow, Scott High and GCHS and left his mark on players, parents and the community.
“We’re just trying to honor coach for what he did in the past and for the kids in this community,” said Scott Shipp, the former director of athletics for Grant County.
Shipp knew Wenderoth not only as a colleague but also as a coach and mentor, having played for him at GCHS.
“He’s a great man. The character, work ethic and responsibility that he taught us we didn’t appreciate until later in life. His players respect him because of what he taught us, which was as much about life as about basketball,” said Shipp, who now works as Grant County School’s director of transporation.
GCHS Boys Basketball Jim Hicks said he wanted to honor Wenderoth as a tribute to Grant County’s past basketball successes.
“He meant a lot to Grant County basketball and we want to honor him for his contributions and don’t want to forget about the past, such as Grant County’s win as regional champions with him as coach,” Hicks said.
The Coach Carl Wenderoth Classic will begin at 4 p.m. when the Gallatin County Wildcats take on the Scott Eagles at 4 p.m. followed by Scott County vs. Simon Kenton at 6 p.m. The Grant County Braves will face off against Louisville Shawnee at 8 p.m.
The classic will feature some familiar faces such as Jonathon Jones, head coach of the Gallatin County Wildcats, who was a former player of Wenderoth’s.
Shipp said organizers tried to either get a team from every school that Wenderoth coached before his retirement in 1995 or teams coached by Wenderoth’s former players.
Hicks said he has tried to organize this type of classic in most of the school systems he’s worked in.
“We want to build community and school pride through something like this,” Hicks said. “It should be an exciting day of basketball and we hope that this will get the community involved and get school spirit going like it was in the late 70s and early 80s, during Coach Wenderoth’s time.”
Wenderoth was not only involved with basketball while at GCHS. He started the high school’s golf program in 1969. When his Braves won the regional title in 1979, Wenderoth was named Coach of the Year in the 8th Region. He was voted runner up as State Coach of the Year also that year.
That victory is still sweet in Wenderoth’s memory.
“We were escorted by the state police and the fire trucks were waiting for us at the county line. When we got to the top of the hill, I turned and all you could see was miles and miles of headlights. I remember that more than anything,” Wenderoth was quoted in the Jan. 14, 2010 issue of the Grant County News after being inducted into the GCHS Athletic Hall of Fame.
Ten years later, he led the Scott High School Eagles to a 9th Region Championship win and was named as 9th Region Coach of the Year in 1989.
Other accolades include, Wenderoth being inducted into the Northern Kentucky Athletic Directors Hall of Fame in 1980, the Northern Kentucky Sports Hall of Fame in 1995, the Grant County Athletic Hall of Fame in 2000, Grant County High School’s Hall of Fame in 2010, as well as Scott High’s Hall of Fame, the 8th Region Coaches Hall of Fame in 2010 and the Kentucky High School Basketball Coach’s Association Walk of Fame in 2008.
As a coach, in basketball, baseball and golf, he has more than 1,100 wins.
“There’s just not many coaches who have had 500 wins and it’s fitting for the school to honor him for that,” said Shipp.