Anderson Co.’s Glen Drury true to his Bearcats
BY MIKE FIELDS
Glen Drury is an Anderson County institution. Like those famous Lawrenceburg distilleries, Four Roses and Wild Turkey, Drury has been turning out a successful, Kentucky-specialty product for decades.
The proof: Drury, in his 31st season as a head basketball coach in his home county, earned his 500th victory when Anderson County beat Simon Kenton last week.
Drury, as expected, shrugged off praise for the accomplishment. “It just means I’ve just been fortunate to be in this business long enough to get that many wins,” he said. “And it means I’ve been blessed to have had a lot of great players over the years.”
Maybe so, but it also means that Drury has been true to himself, true to his work ethic and true to his hometown.
He’s spent more two-thirds of his 57 years involved in Anderson County basketball.
He played for the Bearcats (class of 1977) before heading off to Berea College. After spending a year as an assistant there, he returned to Lawrenceburg.
He was an assistant at Anderson County for three years, then became head coach at Western Anderson, a tiny Class A-size school in the county. He won only three games his first season, and only five the next season. “But it was the best experience I’ve ever had,” Drury said. “When you have less talented teams, you have to figure out how to coach.”
Drury took over at Anderson County the next year (the 1986-87 season). In his 29 years as boss of the Bearcats, they’ve had only four losing seasons. They’ve won two 8th Region titles, reaching the Sweet Sixteen in 1997 and 2009.
Among the best players Drury has coached: Will Carlton (whom Drury thinks should have been Mr. Basketball in 1995); Jonathan Beasley (1997), Eric McKee (2004) and C.J. Penny (2009). Carlton, McKee and Penny were among those on hand to help celebrate last week’s 500th victory, which fittingly came on the Anderson County court named in Drury’s honor.
Drury said it’s “been really special” to coach at his alma mater. “You know the people and they know you. It’s got a really great home-town feel and we get great alumni support from our former players.”
Over the years Drury has had offers to coach elsewhere, but he’s remained a Bearcat. “This is a great community, and the good Lord has let me stay here,” he said.
John Herndon, sports editor of The Anderson News, went to school with Drury. He covered Drury’s first victory at Western Anderson in 1985, and his milestone victory last week.
“His approach to success in the game he loves is still basically the same: outwork the opponent, play stingy defense, take care of the ball and rebound with a passion,” Herndon wrote in The Anderson News.
Drury says he has had to change in one way: “I’ve tried to learn to be more patient with players in their development, to be more patient in my method of teaching. Society is not as demanding as it used to be, so the kids coming in aren’t as prepared as they used to be.”
Drury credits two of his assistants – Bryan Hyatt and Daniel Drury (his son) – for their contributions. “Without them, I wouldn’t keep on,” he said. “They’re really good with the players and those personal relationships. They’re more the backbone of this thing than I think I am anymore.”
Like every coach in Kentucky, Drury’s goal is get his team to Rupp Arena in March.
“Oh yeah, we feel every year we’ve got a legitimate shot at it,” he said. “And we’re still thinking we’ve got a chance this year. It’d be great. I’d love to have that for these kids.”
Drury isn’t sure how much longer he’ll coach, but don’t expect him to put down his clipboard any time soon. He’s got a young team that needs his coaching wisdom, and he appreciates his lot in life.
“I’ve been blessed,” he said. “Like Montgomery Gentry says, I’m a lucky man.”
Kentucky’s winningest active boys’ coaches, current school and victories through Feb. 16
- Billy Hicks (Scott County) — 907
- Dale Mabrey (PRP) — 871
- Steve Wright (Southwestern) — 695
- Rodney Woods (Wayne County) — 679
- Mike Jones (Harlan County) — 650
- Dinky Phipps (Lynn Camp) — 638
- Bill Mike Runyon (Paintsville) — 581
- Allen Feldhaus Jr. (Madison Central) — 566
- Tim Davis (Campbellsville) — 559
- Jeff Jackson (Lincoln County) — 507
- Glen Drury (Anderson County) — 500
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