R.I.P., Mike Wainscott, multi-sport coach in Lexington
Mike Wainscott, who coached in Fayette County public schools for 38 years, passed away last Friday. He was 67. Here’s what I wrote about him for the Lexington Herald-Leader upon his retirement in May, 2012.
BY MIKE FIELDS
Mike Wainscott has been a high school coach in Lexington for so long his career has spanned seven U.S. presidents. His longevity might be better appreciated by sports fans if it was noted that Wainscott’s first season on the sidelines came five years before ESPN was launched.
Wainscott started as a football assistant at Tates Creek in 1974. He’s been involved in at least one sport in Fayette County public schools ever since. But Wainscott, who has coached softball at Paul Laurence Dunbar the last 15 seasons, is ready to call it quits.
“I still enjoy the heck out of it, but it’s just time,” said Wainscott, 62. “I could keep going, but something’s telling me I need to step aside.”
Wainscott has enjoyed success at all his stops over the last 38 years.
As an assistant under Roy Walton at Tates Creek for 15 seasons, he was part of the Commodores’ 1978 state at-large championship team.
When Dunbar opened in 1990, Wainscott was part of Mike Meighan’s football staff. He was an integral part of the Bulldogs’ strong run in the mid-1990s, including a Class 4A state runner-up finish to Nelson County in 1996.
That post-season produced what Wainscott considered one of his biggest highlights in coaching. In the region title game, Dunbar led perennial power Boone County 14-10 when the Rebels had a first down on the Dunbar 1-yard line with a little more than a minute left. Wainscott, the defensive coordinator, watched the Bulldogs stuff Boone County on four straight plays and preserve the victory.
“Mike is one of the most competitive human beings ever, no matter what,” Meighan said.
When Meighan retired after the 2000 season, Wainscott left football, too.
Wainscott coached boys’ track at Dunbar for eight years. ‘”I didn’t know a thing about track, but I was able to get football players out there, and they did a good job. My last four years, we won the region twice and were runners-up twice.”
Wainscott, who played baseball at Henry Clay and the University of Kentucky, took over Dunbar’s fast-pitch softball team in 1998. He’s coached the Bulldogs to six district titles, and a region championship in 2005.
Midway through his career he also found time to serve as a baseball assistant at Henry Clay for one season, and as Jessie Clark Middle School’s football coach for two years.
Wainscott, who retired from teaching in 2002 but still fills in as a substitute at Dunbar, obviously has coaching in his DNA. “It’s just who I am. It’s just what I do,” he said. “I’ve always enjoyed working with young people, and enjoyed the relationships I’ve had with all the coaches I’ve worked with.”
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