Remembering Brent Arnold

May 3, 2017 FieldsColumn

Brent Arnold coached Lafayette girls’ basketball from 1982-88, and led the Generals to the 1984 Sweet 16. (Herald-Leader photo)

BY MIKE FIELDS

Brent Arnold, who coached multiple sports at Lafayette for many years, died this weekend after a short battle with cancer. He was 72.

Arnold was an assistant girls’ basketball coach at Lafayette under Kathy Neal when the Lea Wise-led Generals were state runners-up in 1979.

Arnold took over as the Lafayette girls’ head coach in 1981 and guided them to the Sweet 16 in 1984. He had an overall record of 119-58 in seven years.

Arnold moved over to boys’ basketball and served as an assistant under Donnie Harville, and after leaving the bench kept the scorebook for the Generals.

He also coached cross-country and girls’ track at Lafayette.

Former Lafayette athletics director Karen Vanover, who retired the same year (2000) as Arnold, remembers that Arnold “tried to come off as pretty gruff, but he was really a pushover. He was a very kind, caring and giving person.”

Arnold always kidded that his main claim to fame was when, as a high school football player at Danville, he had a run-in with then-Lafayette coach Roy Walton.

In 1962, Danville was playing the Generals when Arnold intercepted a pass and returned it down the sideline in front of the Lafayette bench.

What happened next was the subject of debate for decades. Walton either went onto the field and tackled Arnold, or, as the coach contended, he tripped over a cable and fell into Arnold.

The incident ended up costing Walton his job. He recovered nicely, however, and went on to a Hall of Fame coaching career at Tates Creek.

Vanover said that sports were always an integral part of Arnold’s life, from his days as a multi-sport athlete at Danville, to his coaching days at Lafayette, and into his retirement when he worked for the Legends’ baseball team and at Keeneland.

“Athletics were always a focus in his life, as were the kids he coached,” Vanover said.

Funeral services for Brent Arnold will be at Kerr Brothers on Harrodsburg Rd., Friday at 12:30 p.m. Visitation is set for Thursday from 5 to 8 p.m.

Memorial contributions are suggested to the Woodford County Humane Society, P.O. Box 44, Versailles, KY 40383.

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