Serving Kentucky's Schools and Student Athletes Since 1917

12/19/22 – KHSAA Announces NFHS State Coach of the Year Honorees for 2021-22 Seasons

December 19, 2022 2022-2023 News Releases



As part of its annual awards program, the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Coaches Association recognizes Coach of the Year honorees from each state. Those named Coach of the Year at the state level then advance for consideration for Sectional Coach of the Year honors. Winners are chosen through a combination of their coaching accomplishments, as well as their contributions outside of competition to help grow their respective sports. These awards are announced following the recognized year.

The complete list of 2021-22 honorees from Kentucky is below.

Baseball: David Rexroat, Russell County
Boys’ Basketball: William Unseld, Warren Central
Girls’ Basketball: Kristy Orem, Pikeville
Boys’ Cross Country: Ian Johnstone, Conner
Girls’ Cross Country: Tom Stickel, Lexington Christian
Field Hockey: Jody Schaefer, Assumption
Football: Noel Rash, Beechwood
Boys’ Golf: Greg Zimmerer, Christian Academy-Louisville
Girls’ Golf: Sam Westfall, Madisonville-North Hopkins
Boys’ Soccer: James Wray, Paul Laurence Dunbar
Girls’ Soccer: Ben Dempsey, Henderson County
Softball: Alan Jones, Ballard
Boys’ Swimming & Diving: Jeff Floyd, Ryle
Girls’ Swimming & Diving: Trent Lakes, Lafayette
Boys’ Tennis: Gil Downs, St. Xavier
Girls’ Tennis: Whitney Thompson, Sacred Heart
Boys’ Track & Field: Ryan Leopold, Highlands
Girls’ Track & Field: Zacharie Brooks, duPont Manual
Volleyball: William Rineker, Central Hardin
Wrestling: Blake Gamble, Johnson Central
Boys’ Archery: Shannon Ferguson, Anderson County
Girls’ Archery: Mike Sexton, Letcher County Central
Boys’ Bowling: Christopher Sapp, Paul Laurence Dunbar
Girls’ Bowling: Jimmy Latta, Graves County
Cheer: Tyra Anderson, Eastern
Bass Fishing: John Vice, Montgomery County
Esports: Chris Griffith, Lafayette
Dance: Nicki Henlein, Henry Clay
Spirit: Tyra Anderson, Eastern

The NFHS, which has been recognizing coaches through an awards program since 1982, honors coaches in the top 10 girls’ sports and top 10 boys’ sports (by participation numbers) and in two “other” sports–one for boys and one for girls–that are not included in the top 10 listings. The NFHS also recognizes a spirit coach as a separate award category. Winners of NFHS awards must be active coaches during the year for which they receive their awards.

The next award level after state coach of the year is Sectional Coach of the Year. The NFHS is divided into eight geographical sections. They are as follows: Section 1 – Northeast (CT, ME, MA, NH, NJ, NY, RI, VT); Section 2 – Mideast (DE, DC, KY, MD, OH, PA, VA, WV); Section 3 – South (AL, FL, GA, LA, MS, NC, SC, TN); Section 4 – Central (IL, IN, IA, MI, WI); Section 5 – Midwest (KS, MN, MO, NE, ND, SD); Section 6 – Southwest (AR, CO, NM, OK, TX); Section 7 – West (AZ, CA, HI, NV, UT); and Section 8 – Northwest (AK, ID, MT, OR, WA, WY).

The NFHS Coaches Association has an advisory committee composed of a chair and eight sectional representatives. The sectional committee representatives evaluate the state award recipients from the states in their respective sections and select the best candidates for the sectional award in each sport category. The NFHS Coaches Association Advisory Committee then considers the sectional candidates in each sport, ranks them according to a point system and determines a national winner for each of the 20 sport categories, the spirit category and two “other” categories.



About the Kentucky High School Athletic Association

The Kentucky High School Athletic Association was organized in 1917 and is the agency designated by the Kentucky Department of Education to manage high school athletics in the Commonwealth. The Association is a voluntary nonprofit 501(c)3 organization made up of 284 member schools, both public and non-public. The KHSAA awards 215 state championships to 51 teams and 164 individuals in 13 sports and six sport-activities, funds catastrophic insurance coverage for its more than 106,000 rostered member school student-athletes, provides coaching education and sports safety programs for more than 12,000 coaches and licenses and facilitates the distribution of training material for over 4,000 contest officials.


icon-angle icon-bars icon-times