Roy Bowling ushered girls’ basketball into modern era

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BY MIKE FIELDS

LONDON – The most influential coach in the history of girls’ high school basketball in Kentucky, whose early string of state championships prodded other schools to take the sport seriously, didn’t exactly jump at the chance to help usher the girls’ game into the modern era.

Roy Bowling had coached boys’ basketball at Hazel Green, and boys’ basketball and baseball at London, and he was the baseball coach at Laurel County when superintendent Hayward Gilliam called him into his office one day and asked if he would start up their girls’ basketball program after the KHSAA reintroduced the sport in 1974.

Bowling didn’t have to think about it. “You’re out of your mind!” he told Gilliam.

After all, Bowling’s first love was baseball – he had pitched for Georgetown College (his arsenal included a wicked curveball), and his Laurel County baseball team was on the brink of a run to the state final four.

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