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The Marion County Knights’ basketball program has had its ups and downs over the 41 seasons it has been in existence. To start with, there have been 11 different head coaches, with the longest tenured head coach being Tim Davis who coached the Knights for 12 seasons in the 1980s and 1990s.
A quick look through history will show some of the reasons for the swings in the program’s history.
The first head coach was Pat Tully who coached the first two seasons and had an overall record of 16-34. In the very first game Marion County ever played the Knights were defeated by St. Catherine by a score of 89-58 on Nov. 27, 1970. Bobby Hiles took over as the head man after Tully left, and held that position for the next three seasons. He went on to finish his stint at Marion County with an overall record of 45-33. Under the direction of Hiles, the Knights made a run to the finals of the regional tournament, the farthest a Knight team had gone to date.
Josh McKay’s head coaching experience lasted only two seasons, where under his command the Knights went 8-44. Following McKay was Bobby Toon who coached the Knights during the 1977-78 season. An enormous winter storm blasted central Kentucky during the early winter of 1978, and wreaked havoc on the basketball schedule. Due to this fact, coach Toon was only able to play 21 games that season and finished with a record of 9-12. Toon only lasted one season, and then the reigns were handed over to Charlie Hopkins. Hopkins coached the team for five seasons and compiled a 63-57 record over that time period. While Hopkins was the coach, the Knights played in a triple overtime game. The game was played on Dec. 10, 1981, and their opponent was Campbellsville. Campbellsville won the game 59-55, but was later forced to forfeit the game due to the use of an ineligible player based on KHSAA rules.
When Hopkins decided to leave, Marion County hired Tim Davis as the new head coach of the boys’ basketball team. Coach Davis turned out to be one of the best hires that the school had ever made. Davis coached the team for 12 seasons and accumulated a record of 215-137, and is best known for coaching the team to its only state title in school history. During that state title season, Davis’ team amassed a 38-2 record and scored over 100 points five times. This team also set the high scoring mark for one game when they defeated Bethlehem 118-62 on Feb. 16, 1993.
When Davis decided to leave Marion County at the end of the 1994-95 season, the search was once again on for a new head coach. Kelly Wells was hired, and he coached the Knights for the next two seasons. In Wells’ first season the team had its struggles and finished that season at 8-20. However, in 1996-97 the Knights returned to the state tournament but lost their opening round game to Graves County by a score of 58-72 on March 12, 1997. That team finished the season with an impressive 24-8 mark, the best since the 1992-93 season.
Upon Wells’ departure the Knights hired Greg Williams to take over. Williams also coached the Knights for two seasons where he had a record of 24-22 over those two seasons. After Williams’ departure at the end of the 1998-99 season, Brad Fraser became the new head coach of the Knights. Fraser also stayed for only two seasons in which he finished with a record of 34-22. Fraser left the head-coaching job, and Tim Peterson was hired as the head man. Peterson coached from the 2001-02 season until the 2009-10 season where he accumulated a 96-121 record.
The current head coach of the Knights, Anthony Epps, was hired upon Peterson’s departure and so far this season has a record of 4-5.
We should all hope that Epps will be able to help Marion County’s boys’ basketball team return to the level that they once were able to achieve in the early-90’s when he was a player.
Every program has its times of good and its times of bad. Some of those times last longer than others, but no matter if Marion County has been good or bad there have always been fans to support them.
No one can turn a program around overnight, but with his experience as a winner and leader, Epps hopefully will make his mark on Marion County boys’ basketball before his coaching tenure is complete.