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Coal Grove resident is inspirational educator

Paul Kegley is my neighbor in Coal Grove. We both live in what is now called Center Grove, which was originally called Peters Field.

My father, Ralph (Bud) Nourse, built the first house in Center Grove, and I was the first child born in Center Grove.

Paul Kegley was principal at Dawson-Bryant High School from 1972 until his retirement in 1989, a period of 17 years.

Our careers overlapped when I was employed by the then Lawrence County Board of Education. It is currently called the Lawrence County Educational Service Center.

I worked with a program called Work-Study for DH students in all seven districts in the county.

This employment program during a student’s junior and senior years called for me to visit each high school on a weekly basis.

Kegley graduated from Rock Hill High School in 1955. This was the fifth graduating class from the new school formed from Hanging Rock and Kitts Hill.

Paul was an outstanding three-sport athlete in addition to being a good student. He was selected to the OVC All-Conference team in both football and basketball his senior year. The Rock Hill football team won the final Lawrence County Football League (LCFL) Championship in 1953, Paul’s junior year.

Upon graduation, Paul was offered and accepted a basketball scholarship at Rio Grande College. He became a three-year starter at guard as a sophomore. He formed a life long friendship with teammate and senior forward Dick Myers. Myers, a Dawson-Bryant graduate, would later be head basketball coach at Coal Grove as well as Ironton High before relocating in Florida.

Kegley graduated from Rio Grande in 1959 and immediately was hired as head basketball coach at Wellston High School. He assumed the same position at Cambridge High School in 1964. Paul returned to his roots in Lawrence County in 1969 as principal at Rock Hill High School.

He would move to Dawson-Bryant High School in 1972.

Questioned about his time at the high school, he had this to say, “I had a wonderful staff and great community support from people who wanted their children to learn; I saw many fine young people grow into adults.”

Paul and wife Carol, a retired educator from the Lawrence County Joint Vocational School, live around the corner from my house.

They are the parents of two sons, P.F. and Jon, both good athletes in their own right.

When Gail and I relocated to our present home in 1997, Paul and Carol were the first to welcome us to the neighborhood.

Paul Kegley recently began losing weight unintentionally. He lost 90 lbs. before doctors traced the problem to his gall bladder. Since he had gall bladder surgery, he has already gained back five pounds.

Paul is on the mend, and I’m sure he would appreciate hearing from his many friends.

Mike Nourse is a retired educator and contributing columnist for The Tribune. He lives in Coal Grove with wife Clara Gail, also a retired educator.