Shining nearby

Published 12:04 pm Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Kelly Powell

A longtime resident of Lunenburg County has established himself as a major rival to the county in the realm of athletics and recently drew a special honor connected, in part, to this, but all along the way, he continues to make his home county proud.

Victoria High School graduate Kelly Powell was one of 15 distinguished individuals who made the elite cut to be part of the inaugural Randolph-Henry High School Athletic Hall of Fame induction class.

He has helped create the high standards that define Randolph-Henry’s (R-H) athletic program as a coach of golf, football, baseball, girls basketball, boys basketball and softball.

Powell said, “I was just so appreciative and humbled and grateful and glad I had the opportunity to go into the Hall of Fame and just so appreciative to my family and everybody who sacrifices, because especially when I first started coaching as a young person, several years I coached three sports, and getting home at 11, 12, 1 o’clock in the morning, I had to have a lot of help on the family end of it.”

Before his impact in Charlotte County began, he established himself as a high school student-athlete in Lunenburg, occasionally playing against Randolph-Henry. He graduated in 1966, the final year of Victoria High School. It was replaced by Central High School that fall.

His connection to Randolph-Henry began in 1975 when he did his student teaching there.

“Dick Bankston and Mike Parham were my student teachers, and I worked with Mike Parham in basketball while I did my student teaching, and then I worked with Coach Bankston in baseball while I did my student teaching. I just learned so much about life and the game of basketball and baseball from them.”

In terms of his coaching history at Randolph-Henry, Powell has been varsity golf coach for 25 years, softball assistant coach for eight years, junior varsity (JV) boys basketball coach for seven years, girls basketball assistant coach for five years, football assistant coach for five years and baseball assistant coach four years.

His leadership of the golf program has led to a 414-44 overall record, 22 district championships, six regional championships, one state championship, in 2005, and a state runner-up finish, in 2016.

Softball teams he helped coach were state runners-up twice and district champions twice.

Baseball teams he helped coached were regional champions once and district champions twice.

His JV boys basketball team was district champion thrice.

Central may not technically be his alma mater, but Powell said he has always considered himself to be coaching against his alma mater when he faces the Chargers because they represent Lunenburg.

As a coach, “the way I always felt — any time I played Lunenburg I was trying to beat them, but when they were playing anybody other than us, I was always pulling for them,” Powell said.

Being a Victoria student-athlete also broadened his appreciation for being part of R-H’s inaugural Hall of Fame induction class. He noted having played against fellow inductee Herbert Moss, who was part of R-H’s Class of 1968.

Powell said, “I thought it was pretty neat — I played against Hall of Famers, and I’ve coached Hall of Famers and I coach with Hall of Famers.”