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Changing of the guard: Paul Stone hired as new CCHS athletic director and girls basketball coach

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By Kristin Beck

It’s the beginning of a new era for athletics at Carroll County High School.

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Paul Stone, Jr., currently girls basketball head coach at Bardstown High School, will officially be announced as the new athletic director and girls basketball coach at Carroll County High School on Wednesday. He will meet with Carroll County’s current head coaches at this time.

In an interview Tuesday, Stone said he is looking forward to the opportunity at Carroll County and “can’t wait to start.”

“I feel like the school system has very good leadership and a vision of what they see in their school system,” he said. “This is where I want to be.”

Stone has been the Bardstown High School girls basketball head coach for the past 11 seasons. He will leave the program with the highest winning percentage of any girls coach at the school with a record of 135-165. His teams advanced to the All-A Regional seven out of 11 years and won the tournament three times. He has an 18-7 All-A tournament record.

Under Stone, the Lady Tigers won the 19th District tournament once and advanced to the 5th Regional Tournament three times. This mirrored the basketball program’s post-season record in its 26-year history before Stone.

Stone also has served as the head softball coach at Bardstown High School for the past three seasons.

Before coming to Bardstown, he was the boys assistant basketball coach at Central Hardin High School from 1994-2001 and was the girls freshman basketball coach at Henry County from 1993-1994. He also was a full-time substitute and boys assistant basketball coach at Woodford County High School from 1992-1993.

Current athletic director and girls basketball head coach Randy Mefford announced his retirement in February. Stone said he plans to begin practicing with the basketball team at the end of May and will assume the athletic director position July 1. He said he will be calling Mefford soon to set up a meeting.

Stone said he first heard about the job opening from an email sent out to area coaches by Mefford. He said he was interested in coming to Carroll County because he wanted to continue coaching basketball at a Class A school, and the job offered the possibility of also being selected as the athletic director.

Principal John Leeper said 16 applications were filed with the school district and 25 resumes were received for the head coaching position. A selection committee interviewed six people for the position, on April 16 and 18, both locals and out-of-towners.

“What really stood out in the interview was his attention to detail, the organization and the understanding that your system is determined by the talent that is available to you,” Leeper said. “We believe, under his leadership, our community will see a hard-working, tough-nosed team who will do what it takes to be competitive against most every opponent they will face. He’s been a part of rebuilding programs, and he is known for taking teams with average talent and putting a competitive product on the floor.

“He’s a man with great integrity and a man with great heart, and he believes in developing his players into young ladies. His teams will work hard in the off-season to maximize every ounce of talent that is available in each player.”

After selecting Stone for the head basketball position, Leeper said they turned their attention to athletic director. A new selection committee was chosen to avoid any bias, he said.

Stone had inquired about the AD job during his interview for basketball coach and was among four candidates interviewed on May 2.

Leeper said Stone’s references said, “he is an incredible communicator and great organizer, very detail-oriented.”

Stone’s nomination was referred to the board of education and was approved at its meeting April 26, Leeper said.

Stone met with members of the girls basketball team last week. He said he hopes to start practicing May 22 if the gym is available.

He described himself as a defensive-minded coach first.

“I think defense can make up for a deficiency of talent at times. If you play good defense, you give yourself a chance to win,” Stone said. “… You have to work hard to be a good defender, so it teaches you a good work ethic. Defense is desire.”

Hard-nosed defense will be the focus when determining playing time for his team. “That’s the number one thing for me is how well you play defense.”

In addition to being athletic director and coaching, Stone also will be teaching freshman science. He graduated from Georgetown College in 1992 and has a dual masters from Western Kentucky University in education and biology. He also has his Rank One in administration from WKU.

Balancing his new three-pronged position will take organization, Stone said, but that he will be a “teacher first.”

As athletic director, Stone said he wants to see all of the Carroll County sports be competitive.

For the basketball team, he wants to see them improve from last year and continue to get better as the season progresses.

“Work hard and play good defense,” he said. “I love the challenge (of coaching). I love seeing student-athletes grow and improve and the satisfaction they get of doing something well, (like) pulling off that big upset. I love pulling off a big upset. It makes it all worthwhile. I knew I wanted to coach since I was about five years old.”

Stone said he enjoyed his time at Bardstown High School and coaching the girls, but he is ready for a new challenge. He said he felt being an athletic director was the next step in his career.

“I’d gone from being a freshman coach to a JV coach to a head coach, and I’ve always wanted to be one,” he said. “I thought it would be a really good challenge in the right situation. I’ve coached six different sports in high school already. … I think my experience with other sports and my experience in general will help me.”