Jul.6 – To demonstrate his Bath County credentials, Larry Bowling says: “I remember when Chris Swartz played.”

Bowling was also on the scene for the Wildcats 6-6 season last fall — a nice bounce back from a winless 2020 season — as an assistant coach. He builds on those experiences as he takes charge of the Bath County Big Chair.

“Hopefully being local, me being from here, I think I have a better understanding of some things,” the new Wildcats coach said. “I know these boys. I know them well. I know their families. Some of their family members I even played ball with.”

Bowling, who graduated from Bath County in 1995, replaces the late Chris Lane. Bowling came on board as an assistant to the Wildcats when Lane took over mid-season in 2020 for Johnny Poynter and remained on the staff last fall.

Bowling has coached many of the current Wildcats in professional junior (youth) football and at the college level with Lane, who was the Bath County college coach before being promoted to the university level.

“I think we have a lot of talent this year,” Bowling said. “A lot of our young guys are going to have to step up and play bigger roles because we lost a lot of seniors last year. … I think they are capable of doing that. We have a ball carrier who is strong in as beef (in Carter Hart), and we have receivers that can catch the ball.”

Because of these two elements, Bowling favors a strategy that would use both.

“I like spread, but I also like power football,” he said, “because we have good running back and we have a great line.”

Bowling was given the go-ahead on June 22, he said — three days before the start of the KHSAA’s two-week blackout period. It’s a little later in the offseason that’s ideal for replacing a football coach, but Bowling doesn’t hold it against Lane, who left for an assistant coaching position at Kentucky Christian University.

“I’m not mad at Chris Lane. I think Chris Lane’s world,” Bowling said. “Chris Lane had an opportunity. I explained to the boys, ‘When you’re in high school, you kind of live in the moment, but when you’re a grown man with a family, you start to see the big picture. do what’s best for your family, and that’s what Chris wanted, to be a collegiate coach, so don’t blame him for chasing one of his dreams. chasing the dreams they started, in time.”

That said, the constant turnover in the Wildcats’ program lately has “been shaking the boys’ heads,” Bowling said. His plan is to alleviate this at the end of the dead period, which prohibits any contact between coaches and athletes.

“We’re going to come in and we’re going to talk, and if we need to fuss or complain or complain or whatever, let’s get it out of our system,” Bowling said with a laugh. “And I think they have the right to do that. Some of them have been working for a long time and I respect what they do. I think everyone needs to vent once in a while. I do .

“But once we’re done, we have to put that behind us and get together as a team and start playing ball.”

Bath County athletic director Michael Melton said the Wildcats were “extremely lucky and excited” to be moving forward with bowling.

“We’re confident that Coach Bowling will continue to build on the positives of last season and give us the sense of stability and continuity as the program grows stronger,” Melton said. “There’s a lot of excitement on ‘The Hill’.”

Bowling, 45, is retired from the Kentucky State Police and works as a School Resource Officer in the Bath County District. Three of his older brothers also played for the Wildcats. He attended Morehead State.

Bowling is married to Jessica. They have three sons: Austin, 18, Alan, 15, and Alex, 3.

Alan is a rising sophomore who played in all 10 games for the Wildcats last year as a rookie.

The Wildcats are scheduled to open the season Aug. 19 at home against Fairview.

(606) 326-2658 — [email protected]

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