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Graves County High School announces removal of ‘interim’ from title of Eagles’ ‘head football coach’ for Nick Kemp

Graves County High School announced Thursday, Dec. 12, the promotion to head football coach of Nick Kemp. After seven years as an assistant coach, Kemp served as interim head coach this past season. That was due to the sudden resignation of Morgan Cruce, after only a few months on the job. 

As interim head coach, Kemp led the Eagles to a 7-5 record and the second round of Kentucky High School Athletic Association Class 5A playoffs, before losing to Owensboro. 

“It’s been a long year, you know, but it’s been a great year,” Kemp told reporters after the announcement. “.. when they made me interim, I wanted that opportunity. I love this position and I love this program. This is where I wanted to be. We had a pretty good season. We had some lumps and I, obviously, wanted to do better. But, I felt like I did enough to put myself in good running for the head coach job. Now, going through the interviewing process, I’m happy with the way things turned out. I’m excited about it.” 

Asked about removal of the term “interim” from his title and the season ahead, he responded, “I have full support from the administration. I think they know we’re losing some key seniors, so this season might not look like it should or this season might be amazing. We don’t know, but I think I’ll be more relaxed to do some things that maybe I wasn’t able to do last year.” 

Kemp praised his assistants. “It’s a great coaching staff right now. So, I think we’ve got a pretty good foundation,” he said. In the coming season, it’s about growing their mindset and together, collaborating to make adjustments.

An audience of current and former Eagle football players and supporters filled much of the Independence Bank Performing Arts Center inside Graves County High School.  In opening the announcement event, principal Alison Gregory, athletic director Khristain Elliott, and later Kemp himself noted the primary goal of the football program is to help players, as they grow as young men into adult responsibility and character.

Graves High’s first head coach Jay Buckley attended the event to lend his support. He, along with other alumni players and coaches reflected the long-term commitment and pride they and others take in extending the program’s legacy. Kemp, perhaps best summarized that dynamic himself. “This is where I want to be,” the former Eagle player told reporters. “I truly love it here and this program means so much to me.” 

(photo captions)
Graves County High School presented interim head football coach Nick Kemp officially as the school’s head football coach henceforth at a news conference at the school Thursday, Dec. 12. Pictured here, from left, are principal Alison Gregory, athletic director Khristain Elliott, Kemp, original Eagle head coach Jay Buckley, and former head coach Lance Gregory. 

A large crowd attended the news conference and cheered the announcement. Comprising that crowd were media representatives as well as current and former players, administrators, teachers, and students.
(photos by Paul Schaumburg, Graves County Schools)

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