Vaught's Views: Garrard will miss Compton

September 27, 2004|LARRY VAUGHT

There could be no better place to have Jerry Compton's funeral than the Garrard County High School gymnasium because so much of his life was devoted to Garrard athletics.

Compton, 58, died Thursday after collapsing at Garrard Middle School where he was dean of students, athletics director and teacher.

But his death was felt, and will continue to be felt, at far more than just the middle school because he had touched so many lives in Garrard County.

Girls basketball coach Jenny Teater, a former Garrard player, says she has never known Garrard County basketball without him.

"He contributed so much to the sports programs here at Garrard County whether it was driving a bus or being a head coach," said Teater. "He coached boys basketball at Lancaster Elementary. He coached at the high school with coach (Ken) Hurt for several years before coming back and helping me last year."


That was Compton. When it came to Garrard County sports, if someone needed help, he was probably going to be there.

"He helped coach football for several years and was recently keeping the clock," Teater said.

Wait. There's more.

"He was the girls tennis coach for years as well," Teater, also a former Garrard tennis player, said. "He has recently been driving the bus for the football and baseball teams."

Teater says Compton was the one who got former Garrard standout Crystal Parker "her very first basketball when she was only in the first grade."

Somehow, that doesn't surprise me. That's just the way Compton was.

I couldn't remember if Compton had helped Jerry Perry when Perry was head football coach at Garrard. I knew Compton coached football, but he wore so many different coaching hats that I couldn't remember exactly which coach he had helped and when.

"He did help me and I don't remember ever hearing anyone say a bad thing about him," Perry said.

How could they? Compton almost always had a smile on his face and something good to say. Win or lose, he saw the best in Garrard athletics and was always optimistic about what the next competition would bring.

Compton got as excited about tennis as he did football and enjoyed seeing the baseball team win every bit as much as he did a basketball victory. To him, there were no minor sports. No, in Compton's eyes, every Garrard sport was important and that's what made him so special.

I know I'm going to miss him any time I'm in Garrard County, but there's no way his memory won't live on because of all he's done.

"I can't tell you how much a part of Garrard County sports he was and will remain," Teater said. "He was an outstanding man, coach, teacher and member of the church and community. I can't express the influence that he had in my life."

Don't worry because it's a sentiment many, many others have today, too, as we try to say good-bye to someone we are all going to miss immensely because he truly understood how to use sports to help touch young lives and enjoyed every minute of doing so.

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