This collection began with the Kentucky Oral History Commission’s effort to establish oral history programs in each of the state’s 120 counties. County libraries worked with local volunteers to collect interviews. Since 1987, county oral histories have been generated primarily by recipients of technical assistance grants from the commission that provide training and equipment to volunteer interviewers. Interviews donated by independent researchers are also included. Original collection held at Kentucky Oral History Commission/Kentucky Historical Society. Access copies available at Lincoln County Public Library. Authorization must by granted by KHS to use or publish by any means the archival material to which the Society holds copyright.
This interview provided by WPBK-FM radio.
LINCOLN COUNTY ORAL HISTORY INTERVIEW
ROD WALDROUP INTERVIEWED BY PHIL PENDLETON
August 12, 2013
Mr. Pendleton: I am here talking to Rod Waldroup for the next segment of this project. Where did you attend high school?
Mr. Waldroup: I attended high school at Waynesburg Memorial. And, it was…I graduated in 1966 and we played basketball there. We were a small school and probably everybody that…in that area, are either…got Alzheimer’s or dead, and they probably don’t remember, but I can tell you we won the state championship and probably nobody would remember.
Mr. Pendleton: Wow; what year did you graduate?
Mr. Waldroup: I graduated in 1966.
Mr. Pendleton: Okay, and, what about college?
Mr. Waldroup: I went to college at Eastern Kentucky University and graduated in 1970 and went on and got my Masters there. And, from there went on and started teaching at three elementary schools and then I ended up at Highland Elementary and coached elementary basketball, and from there I went on to the high school.
Mr. Pendleton: Talk about…were you involved in the coaching of the girls’ team at the high school?
Mr. Waldroup: Yes, I was. When I first went up there, I think it was the second year of the school, I helped Virgil Benge, as assistant, and coached base…assisted baseball. And, later on, I was working with a good group of young kids and his daughter had just came in as a freshman or sophomore and he…he was kind of getting, maybe, a little burned out, and he wanted to switch, and I took the varsity and he took the JV for a while.
Mr. Pendleton: And, did you more or less switch places with Virgil Benge, then?
Mr. Waldroup: Yes, we did. We exactly switched. He took the junior varsity and I took the varsity.
Mr. Pendleton: And, then you became the head coach for nine seasons, is that right?
Mr. Waldroup: Yes, it is. I coached…I think it’s from eighty, eighty-one to eighty-seven, eighty-eighty, I believe is what it was.
Mr. Pendleton: Talk about your memories from coaching in that era. What was it like?
Mr. Waldroup: I had a lot of good memories. I had a lot of good players and good kids. It was good watching them grow up and become teachers and, you know, have the families of their own. It was just a real good experience. I met a lot of friends, and made a lot of friends, and then we lost a lot of friends, like…like, uh, I miss John, and all that he has done for the Lincoln County program; John Smith. You see, his dad, Cal, used to do interviews with us and come in and he’d use to…he contributed a whole lot to the youth. They’s a lot of people that probably don’t remember him and Bill Vaught, and all they did for the program and all they did for the county and around this area. But, it’s just good to have memories and…we had good teams. We didn’t win the region, we had to compete with Laurel and Pulaski before they split up, and they were pretty much state champions every year.
Mr. Pendleton: Do you think that the way the game is played today is a lot different than it was then?
Mr. Waldroup: It may be some different, but it was…I don’t know. They’re probably faster and probably shoot better. Back then, there were a lot of six foot girls and six two girls and they just took it down low and the post and scored. We always had five eight and five nine girls and sometimes it’s hard to stop them.
Mr. Pendleton: Wow; talk about why did you choose to stop coaching.
Mr. Waldroup: My kids were getting old enough that I needed to do a lot of things with them, and now they’ve got kids…well, my daughter’s got kids…I’ve got two grandkids, and I didn’t…I enjoyed it. I had…I wasn’t burned out. I still enjoyed it. I miss…I miss the situations and the kids and the games and the competition and all that and sitting here watching kids I coached kids’ play, and stuff like that, and it’s kind of…gets you wanting to do it every once in a while.
Mr. Pendleton: But, you continued teaching, is that right?
Mr. Waldroup: Yes, I did. I had…I was…I taught on to like ’98 and then I retired for one day and went to work in Harrodsburg for Kidd Glass Company and I’ve worked there ever since.
Mr. Pendleton: Now, John Kolasa followed you as coach, and he is the longest serving head coach in any sport at the high school. What did you think of what he did for girls’ basketball in Lincoln County?
Mr. Waldroup: John was a very intelligent person in basketball knowledge, and he worked really hard. He really helped the program. And, I’m really pleased the way the program has come along with him and Coach Story and Cassandra. I think they’ve done a tremendous job, and they’ve had a lot of success in the program and it’s really boosted our area and our program.
Mr. Pendleton: Now, when he took the girls to the Sweet Sixteen in Bowling Green, I think it was in 2000…was it in 2000, or 2001, I can’t remember which…was that the first time the program had been to the state tournament?
Mr. Waldroup: Yes, it was. It was the first time we’d been. We’d got beaten a few times in the region. I remember one time Pulaski County just barely beat us and they won the state championship and that was one of our better teams, and they were a real good ball team, but it…I was really pleased with the way they finally broke the barrier and they did well.
Mr. Pendleton: I guess you…do you follow the girls in their recent successes? Any thoughts about how the county rallied behind them and got behind them and pushed them on and got just as excited about them going as, say, like the boys team would go?
Mr. Waldroup: I think, yeah, he has a lot of good kids and good players, and it’s exciting to watch these good players play. The county did. And, I mean, everybody talked about how good they were and how well they were playing. And, they…they were…after they won the region, they were expected to win again, and they had a lot of pressure on them, and they came back and proved a point and won. Cassandra has done a real nice job.
Mr. Pendleton: Any other memories of any other sports in Lincoln County? Or any other thoughts…I guess, that’s kind of a loaded question, I guess.
Mr. Waldroup: I don’t know. I coached…assistant coached in baseball for years and enjoyed that, even driving the bus with them and stuff like that. I just miss the kids, you know, like when you’re someplace and they holler at you, hey, coach, how you doing, and stuff like that. Now, you are somebody’s daddy or somebody’s uncle or something like that, and they don’t know you like they did. It’s just different once you’re away from it and out of it for a period of time. You kind of lose the closeness of it. But, I just miss the situation of the kids and the referees and meeting people and the parents and all that.
Mr. Pendleton: Other than working on your roof, what do you do with your time these days?
Mr. Waldroup: I work full time at Kidd Glass Company in Harrodsburg. We do schools and hospitals and all different types of things like that; big storefronts and curtained walls and doors. I kind of got out of the pan and into the fire as far as physical work. I’m probably in better shape now than I have been the whole time, and older, but I work pretty hard, most of the time.
Mr. Pendleton: Okay; anything else you’d like to add? That’s all that I need.
Mr. Waldroup: No, I just…I’m just kind of proud of our county in a way for most sports, basketball, baseball, soccer. I’ve got a little grand-nephew that plays soccer, and we try to go and see him play. My grandkids are just like, oh, three…almost three and almost one, and I plan on spending a lot of time going to their games and stuff like that, and look forward to spending time with them and rest of my family. I appreciate the interview, and appreciate all the Smith family has done and the way they’ve pushed sports and pushed, you know, the youth in this county. And, I appreciate you, too, Phil.
Mr. Pendleton: All right.
Mr. Waldroup: Thank you a lot.
Mr. Pendleton: Well, thank you, I appreciate that.
END OF INTERVIEW