By STEVE CORNELIUS
Pulaski County High School athletic director Randy Elmore passed away on Tuesday morning after a lengthy battle with cancer.
"He (Elmore) has always been a great mentor to kids, looked out for kids," said Pulaski County Schools Superintendent Steven Butcher and longtime friend to Elmore. "He’s always tried to do everything the right way. He’s an individual that I think has a great deal of respect from everyone. He’ll be sorely missed in the community as a mentor and a friend."
Elmore had served as Pulaski County High School athletic director for the past seven years. During his tenure at Pulaski County High School, the county school's athletics excelled in most areas and many of the school’s athletic facilities were improved under Elmore’s direction.
As an athlete, Elmore was a All-Region basketball player at Russell County High School in the mid 80’s.
After graduating from college, Elmore coached softball, football and basketball at both Casey County High School and Adair County High School before coming to Pulaski County.
Elmore coached softball at Pulaski and was an assistant coach on the Maroons basketball team before taking over as Pulaski’s athletic director. As athletic director, Elmore undertook the difficult job of managing the boys and girls 12th Region basketball tournament each year.
“At one point, there was talk about rotating the location of the region basketball tournament each year, but I think everyone soon realized how well a job Randy did of managing that tournament each year,” Southwestern High School athletic director Scott Gregory said. “So, that is a big reason the tournaments have stayed at Pulaski.”
Gregory also gave credit to Elmore for his role in bonding the relationships between the two county schools’ athletic programs, as well as helping out his fellow associates.
“When I took over as athletic director a Southwestern, Randy was the AD at Pulaski,” Gregory recalled. “There is no manual on how to be an AD and I spent a lot of time on the phone with Randy with a lot of questions, and Randy was always available to help me.
“We worked at sister schools and our main objective was to strengthen the bonds between the two county schools,” Gregory said. “Randy was so easy to work with and he always looked for a positive solution, or a solution that best benefited the kids.
“Most importantly, I will miss Randy as a friend, but I will also miss that I will not be able to pick up the phone and call him with a question or just talk,” Gregory added. “I can’t put into words how much Randy Elmore will be missed.”
Throughout the history of Pulaski County High School and Somerset High School, the two schools across the road from each other sometimes found themselves in bitter rivalries. That was most definitely the case back in 2009 when there was a possibility of the county schools pulling out of Somerset’s season-opening bowl games. But Elmore’s tact and positive attitude helped the schools work out a positive solution for everyone involved.
“I had the utmost respect for Randy Elmore,” Somerset High School athletic director Bob Tucker said. “All the dealings we had over the years, Randy was straightforward and honest. A lot of time, athletic directors don’t get a lot of credit for patching up hard feeling between two rival athletic programs. With Randy, we could always talk out in the open about any problems we had between the two athletic programs, and he always worked for a positive solution.
“Randy Elmore is a wonderful example of Pulaski athletics and how they have evolved over the years under his direction,” Tucker stated. “I am going to miss Randy, and I think everyone who ever dealt with him will realize what a fine man he was.”
Elmore’s impact on Pulaski County High School, and the community as a whole, was far-reaching. Butcher had a longtime working relationship with Elmore, and saw firsthand Elmore’s impact on the kids as a role model and a leader.
“Randy and I go back a long ways,” Butcher stated. “We used to be co-workers in Casey County. I’ve known Randy a long time through teaching and coaching.
“ ... We’ll keep all of them (Elmore’s family) in our prayers,” Butcher added. “Within three or four minutes, I knew when it happened (Elmore passing). I went over yesterday afternoon and visited with him and his family. He was able to speak my name but was really weak.
“He and I were close friends,” Butcher concluded. “He and I had a lot of conversations since he’d been sick and I’ve never seen anyone fight so hard. He continued doing things he wanted to do. He’d get out of the house, go to ballgames. He wasn’t going to let this thing whip him. I can’t tell you how much respect I have for Randy Elmore and his family. It’s a huge loss for the school community.”