Commonwealth Journal

July 26, 2013

Denney, a 12th Region icon, gets award

National Boy’s Assistant Coach of the Year given to PCHS ‘86 title winner

by Doug Eads, CJ Sports Correspondent
Commonwealth Journal

Somerset —

Quite frankly, basketball has been his life.
When you think of the legendary coaches that have patrolled the sidelines in the 12th Region, a few names immediately come to mind — Dave Fraley, Rodney Woods, Joe Harper, Wade Upchurch, and Jerry Stephens to name just a few.
And, behind every good coach is a quality assistant coach, and this guy is as good as they get.
North Laurel assistant coach Roscoe Denney completed his 41st season as a basketball coach this past season, and he is a name that is quickly associated with basketball in the 12th Region.
And because of that, Denney recently was given one of the most coveted awards any coach would be glad to receive.
Back in June, Denney traveled to Des Moines, Iowa where he was named as the National Boy’s Assistant Coach of the Year — an honor for a man that was certainly deserving of this award.
In the 41 years Denney has spent coaching the game he loves, most of that tenure has been inside the 12th Region.
He was an assistant coach for Fraley and the Pulaski County Maroons, the year PC cut the nets down in Rupp Arena way back in 1986.
In 2005, he was an assistant coach at South Laurel, as the Cardinals brought home a Sweet 16 crown back home to London.
Through it all, Roscoe Denney has seen a little bit of everything, and he has been one of the top ambassadors for the sport of basketball over the years, especially inside the 12th Region.
It was Denney that did much of the leg work and got the 12th Region Basketball Coaches Association off the ground and running some 25 years ago. He wrote the by-laws, got everything organized, and got all the coaches inside the 12th Region on board and 100 percent behind the project.
And, it was Denney that helped organize and get the 12th Region Boy’s Basketball Hall of Fame up and going, working so tirelessly and diligently to get the stars of the past — players and coaches — as well as ambassadors and contributors of the sport the recognition they all deserved.
Plus, he has been a tremendous mentor throughout the years for players and young coaches alike — all traits that helped him reach a milestone in any coaching career back on June 26th at a banquet in Iowa.
“It is very special, especially when you’re recognized by your peers,” stated Denney, in describing how he felt after hearing his name called as the winner of the National Boy’s Assistant Coach of the Year.
“It not only included basketball coaches, but coaches in all sports,” Denney continued.
The 62-year old Denney got his start on the sidelines way back in 1972, coaching the middle school team at Richmond Model.
Denney has several ties to the Somerset-Pulaski County area, and two of those ties are names hoops junkies in our community are very familiar with.
Number one, he was an assistant coach on that state-champion Pulaski County team back in ‘86, but in his very first year on the job in ‘72 at Richmond Model Middle School, he coached a kid that went on to be a standout basketball player at Somerset High School.
“My first year at Richmond Model in 1972 I had a kid that played for me on that team by the name of Bobby Upchurch,” Denney recalled with a smile across his face.
“You could tell even back then that Bobby was going to be a very special player, and I can’t tell you how proud I am of Bobby and the type of player he was back then, and the type of person he is today,” Denney stated.
As far as hoops goes, Denney still remembers vividly just how special a team the Pulaski County squad was in the 1985-’86 season, when assistant coach Roscoe Denney was part of a magical ride that culminated in a state championship for the Maroons.
“That team was just a good mix of players, and everybody on that team was fundamentally sound,” pointed out the North Laurel assistant coach.
“Everyone played within themselves, and they were very coachable,” Denney added. “It was a storybook season. That group going into the Sweet 16 was ranked 13th out of the 16 teams in that field. They still have the record for a team that won a state title by the fewest point margin of victory — winning those four games by a total of 10 points.”
Of course the head coach of that Pulaski County squad was Dave Fraley, who Denney says still is a person that will always hold a special place in his heart.
“Dave Fraley taught me everything I know about basketball, life, and people,” stated Denney.
“When my mother passed away, I was living with Dave,” said Denney. “I was very lucky to have him there at that time in my life to help me through that. We all know that David was an outstanding basketball coach, but he’s an even better person. And, he was such a great psychologist as a coach. He knew how to handle players and people, and he always knew what to say and when to say it. I learned a great deal from him as far as how to coach the game of basketball.”
Coaching basketball is something that Denney has always excelled at, as is witnessed by a remarkable 41-year run that is still going.
Indeed, Roscoe Denney is the reigning National Boy’s Assistant Coach of the Year, but he will also be remembered in our area as a guy that helped lead PC to a state championship, was a great ambassador to the sport of basketball, and was a true friend of 12th Regional basketball for coaches and players alike.
As far as legacies go, it really doesn’t get much better than that.