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Coach Aaron Speaks moves to No. 2 on Ladyhounds’ all-time wins list

Half of his program’s wins have come against schools size 4A and above

JUST KEEP PUSHING GUYS – Coach Speaks talks to his team during a timeout this season. Currently with a 6-17 record, Coach Speaks’ Ladyhounds have lost nine games this year where they had the lead in the final quarter but weren’t able to finish the deal. JENNIFER ARNETT I For The Citizen

 

IVAN K. RICE I doctorofsports@aol.com

 

PARIS – Back on January 27th of 2024, Ladyhound Head Basketball Coach Aaron Speaks became the program’s all-time second winningest coach when his team knocked off West Carter 60-52 inside Earl Redwine Gymnasium.

As of this writing, Speaks now has 133 wins as the Paris coach, trailing only legendary Coach Judy Cox, who finished her coaching career at Paris with 303 wins.  He did, however, moved ahead of Hall of Fame coaches Connie Appelman (129 wins) and Terence Brooks (105 wins). And had it not been for the shortened Covid season back in 2021, his win total would be a lot higher.

MAJOR ACCOMPLISHMENT – Coach Speaks has the luxury of knowing that his Paris team is the only district team to beat powerhouse George Rogers Clark over the last eight years. What’s even more impressive, the small class A school has done it twice, when GRC was ranked in the top 10 in the state. KRISTA BARNETT I File Photo

Speaks, who has been on the Paris staff since 2004, before taking over the program seven years ago, certainly hasn’t had his teams shy away from playing stiff competition and bigger schools, considering 63 of his program’s wins have come against schools size 4A and above. And he also has the luxury of knowing that his Paris team is the only team in the district to beat state power George Rogers Clark in the 40th district over the past eight years, and they’ve completed that very difficult task twice. His team also reached the 10th Region tournament in 2017 coming out of that very tough 40th District, while the 2022 team won the program’s eighth All A 10th Region title, advancing to the state tournament for small schools.  In addition, they’ve also won several holiday tournaments and classics.

A two-time 10th Region Coach of the Year selection, as well as a two-time KABC 10th Region Coach of the Year winner, Speaks’ team this season is struggling and rightfully so, after he lost four seniors and then three more potential starters who transferred to other schools shortly before the 2023-2024 season started, as well as another player that decided not to play. Had everyone returned off last season’s team, his Ladyhounds could’ve easily had more wins and another top five ranking in the region, a place his past five teams have spent with two rising to number one in the region and another ranked as high as No. 8 in the state.

“Give credit to all the kids that have played under me that have put in the hard work to bring success to our basketball program over the years and to my assistant coaches and support staff, who have put in countless hours to bring the best out of these kids,” Speaks said. “We all can share this!”

Despite the setbacks this season, when Coach Speaks, who is well respected by other coaches within the region, didn’t know if he would have enough players to even field a team, he still goes out everyday, works hard and plays the hand that he was dealt with minor excuses.

“When you lose as much as we did and being from a small school, it can put a dent in your program. We’ve lost a lot of games this season that we could’ve easily won and that’s because of our late game inexperience. Next year with a lot of our players returning and with the experience they’re currently gaining, we’ll be in a better position to win those close games.”

Speaks’ Ladyhounds are scheduled to return to the court tomorrow night (February 16) when they face Robertson County for senior night. Game time is set for 6:00.

ALL ‘A’ CHAMPIONS – Coach Aaron Speaks’ 2002 Paris Ladyhound team captured the All A 10th Region title in a come from behind win over favorite Bishop Brossart, which would be the program’s first small school region title since 2009.  WHITNEY GRAY WIGLESWORTH I File Photo

1 Comment

  1. Steve Lewis on February 15, 2024 at 11:32 am

    I am an avid supporter of Paris Greyhound and Ladyhounds Teams.
    I also am a friend and support Coach Speaks and what he has been able to accomplish with his teams. His support staff and family are a big part of what he has accomplished.
    Congratulations Coach on a job well done. Hoping for continued success.

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