Milestone setting coach Lonnie Mason stepping down at LCHS
By Jim Turner


Posted on March 20, 2018 7:46 PM




The longest-serving head basketball coach in Logan County Cougars history is stepping down from that role. Coach Lonnie Mason told his team Monday that he would no longer be their coach.

Mason has been the pacesetter in several categories for coaching LCHS boys basketball. They include being:

*the first LCHS alumnus to be named head coach the Cougars

*the first African American head coach for boys basketball

*the first to be the head coach for more than four seasons

*the only coach to win a district championship in the past 24 seasons

*the only coach to win two postseason games in the past 20 seasons

Lonnie Mason has been a fixture in Logan County sports for 16 of the past 28 years. After helping Adairville win the first of a streak of county middle school basketball championships, he arrived at LCHS in the fall of 1990. He ran track and played basketball for four years and football for one.

Additionally, he has been on the basketball staff for 12 years, evenly divided between assistant coach and head coach. He served as an assistant under coaches Jeff Rogers and Brandon Fisher for a year each and Harold Tackett for four years.

He has been head coach for six years, breaking the old record of four held jointly by the late Gerald Sinclair, who coached the Cougars to a state championship; by Dick Webb, who coached the 1993 team on which Mason played to the regional finals; and by Tackett, the only other coach to take the Cougars to region in these two decades. He has served as head coach six seasons.

As a high school athlete, he qualified for the state track meet three of those four years in both the 200-meter dash and the 4X100 relay. His gold medal attests to his having been a regional champion under Coach Jeff Stamps.

In addition to being part of that 1993 regional finalist team, he was a senior on Coach Chris Souder’s 1994 team, the last district championship Cougar squad until the Mason-coached 2015 district champs. Souder coached Mercer County’s girls to their second straight state championship this month, going 67-9 in the process.

Mason ran track for Coach Curtis Long’s Western Kentucky University team for four years, earning All-Sun Belt Conference honors.

Lonnie Mason has played under, coached under, and learned from some highly successful coaches.

As head coach, his teams won 63 games, highlighted by that 19-9 championship season three years ago and 15-14 this year.

This last season could have been the most disappointing for Lonnie Mason-coached Cougars. Logan had some big wins, including a sweep of Todd Central’s best team in several years and a victory over a good Glasgow squad in the late season. The Cougars were the number one seed in the district tournament on their home floor. It was the first time in memory that both Russellville and Franklin-Simpson went into the tournament with losing records in the same season.

With advantages in both talent and location, the Cougars and their fans had reason to believe they would advance to region.

Then they lost in the first round to Franklin. It was a painful blow.

“It did hurt,” Mason said. “I thought our guards were better than theirs, but they had more of an inside presence than we did. It was good to have a winning season, but disappointing that we didn’t make it to region.”

Lonnie Mason says he will now be able to spend more time watching his daughter, former Lady Cougar star Taleia Mason, run track her final two seasons for Brescia University. Many time his wife Shatoya has had to go alone because Lonnie has been tied up with basketball.

He also wants to spend more time with his mom, Bennie Margaret Mason, who is in a nursing home. He is her only child.

A little more rest could come in handy, too. All these years he has been working from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. at Ventra Plastics, sleeping a few hours, and then being at the gym from 2:45 p.m. until 7:30 or much later on game nights. Being on his feet so much, he has developed tendonitis, which he hopes will now get better. He will continue to work at Ventra.

“I’ve enjoyed the opportunity to coach all these years and to be a part of the lives of these guys, who are very special to me,” Mason says. “The relationships I’ve developed with the kids and then watching them graduate and become successful adults is something that means a lot to me.”

“Lonnie Mason is one of the most caring and kid-center coaches I’ve ever been around,” says LCHS Athletic Director Greg Howard.

Mason says the returning Cougars have a “great chance to do great things.” He notes that Coach Kevin Rayno’s junior varsity Cougars went 11-2 this year and have been dominating the freshmen district tournaments. “Our players no longer go into games expecting to lose,” Mason says.

Lonnie Mason concludes, “Most coaches don’t get the opportunity to come home to coach. I’m blessed”

 




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