Messer says it’s ‘time to step down’

Posted April 28, 2022 at 8:58 am


Clinton County High School Head Boys’ Basketball Coach, Todd Messer, announced last week that it was time for him to step away from the program that he has built into one of the most highly regarded programs in the 4th Region, as well as across Kentucky.

Messer officially told the Clinton County News of his decision on Thursday afternoon of last week, shortly after he said he told Clinton County Schools Interim Superintent Paula Little that he was resigning from the position.

During an earlier conversation with Clinton County News Publisher Al Gibson, the head coach indicated he felt it might be time to step away from the program, and currently he has no immediate plans to leave Albany and Clinton County.

He also acknowledged that if the right offer came his way, and he and his family felt it was to their benefit, he could possibly be found on the bench again sometime in the future.

Messer has occupied the head coach position for the boys’ team for the past 16 seasons, coming to Clinton County High School beginning with the 2006-07 season.

The veteran head coach will leave the program with an overall record here of 314 wins against 166 career losses.

During his tenure as the Bulldogs’ head coach, Messer coached his squads to appearances in 13 4th Region Basketball Tournaments, with seven 16th District Championships, including this past season, finishing that 2021-22 campaign with a 22-9 overall record.

Last year’s season marked the ninth 20 game win season Messer coached the Bulldogs to during his 16 year reign.

In addition, during his career, Messer coached his teams to six runner-up titles in the 16th District, six All “A” Classic 4th Region Championship titles as well as two runners-up titles in the All “A” Classic 4th Region.

In the 2020-21 season, his Bulldogs advanced to the All “A” Classic State Tournament Championship game, falling to St. Henry.

Messer also became the all-time winningest head coach in Clinton County High School history during the 2020-21 season, when he picked up his 274th victory as the Clinton County head coach, surpassing the late Lindle Castle, who ended his 19 year career in 1980 with 273 victories against 216 career losses.

Messer was also honored for that achievement on the Kentucky Senate Floor with a resolution that was presented by Kentucky Senator Max Wise (R-Campbellsville).

He has become one of the most respected high school coaches within the ranks of the 4th Region as well as across the state for the accomplishments he hasled Clinton Count to during his 16 year run here on the bench.

During the past 16 years, Clinton County has ranked third among the 17 schools across the 4th Region in comparing wins and losses, with Messer’s 314-166 record, reflecting a winning percentage of .654.

That mark for the past 16 years, trails only Bowling Green with 419-133 (.788) and Warren Central with 368-137 (.729).

Messer came to Clinton County High School after a three year run as the head coach at Fleming County High School in eastern Kentucky.

Prior to that, he served as an assistant coach at his alma mater Clay County High School, where he played high school basketball for legendary head coach the late Bobby Keith.

Messer is the Principal at the Foothills Academy in western Clinton County, a position he continues to hold.

He and his wife, Amanda, and their two daughters, Lexi and Aubrie, reside in west Albany.

In response to a request from the Clinton County News to issue a statement in his own words regarding his time as the head coach of the boys’ basketball program at Clinton County High School, Messer released the following statement Monday afternoon:

Dear Bulldog Basketball Community,

On April 22, I submitted my resignation as boys’ basketball coach of Clinton County High School. In this bittersweet moment, I was flooded with numerous emotions and memories of the last 16 years. Thus, I thought it appropriate to try and put some of my thoughts to paper.

First and foremost, I think of the countless players that I have been blessed to coach. These young men gave all of us every ounce of their energy to make our school and community proud. Through their sheer will and desire, we were able to carve out a path to the upper echelon of our region, becoming recognized state-wide as a formidable program, while winning games and championships in a first-class manner. I love each of these kids deeply and I hope, they made our community as proud as they did myself and our coaches. They exemplified and modeled our team motto of “PHD” (Pride, Heart, and Determination) and I will be forever grateful and look forward to watching their continued successes in life.

As for our coaching staff of Mike Beard, Leighman Messer, Nick Irwin, Storm Burchett for all 16 years, and Jack Gibbons, Trey Bowling, and Jared Bertram, who also spent time on the bench, words do not do justice to describe how good each are as coaches and role models for young men. Nor do the words “Thank You” seem enough. They have all been so very hard-working, devoted, and loyal to not only our program but my family. I believe our consistency as a staff and love for each other may have been the most important pillar as we built the program together. Each of them will always have my unwavering loyalty. In addition, the opportunity to coach with Dad, is something I will always treasure. Likewise, I have been blessed with great working relationships with our girls’ coaches through the years.

This basketball community is second to none. I am so very thankful for our support staff through the years of Al Gibson, Mark Thrasher, Michael Whittenburg, Lucas Thacker, Darrell Thompson, Jamie Miller, and Kevan Young. The old saying “it takes a village” is especially true when having a successful program. I am very appreciative of the time they donated in being the best game managers in this state.

I owe a special thank you to Brett Gibson, Sid Scott II, Lynn Starnes, and “The Voice” Sid Scott for all their efforts in recognizing our student athletes on the airwaves and in print. In addition, I appreciate all the support of the administrators I have worked under through the years beginning with Mickey McFall, David Warinner, and Mike Reeves who decided to hire a mountain boy from Clay County. Likewise, I can’t say enough about the generosity of our community in supporting all our endeavors. I am so thankful to the businesses that have been so financially generous in sponsoring all our events, including the Twin Lakes Holiday Classic, which has now reached its 15th year, and our annual Bulldog Auction.

I have been asked countless times over the last few days, “why now?” The simplest answer is the only one I have; I just feel it is time. As I told our team, I have no doubt we were going to win next season and keep our spot at the top of the district, All A, and region. I have been a high school basketball coach for 26 consecutive seasons, and I have relished, embraced, and enjoyed each of them. While I intend to coach again someday, for now my focus will shift to being with my family.

I have been blessed with a very supportive family and in turn it is my time to be a better Husband, Father, and Son. Amanda, Aubrie, and Lexi have sacrificed so much for my career as a coach without ever complaining or questioning. Their answer was always to just adopt a new team and new kids into our family year after year. However, the number of activities I have missed has continued to grow to the point, I am not willing to miss them any longer. Amanda has been the perfect coach’s wife and I am thankful for her every day, so it is time for me to do my share. For my girls, this is their home and the only one they have ever known. Words can’t describe how I value all of those who have been good to them and the players who have treated them as sisters all these years. Also, I am thankful for the many miles Mom and Dad have driven through the years, so I am looking forward to being able to go home to them more, as with Amanda’s parents.

In closing, I offer one final Thank You to everyone who has been a part of our program in any capacity or has attended and supported us in anyway. I count it as a gift and blessing to have been the Head Boys’ Basketball Coach at Clinton County.



Todd Messer

April 25, 2022