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Remembering Jerry Patrick

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Local sports teams have lost one of the biggest super fans in the high school’s history.

Jackie Hamilton Patrick, better known as Jerry, passed away on September 5, at the age of 79 at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington. 

Jerry was a long-time volunteer assistant basketball coach for the Magoffin County school system.

During Coach Danny Adams’ fourth year of coaching the Magoffin County High School boys’ basketball team, he said they had noticed Jerry rarely missed a game or practice, so the coaches (Danny Adams, Don Cecil and David Patrick) talked and agreed to bring Jerry on as an assistant coach during the 1986-1987 school year and he remained that through Adams retiring in 2004.

Coach Adams described Jerry as a lifetime super fan of all Magoffin County High School sports, attending games and practices of every sport – not just basketball.

“Girls’ volleyball, football, it didn’t matter what it was, he would be there!” Adams said.

While there’s no official record, everyone the Independent talked to reiterated the same thing: no one has attended more Magoffin County High School events than Jerry.

“He’s a permanent fixture of Magoffin County High School sports,” Adams said. “He was a great sports fan. Basically, he was a legend in his time as a sports fan of Magoffin County High School. He loved the kids and loved to see them do well. He was a legend in his time.”

Jerry loved the sports, but cared about the well-being of the students.

“He was out and around a lot and if they were running with a bad influence or a tough crowd, he would just tell them or come tell me,” Adams said. “He would interrupt everything to make sure they were alright. He cared about their well-being, not just sports-wise, but he wanted to see them do the right thing. He was a very positive influence to the kids and to us.”

Coach David Patrick said, “In the mid-90s, he became my assistant coach of the junior varsity team and served in that capacity until 2003 when I retired. We had mutual respect for each other and were successful as a team. He enjoyed the wins that we had against our district opponents.”

Adams detailed a story Jerry had told him, detailing how he was paralyzed in a car accident when he was in high school on a “skip day,” when he wrecked while going to the lake.

“He didn’t use his disability and would be offended if anyone else brought it up or tried to make concessions for him,” Adams said. “If practice was at 6 a.m. or 10 p.m., he would still be there. He traveled all over the country.”

Coach Patrick said Jerry drove his handicapped-equipped vehicle to every away game and they often scouted together. 

“We traveled many miles and had lengthy conversations about opposing teams, game strategies and the goals we had for each of the players,” Patrick said. “He could be found discussing with each player their strengths and weaknesses in his own straight forward way. He was one that never minced words when you asked him for his opinion.”

Later in their coaching career, they had another person join them on their travels to games and scouting, with Jay Howard sharing many trips with David and Jerry.

“One of his proud moments was being able to enjoy sitting on the bench with the Lady Hornets at the state tournament,” Coach Patrick said.

Current MCHS Boys’ Basketball Head Coach Scott Castle told Mortimer Media Group that Jerry remained very active in Magoffin County high school sports, still volunteering with his team and remaining a “permanent fixture at the end of the bench.”

For the last several years while Castle has been coach, he noted that Jerry would be at all home games and traveled to most away games. He came to practice practically every day.

“He would pull kids off to the sidelines when he would see them do something wrong or if there was a better way to do something,” Castle said of Jerry’s recent involvement with the team. “He was very vocal, straight-forward and honest with the kids.”

Adams noted that Jerry’s life should be celebrated.

“Today is a sad day for Magoffin County, but Jerry’s life needs to be celebrated,” Adams said. “He made a lot of contributions to the youth of Magoffin County and that will be remembered. We’re just thankful for the time we had with him.”

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Heather Oney

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