There's a new sheriff in town.
After 25 years with Ray Graham directing the fortunes of Harrison County football, a new era was begun earlier this week with Aaron Stepp taking the reins of the Thorobreds.
Graham announced his retirement from public education, and with it turned in his whistle as Harrison County football coach, about a month ago. He will continue teaching and coaching, now in the private sector at Lexington Christian Academy.
In his first summer workouts with his new team on Monday, Stepp had 35 or so players show up.
"Those kids got together just by word of mouth," said Stepp. "Everything has been so hectic in the last week or so, it has been impossible to get everything done that needs to get done."
Stepp and his family are in the process of moving to Cynthiana from Clay County and are currently, in his words, "living out of boxes."
He is trying to contact players, both returning and prospective, put together his coaching staff, refurbish and rearrange the locker room/weight room, inventory equipment, and get his family settled in.
"It's an exciting time for me and my family, and I am so amazed at how well we have been received in Cynthiana," said Stepp. "Melissa (his wife) is amazed at how accommodating and helpful everyone has been toward us."
By all accounts, Stepp has hit the ground running and has made a favorable impression on players and coaches alike.
"Everybody is kind of standing around right now, because they don't know what I want them to do, don't know our terminology, don't know our drills-but that will all start to change pretty soon. I really like the coaching staff that we are gonna have and I really like our playerswe have a lot of talent among the players and a lot of know-how among the coaching staff."
With returning quarterback Van Isaac off to a couple of individual camps, and with several players still involved in baseball, Stepp really likes what the 2008 season may have in store for Harrison County football.
"The coaches told me there are maybe six to 10 kids not out with us yet that they think will be possible starters this coming season. If they are right, then I really like what I see, because the kids that are out right now are good looking kids and have some ability."
There will be a little Harrison County flavor in the East/West All Star game that will be played tomorrow night at UofL's Papa John's Stadium in Louisville.
Former Harrison County coach Ray Graham was selected to be the line coach for the East All Stars. Also, 2008 HCHS graduate Chris Young was added to the East Team as an offensive and defensive lineman. He arrived at the practice site for the two 33-member teams at Western Kentucky University on Tuesday.
"There was a late opening on the East Team and Chris was picked up to fill that slot," explained Graham. "He missed a couple of practices on Tuesday, but will be here in time to practice on Wednesday and Thursday and play on Friday night. I'm excited for Chris to have this opportunity to play in the All Star Game."
Another HCHS grad, Laura Kendall, will be recognized as a Balfour/Kentucky High School Coaches Association Scholarship winner at halftime of tomorrow's game as well.