A Coach's Story

Lexington’s Sutherland says
his first love was basketball

He took Gallatin County to
Sweet Sixteen Tournament

By Helen E. McKinney
Contributing Writer

WARSAW, Ky. (March 2010) – During his colorful career as a high school coach, Charles “Jock” Sutherland took Gallatin County to the Sweet Sixteen in 1959. Basketball had always been his first love, one with which he never could sever ties.
Born on March 14, 1928, Sutherland grew up near the University of Kentucky’s Alumni Gym and Memorial Coliseum. This geographical placement took effect on Sutherland, molding him for a future that would place him forever amidst his passion, basketball.
At a young age, Sutherland would often sneak into Alumni Gym to watch Kentucky basketball practices conducted by legendary coach Adolph Rupp. Little did he dream he would one day be inducted into the Kentucky Athletic Hall of Fame in 1999.

Sutherland Book

Photo provided

Stuart Warner and
Jock Sutherland will
hold a book signing
at the Gallatin Co.
Public Library on
March 11.

Knowing a thing or two about basketball, Sutherland played high school basketball at Lafayette High School in Lexington, Ky., under Coach Ralph Carlisle. He started there as a sophomore in 1945, and two years later as a senior he was the team’s leading scorer. Encouraged by Carlisle, Sutherland decided to become a high school coach and went on to become one of the most successful coaches in Kentucky High School basketball history.
Sutherland proceeded to the college level by becoming an assistant coach under C.M. Newton at the University of Alabama. While there he made headlines in 1969 when he recruited Wendell Hudson, the first black student to participate in varsity sports for the university.
He returned to Lafayette as a teacher and coach for 14 years. His Lafayette team won the state tournament in 1979, after which Sutherland retired from coaching. For the next 20 years, he worked as a Basketball Color Analyst for the University of Louisville Cardinals on WHAS sports broadcasts.
A new book has been written about Sutherland: “Jock: A Coach’s Story,” by Stuart Warner. Both men will appear for a discussion and book signing at 7 p.m. on March 11 at the Gallatin County Public Library, located at 209 W. Market St., in Warsaw.
Warner said the book “started out to be one thing 30 years ago.” He said Sutherland is a colorful character and he had written seven or eight chapters on the book before stopping.
He took the project up a few years ago in March 2007 when he went to meet former players from the Gallatin High School team. “He was still Coach to them,” said Warner. “He made them young again.”
Warner said finishing the book was something he knew he needed to do to “get deeper into this person and his impact on young boys.” He wanted to present a “fuller picture of a man who had touched a lot of lives.”
Warner met Sutherland during a brief stint as a player at Lafayette. Sutherland left to go to Alabama and Warner became a sportswriter for the local paper after graduating. Over the years, Warner said he became better as a writer, one that could now provide a more in-depth picture of a man who had inspired so many around him.
Warner said the book was a “joint project. The coach played a big part throughout the entire project.”
The man who became a father-figure to so many over the years grew up without a father, said Warner. Sutherland’s father, an alcoholic, left when he was only 2 months old.
But Sutherland had a great effect on all those around him. Monty Roberts was one of the players on the Gallatin High School team in 1959. He said that after he graduated, “My dad and the Coach were the two men I modeled my life after. Jock pushed me outside my limits.”
Roberts, 69, has contacted all of his former teammates and hopes they will all attend the book signing to support Sutherland. “We love him,” said Roberts. Sutherland will celebrate his 82nd birthday on March 14.
“He was pretty strict when we were playing ball,” said Roberts. “But he did us a favor.” Roberts said Sutherland would explain he was strict because he was trying to “pull the potential out” of his players.
Roberts has read “Jock: A Coach’s Story” and said the book is “very touching. It’s a good coaching story. There are moments when it brought tears to my eyes.”

• For more information, contact the Gallatin County Public Library at (859) 567-2786. Light refreshments will be served. The 270-page book is available through local bookstores, online through Amazon or Barnes & Noble, from Sutherland’s website at www.JockSutherland.com, or directly from the publisher at www.windpub.com/books/jock.htm.

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