Oldham County Day
UK women’s associate coach Elzy
to be honored
Hometown basketball hero started with Lady Colonels
(July 2017) – La Grange, Ky., native and former Oldham County High School basketball standout Kyra Elzy has been tapped to serve as grand marshal for the 2017 Oldham County Day parade, set for 10 a.m. Saturday, July 15, in La Grange. She will be honored by the community during the 47th annual Oldham County Day events and recognized at a luncheon in her honor on Tuesday, July 11, organized by The Project Guild of La Grange. The organization puts on Oldham County Day each year around the Oldham County Courthouse Square.
Oldham County Day – always the third Saturday in July – is designed to celebrate community pride and to create fun for all ages. The event serves as a reunion for classmates and neighbors, and has spawned a number of accompanying festivities, including a 5K race, street concert, children’s carnival and pancake breakfast.
Kyra Elzy and her husband, Dexter Lander, reside in Lexington, Ky., now that she has returned to coaching and recruiting for the Lady Wildcats women’s basketball team. Elzy was hired last year as an associate coach.
Tuesday’s grand marshal luncheon will be held at the John Black Community Center and sponsored by Republic Bank. The parade is being sponsored by TreeHouse Foods. Members of Project Guild choose a parade grand marshal by way of nominations from the community.
“We are thrilled to host Louisville Turners Circus performing with aerialists, acrobats, jugglers, unicycles, stilts, etc. at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. They're also joining the parade,” said Jackie Hack of the Project Guild.
“Crowd favorites will be there as well – like the Living Statues and the Oldham County Community Band.
Entertainment chair Victoria Motyka has also scheduled the Kizito Cookie Lady and County Kickers Line Dancers to perform.
A 1996 graduate of Oldham County High School, Elzy guided the Lady Colonels to four district championships, two regional titles and a state semifinals appearance during her prep career. She finished her high school career as one of the top girls’ basketball players in the state of Kentucky, totaling 3,020 points, 1,703 rebounds, 516 steals and 449 assists. She was the runner-up for Kentucky Miss Basketball.
Her outstanding prep career earned her induction into the Kentucky Lions Club Hall of Fame in 2009. She was inducted into the Kentucky Athletic Hall of Fame on June 2.
After high school, Elzy joined the University of Tennessee, where she helped guide the Lady Vols to two national championships and four Southeastern Conference regular-season titles under the late Pat Summitt, the nation’s all-time winningest coach. Elzy played 126 games for the Lady Vols, earning National Championship titles in 1997 and 1998.
Photo courtesy of Curt Edwards
Oldham County Day enters its 47th year in La Grange, Ky., where local and visitors alike can come to enjoy many community events, live music, entertainers, food, arts and crafts and a parade at 10 a.m. – this year featuring grand marshal and UK women’s associate basketball coach Kyra Elzy, a La Grange native.
Elzy became just the fifth freshman in Tennessee history to start her first game as a Lady Vol when she started at guard in the 1996-97 season opener against Austin Peay. She also earned another distinction during her playing career, becoming the first UT player to earn her master’s degree while still playing.
Elzy and her husband live in Lexington with their 1-year-old son.
She carried her love of the game into a career, coaching and mentoring student-athletes through women’s basketball programs at Virginia Tech (2001-02), Western Kentucky University (2002-04), University of Kansas (2004-08), University of Kentucky (2008-12) and Tennessee (2012-16).
She started her time in Lexington as an assistant coach before being promoted to associate head coach, when she ran Kentucky’s recruiting operation and produced unmatched results with three straight top-10 recruiting classes and four McDonald’s High School All-Americans. While at UK, Elzy helped the Cats advance to three straight NCAA Tournaments and two Elite Eight appearances.
But Elzy was lured back to her alma mater when Holly Warlick took over the Lady Vols program. Elzy served as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at the University of Tennessee. In 2015, she was promoted to associate head coach at Tennessee.
Elzy returned to the University of Kentucky women’s basketball coaching staff in May 2016. She was hired to join the Cats’ staff as an associate head coach.
Elzy could not be reached for comment about her selection as parade grand marshal. But retired La Grange Elementary School teacher Lucy Ricketts had plenty to say about Elzy. Ricketts had Elzy as a student in the second grade. She also lives next door to Elzy’s aunt and uncle, so she saw the young girl often. She recalls the aspiring basketball star to be “very quiet child but very talented and athletic. She has great family support, and it shows in her character.”
Regarding Elzy’s selection as parade grand marshal and Oldham County Day honoree, Ricketts said, “I think she’s an excellent choice. She is a true model for everyone in Oldham County that if you have a dream, you can make it come true.”
Rickett’s husband, Steve, coached the young Elzy on a T-ball rookie league team. “She ran like a gazelle,” Lucy Ricketts recalled.
In addition to her athletic skills, Elzy went on to obtain two college degrees. She holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s in cultural studies in education with an emphasis in sports psychology from Tennessee. Elzy married Dexter Lander in August 2012.
At 38, Elzy is younger than many grand marshals who have led the Oldham County Day parade. Her drive to succeed, her focus on education and her impact on young student-athletes made her nomination stand out to members of the Project Guild.
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