BREAKING NEWS: Belcher accepts Ryle's head boys basketball coach position
Keaton Belcher officially accepted the Boys Basketball Head Coach position at Ryle High School on Sunday morning.
"Pendleton County will always hold a special place in my heart. Obviously, it was a difficult decision, but it was a family decision. I'm thankful for the 20 years that I've spent in the PC school system; K-12 as a student and seven years as a teacher/coach," said Belcher. "Pendleton County is a basketball community and has the best fan support. I appreciate all of the kind words from former players and support staff. I will always be a Pendleton Fan. Go Cats!"
Belcher was a key player on the 2005 Wildcat Basketball team that made the trip to Rupp Arena for the Sweet 16. He played his collegiate career at Belmont University and started his high school coaching career at Ravenwood High School at girls junior varsity coach after one year as a graduate assistant at Eastern Kentucky University. He came home to Pendleton County and coached one year as freshmen coach and one year as junior varsity coach.
Belcher assumed the Head Coach role in 2014-15 after serving as an assistant for Ed Cravens. That first season his team posted a 15-17 record and improved their win total each year, culminating in 2017-18 with a 24-8 record.
The Wildcats finished the 2018-19 season 10-18 including a first round district loss to Harrison County but it was a season of "what if." Senior Dontaie Allen who would later be named Kentucky's Mr. Basketball suffered a season-ending ACL tear on December 22 against Cooper High School. Ironically, a team that will become a district rival for Belcher's new team.
After winning 9 of the first 12 games of the season, the Cats would only win once more after the Allen injury. They would finish the season 10-18 and it is the only season his teams did not win 15 games or more.
He finished his coaching career at Pendleton County with 83 victories against 72 losses placing him fourth on the all-time win list. Phillip Wood (276), Gary Turner (104) and Buddy Biggs (102) are in front of him. He passed Chad Simms this year who he will be joining in the Boone County school district.
His teams hoisted the 38th District championship three times, 2014-15, 2015-16 and 2017-18. The 2014-15 team made a run to the 10th Region semi-finals beating Augusta in the first round before falling to Campbeel County. In the 2017-18 season the Wildcats lost a heartbreaking 51-50 game in the first round of the regional tournament.
The team Belcher will be moving to posted a 6-21 record this past season.
Off the court, Belcher just completed a seven-year project in recording the history of Wildcat and Ladycat Basketball as well as baseball and football. "We now have every score for every game ever played at PCHS for boys hoops and girls hoops," he said when releasing it.
Whomever is slated to become the next head coach of Pendleton County will have a varsity roster with 12 players returning led by Tredyn Thomas who average 11.9 ppg and Brett Booth averaging 8.7 ppg and 5.5 rpg. Ten returning players played in 17 or more varsity games this past season.