Henderson County girls basketball coach Jeff Haile retiring after 37 years
HENDERSON, Ky. (WFIE) - Henderson County girls basketball head coach Jeff Haile is retiring after more than three decades at the helm of the program.
14 Sports talked to the longtime Colonels’ coach as he reflects back on his career.
37 years is a long time to do just about anything, and that realization came to Haile recently. After over three decades on the sidelines leading Henderson County, he announced his retirement on Thursday.
“You get towards the end of a career in anything, just like teaching was the last four or five years, I’m like, ‘Okay, I’m seeing the light at the end of the tunnel,’ or I’m waiting for that little voice in my head to tell me that it’s time, and it’s kind of been getting there,” Haile said. “It’s gotten more towards the top of my list in my head, in thinking you know, I think it’s time to step down and try to do some other things – retire from coaching for right now and just enjoy my grandkids, go to ball games.”
Taking over the girls basketball program in 1986, the Henderson County High School graduate quickly established a winning culture at his alma mater. During his tenure, Haile led the Lady Colonels to 821 career victories, which ranks as the second most wins by any head coach in the state of Kentucky.
His teams not only excelled in the regular season, but in the postseason too. Henderson County advanced to the semifinals of the KHSAA Sweet 16 this past season, capping a stretch in which he guided the Colonels to 10 trips to the Sweet 16 over the last 11 years.
“The kids have bought into the philosophies of what we try to do is work hard, play hard, get the job done in the classroom, and do what you’re asked to do and be a good person on and off the floor,” Haile said. “That’s what we’ve instilled in the players that I’ve coached, and I hope we’ve made a positive influence on them.”
For Haile, it was a dream job for him to be able to coach at his alma mater.
“Played here from 1974 to 1978 and graduated from here, so hometown for me,” Haile said. “You don’t see it a whole lot, somebody coming back to their hometown and coaching the duration here, but it was just something I kept doing and time flies. And it’s been a great thing for me and my family. You always hear people say you know when it’s time, and I think it’s time. So that’s what I’m going to do.”
Haile was inducted into the Kentucky High School Basketball Hall of Fame in 2022.
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