By Gene Stanley/Sports Correspondent
It took Southside High boys basketball coach Kevin Troup only 10 and a half seasons to eclipse the 200-victory mark.
Just past the midway point of the 2012-13 season, his Panthers defeated Class 5A, Area 10 foe Etowah for his 200th win.
Five of those seasons were at Emma Sansom, where he went 98-32.
“I’ve been really blessed with phenomenal assistant coaches and players,” he said. “The communities and administrators at both schools have been terrific. They’ve backed me 100 percent in everything we’ve done with the teams.”
Southside won its second straight Etowah County Schools Tournament last Saturday (Jan. 19) when the Panthers beat Hokes Bluff, who currently is ranked sixth in Class 4A.
The Panthers have a good shot at hosting the area tournament. A win against Fort Payne on Jan. 25 would seal the deal.
And to make all that success sound even better, the youth programs at Southside are flourishing.
Troup said that around 100 Southside kids play in the Gadsden Summer League.
He said that most people felt that the 2012-2013 version of the Panthers was a year away from being contenders. Instead, they’ve grown to the point they are to be taken seriously this season and next.
“We’re playing a lot of sophomores and juniors,” he said.
“They’ve stepped up and answered the call. They were already battle tested from last season, and now they’re hungry. Their basketball IQ is growing at an incredible rate, too.”
Troup has the distinction of being the last basketball coach at Emma Sansom. He got the varsity job in 2001 when legendary coach George Baker retired and stayed until the school closed in 2006.
“It was great being head coach at my alma mater,” Troup said. “And now, you couldn’t ask for a better situation than what I’m in right now.”
And there’s one little detail that is easily overlooked when talking about the success of a coach – his wife.
“There’s no way I can take credit for anything without mentioning Holly,” Troup said.
“There’s no telling how many things she’s done behind the scenes. And my assistants – they’ve been great too.”
Current Gadsden City High assistant football coach Ali Smith was Troup’s assistant at Emma Sansom. Troup presently has Scott Elkins, Chad Holderfield and David Nunn.
“Any coach is only as good as his assistants,” Troup said.