ASHLAND, Ky. – Steve Towler, an outstanding educator and a former Boyd County High School basketball great, will be the honoree Saturday night for the 45th annual Elks Sports Day.
Towler, who graduated in 1963, is one of the most prolific scorers in Boyd County High School history, holding the scoring record for years and is currently No. 3 all-time with 1,653 points. He averaged 18 points and nine rebounds as a junior and 22 points and 12 rebounds as a senior. He was honorable mention All-State for three consecutive seasons.
Towler played at the University of Tulsa for two years before finishing his collegiate career at Rio Grande University.
He served as superintendent of five school districts in his career and was also the Boyd County judge-executive from 2015-18 and led the United Way of Northeastern Kentucky as executive director from 1999 to 2013.
Tickets are $30 and the event begins with a reception at 6 p.m. and dinner at 7 p.m.
Here is a year-by-year listing of Sports Day honorees:
1975: Jimmy Anderson, legendary high school football and basketball coach at Ashland. Coached the 1928 national champions.
1976: Ernie Chattin, played and coached football and basketball at Ashland High School and was longtime YMCA director.
1977: Ellis Johnson, played on ’28 national champions and was Adolph Rupp’s first All-American.
1978: Al “Fonse” Atkins, famed pro golfer who won several championships.
1979: James “Bo” McMillen, former 3-year UK quarterback and local YMCA director for 27 years.
1980: Dr. Leo Dickison, All-state football Tomcat and helped develop penicillin during medical career.
1981: Raymond C. “Chigger” Adkins, multi-sport athlete and also local softball star and basketball official.
1982: Fred Rigsby, basketball and football player for Tomcats and served 40 years in AHS school system.
1983: George Conley, basketball player and coach at Ashland. SEC basketball official.
1984: George “Eck” Allen, played on ’28 national champions and All-State in football at Ashland. Played on 1930 state champs.
1985: Luster “Lus” Oxley, Basketball standout for Tomcats and Morehead State.
1986: Bob Wright, coached Tomcats to 1961 state title and 1962 runner-up. Played for Cam Henderson at Marshall.
1987: Dr. Marvin Keeton played basketball at Ashland and Vanderbilt.
1988: Bill Selbee, fast-pitch softball pitcher in area and played basketball and football at EKU.
1989: Charles “Buck” Pergrem, football and basketball player for Tomcats and Ashland Junior College.
1990: Ralph Felty, All-State football at Ashland and played for Duke in the 1942 Rose Bowl.
1991: Larry Conley, basketball star on ’61 champions and ’62 runners-up and went on to play for “Rupp’s Runts” at UK.
1992: Marvin Meredith, basketball star at Catlettsburg High School and longtime coach at Russell with more than 700 wins.
1993: J.C. Kennard, All-State football player at Ashland and played for Bear Bryant at UK.
1994: John Caine, basketball and baseball player at Ashland and coach and AD at several colleges.
1995: Norman “Dutch” Berry, football and basketball player at Ashland and longtime city commissioner.
1996: Herb Conley, 3-sport star at Ashland and starred on ’58 undefeated team. Tomcat head coach from 1968-1976 including 14-1 season in ’75.
1997: Earl “Brother” Adkins, standout basketball player for Tomcats voted state’s top player in 1953. Played on UK’s ’58 national champions.
1998: Darryle “Sam” Kouns, former Tomcat who led Army to its first consecutive winning basketball seasons in more than 50 years with 21.6 ppg career average.
1999: Megan Neyer, winningest diver in NCAA history and 1980 Olympic team diving member.
2000: W. James “Jim” Host, pitched for Tomcats and professional in White Sox organization. Began public relations/consulting firm that is synonymous with college sports.
2001: J.D. Ison, starred in football for Tomcats and was All-American tight end at Baylor. His nickname was “The Hand.”
2002: Ernest “Nard” Pergrem, great athlete who starred in baseball and basketball. He was first Tomcat to score 300 in a season.
2003: Gerald “Jerry” Henderson, 4-sport athlete who did them all well at Ashland. Played basketball at Florida and averaged 12 ppg as senior.
2004: Fred “Freddie” Simpson, prolific scorer with more than 2,000 points at Holy Family and also played for both Marshall and Morehead.
2005: Paul Reliford, football and basketball standout at Ashland and longtime teacher, coach and administrator at Fairview High School.
2006: Eugene “Jeep” Clark, All-State basketball player for Tomcats who had extensive coaching career that included developing Boyd County into 16th Region powerhouse.
2007: Jack Fultz, longtime Olive Hill coach who recorded 396 victories and four regional titles. Also played for the Comets, leading team to first region crown in 1944.
2008: Charlie Reliford, former major league umpire who called World Series in 2000 and 2004. Began umpiring career in Central Park.
2009: Bobby Lynch, basketball and baseball star for Tomcats who was part of all three of Ashland’s state baseball crowns from 1966-68. Played basketball at Alabama for C.M. Newton.
2010: Nick Jordan, football, baseball and track & field star who played college football for Michigan State and participated in “Game of the Century” in 1966 with Notre Dame.
2011: Maj. Gen. Chuck Anderson, former Tomcat football player who was quarterback-middle linebacker on 75 JAWS team. He went on to Army and rose to rank of major general.
2012: Steve Gilmore, outstanding basketball player at Holy Family and former Ashland Tomcat basketball coach who was a lifelong educator. He also has served as mayor of Ashland for several years.
2013: Vic Marsh, Tomcat football coach who led Ashland to 1990 state championship and is the winningest coach in school history with 112 victories.
2014: Don Gullett, perhaps the greatest athlete in northeastern Kentucky history. He played everything at McKell High School but his blazing fastball took him to the major leagues with the Cincinnati Reds. He played on four consecutive World Series champions from 1975-1978.
2015: Buffalo Bill Hopkins, played football and basketball for Tomcats and has been a longtime mayor in Russell.
2016: Bill Lynch, southpaw pitcher who had 27-2 career record with 303 strikeouts. He guided Tomcats to first state baseball title in 1966 and was drafted into pro ball by the Indians before being sidelined with injury.
2017: Tom Cooksey, spent a lifetime contributing to golf in the area and co-founded the prestigious AJGA Bluegrass Junior. He is a Kentucky Golf Hall of Fame member.
2018: Mark Maynard, Ashland sports historian who worked 30 years as a sportswriter/sports editor of the Ashland Daily Independent, and has authored six books about the area. He is one of only four writers in the Kentucky Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame.
2019: Steve Towler, outstanding basketball player and one of the most prolific scorers in Boyd County High School history, made his career mark in education where he served as superintendent of five schools, including Ashland. He also was a judge-executive for Boyd County.