Ludlow graduate creates two rooms in football stadium dedicated to high school’s sports heritage

By Terry Boehmker
NKyTribune sports reporter

After he graduated from Ludlow High School in 1951, Jack Aynes served in the U.S. Air Force and then lived in California for most of his adult life. The letters he received from his parents while he was away often included newspaper articles about his hometown high school teams and programs from games.

Jack Aynes collected and created Ludlow High School sports memorabilia for the Hall of Fame room and museum at the stadium.

Aynes stored most of what he received from his parents in binders and the 86-year-old retiree shares them with visitors to the Ludlow Hall of Fame rooms that he created in the high school’s football stadium.

Anyone attending a football game there can visit one room that has more than 180 photos of Ludlow Hall of Fame inductees going all the way back to the 1920s.

The adjacent room is a mini museum with school jackets, trophies, programs, photos and plaques on display. There’s even a roster from Ludlow’s first football team in 1924.

A lot of high schools have trophy cases that commemorate great teams and athletes. Aynes has taken that idea to a whole new level by filling two rooms with Ludlow sports memorabilia.

“I had a dream about this about 12 years ago,” he said. “I tried to get it at the high school and they never had any extra room for it. Then they gave us these two rooms (in the stadium) and we remodeled the whole thing and put all the stuff we had in here.”

The football stadium alone is a historic landmark. Aynes said it was built in the 1930s as one of the federal government’s Work Progress Administration projects during the Great Depression. The two rooms now used for the Hall of Fame photos and museum were once football locker rooms. They became vacant spaces when a new athletic facility was built next to the stadium.

Like many small towns, high school sports is embedded into the fabric of the Ludlow community. When you look at the Hall of Fame photos at the stadium, you’ll find some families had athletes from three generations who played for the Panthers.

The Ludlow football stadium is an historic landmark that was named after James Rigney Jr., a former player who died in an auto accident.

Aynes took the time to find a photo of each male and female inductee and put them into frames to hang in that room. He had to dig through some dusty old yearbooks to complete the project, but it was worth it.

“All the echoes and memories, they’re all still in here,” he said as he looked around the room.

Aynes grew up in Ludlow so he can give you background on many of the athletes in the photos. He can tell you about Cliff Loudenback being awarded a Bronze Star for bravery in World War II and recount the tragic story of James Rigney, who died in an auto accident and had the football stadium named after him.

Ludlow won state titles in football in 1975 and girls cross country in 1999. Both of those teams are recognized in the adjacent room at the stadium. They also have photos of two former Ludlow athletes, Owen Hauck and Tom Creamer, who went on to become highly successful coaches at other Kentucky high schools.

Creamer was head coach of the Shelby County boys basketball team that won the 1978 Sweet 16 state tournament. Hauck won a state football title when he coached at Highlands and had two state runner-up teams while he was at Boone County.

After he retired from coaching, Hauck would often come to Ludlow football games on Friday nights to sit with friends he made in high school and watch their former team. That undying school loyalty is what prompted Aynes to create the Ludlow Hall of Fame room and museum.

“The esprit de corps is still there in a small schools,” he said. “You go to a large school and nobody knows everybody so after they graduate most people could care less. It’s different here.”

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