Dan Weber’s Just Sayin’: Kenney’s back, time to tee up, hits, misses on all-state softball team

The “best-liked man in all of Northern Kentucky” – not our words but we certainly agree with that analysis from Kenton County Commissioner Jon Draud, who would know such things – is getting back in business.

Kenney Shields (Photo provided)

We’re talking about none other than Kenney Shields, who not only won the most basketball games as a coach – 766, in his 39-year career here – but maybe the most fans. And while Kenney spent 23 years as a high school head coach at St. Thomas and Highlands and the last 16 at NKU, he’s had more than six decades of doing sports clinics for kids in Northern Kentucky, which almost certainly has something to do with that.

And now Kenney is on his way back after a month in the hospital for a serious bout with cellulitis and then some serious physical rehab. “We’re improving,” he said Thursday from his family’s vacation spot on Lake Erie, east of Toledo, “just 200 yards from Lake Erie,” he says, “but we have a long way to go.”

“I could hardly walk, but I’m on the way back.”

So much so that Kenney says you can expect him to be overseeing his annual youth basketball clinic, July 15-18, at Sports of All Sorts, Union, where they’ll have all the info for those interested. “I’m 82 and still doing camps, since 1961,” Kenney says, both amazed and pleased at the thought of that sort of longevity.

Just the way Kenney once did at Goebel Park, his home away from home in Covington and where a big sign proclaims Kenney Shields Park now. Just like the one does at the newly renovated basketball courts at Tower Park in Ft. Thomas.


Plenty of time to get a foursome together for the annual Northern Kentucky Sports Hall of Fame Golf Outing, Saturday, July 13 at Kenton County Golf Course.

Not only is it a great day for friendly competition and getting together with the folks who have made sports so special and the folks who keep their stories alive, but it’s also the organization’s top fundraiser supporting college scholarships for high school seniors. This year’s recipients were: Kay Freihofer, Caroline Kemper, Cooper; Molly DeSola, Highlands; Brayden Leger, Newport Central Catholic; and Hudson Blank, Dixie Heights.

Anyone wanting to sponsor a hole can call John Wenderfer (859-486-3147) for information. There are 67 committed thus far. Team registration ($80 per player, $320 per team) is available until the July 1 deadline. Make checks payable to the Northern Kentucky Sports Hall of Fame and mail to Wenderfer at 8655 Valley Circle Drive, Florence, KY 41042.


For Northern Kentucky, another swing and miss by a spring all-state team in Kentucky. We’re talking the Class AAA all-state softball team named by the state’s coaches that had no local players on the first team but Highlands’ catcher Michelle Barth (.586 batting average, 10 home runs) on the second team. Clearly worthy of a first-team selection, Barth is one of the state’s best players at the plate and in the field.

Highlands did place a second player on the Class AAA team with sophomore pitcher Kaitlyn Dixon (21-6, 1.68 ERA) being recognized as well after a near-miss in a 3-2 loss to Louisville Assumption in the state tournament. Cooper’s Ava Scott (.491 batting average, six home runs) earned Honorable Mention recognition.

Notre Dame’s Abby Turnpaugh (18-7, 1.37 ERA) earned an Honorable Mention slot on the Class AA team. In Class A, Bishop Brossart’s Maddie Kremer (.420 batting average, three home runs) was named Second Team.

Hard to believe that Walton-Verona’s Danielle Oldfield, the state’s leading hitter with a .711 batting average, and No. 11, Scott’s Emerson Morman, who at .582 was right behind Barth, were not mentioned.

Norse men get Power 5 game but no need to head to West Coast

The word out of Purdue is that the national runner-up Boilermakers have picked up NKU’s Norse in an early-season Nov. 8 game at Mackey Arena, West Lafayette, Ind. For NKU, that may be a step up in class but a heck of a better travel deal than in recent seasons when NKU had to head all the way to Washington, Washington State and Saint Mary’s in California to find upscale opponents.

While Purdue will be without 7-foot-4 NCAA Player of the Year Zach Edey, the Big Ten champion Boilermakers did finish 34-5 and return three starters. But they probably won’t overlook an NKU program that came within a whisker of an upset the only other time the teams have played, losing, 77-76, at Purdue in 2013.

Contact Dan Weber at dweber3440@aol.com. Follow him on X (formerly Twitter) @dweber3440.

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