Prep Sports Report: Bob Burnett looking forward to 52nd season as high school football coach

By Terry Boehmker
NKyTribune sports reporter

The two-week summer dead period that prohibits Kentucky high school coaches from doing anything with athletes is an ideal time to take a vacation. Long-time football coach Bob Burnett and his family traveled to Fripp Island in South Carolina this week, but his mind remained on the game during their getaway.

“Anything I can find about football, I try to do,” Burnett said. “I look up different things, go over plays we’ve run and some of the drills we’ve had (in practice).”

Bob Burnett will begin his 52nd consecutive year as a high school football coach this summer with the Cooper Jaguars. (Photo from

When the dead period ends on July 10, Burnett will begin his 52nd consecutive year as a high school football coach.

He’ll be in charge of the offensive line for the Cooper Jaguars, a team that was Class 5A state runner-up last season.

For the last eight years, Burnett, 73, was the offensive line coach at Beechwood. The Tigers won five state championships with him on the staff. Each of those teams averaged 320 yards or more per game operating behind well-trained front lines.

Burnett said “things just didn’t work out” for him last season when Beechwood brought in a new head coach. That’s why he’s returning to Cooper, where he was offensive line coach from 2010 to 2015. Near the end of that six-year run with the Jaguars he was named Assistant Coach of the Year by the Northern Kentucky Football Coaches Association in 2014.

In April, Burnett was reunited with Cooper head coach Randy Borchers during the team’s spring practice sessions. He’s looking forward to getting back to work on July 10 to prepare for the 2024 season that begins Aug. 23.   

Bob Burnett hugs Beechwood player Duane Cranmo after winning the 2021 Class 2A state championship game, 23-21, against Lexington Christian. (Photo from

“They’re missing some offensive linemen because they had three or four graduate, but the (returning) kids have been awesome,” Burnett said. “I just hope they do what they did last year, and maybe a little bit more.”

The Jaguars have their starting quarterback, leading rusher and top two pass receivers returning from last year’s 12-3 team that lost to Bowling Green, 28-14, in the Class 5A state championship game. Rebuilding the offensive line will be a priority during preseason practice, and Burnett has often done that.

He began his coaching career in 1973 as an assistant at Conner. In 1978, he was an assistant at Taylor High School in Ohio when he applied for the head coaching position at Dixie Heights and got the job.

He was head coach of the Dixie Heights program for 13 years before stepping down in 1991 to join the coaching staff at Beechwood. The Tigers’ new head coach that year was Mike Yeagle, who put Burnett in charge of the offensive line.

“I’d never played on the offensive line since junior high, but Mike said I want you to take the offensive line and it was a lot of fun because they were such hard-working kids,” Burnett said.

When he retired from teaching in 2006, Burnett continued coaching football as an assistant at Turpin High School in Ohio, Lloyd and Cooper before coming back to Beechwood.

“They’ve all been such good kids,” he said of coaching Beechwood’s offensive linemen. “Just like any business, you’re going to win with good people, and I always had good people.”

Kinney lifted recruiting profile at national tryouts

Newport junior guard Taylen Kinney was among 36 high school players who attended the USA Basketball U17 national tryouts earlier this month. The 6-foot-1 point guard wasn’t selected for the FIBA World Cup team, but he enhanced his college recruiting profile.

Taylen Kinney

Adam Finkelstein, director of scouting for 247Sports, said in a post on X that a long list of players helped themselves during the tryouts and “guard Taylen Kinney certainly one of those for me. Skill-set and overall floor game were both impressive in my viewing.”

According to the USA Basketball website, most of the players at the tryouts had previous national team experience, but this was the first time that Kinney was invited to participate at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado.

Kinney also spent the first three days of June at the Adidas Eurocamp in Treviso, Italy. His three-game totals there included 28 points, 11 assists, seven rebounds and six steals. He shot 60 percent (15 of 25) from the field overall and had a team-high 18 points in one game.

During his sophomore season at Newport, Kinney averaged 17.5 points and four rebounds for the 32-4 Wildcats who won a second consecutive 9th Region championship. He saw limited action in the team’s final two games due to a strained hamstring muscle, but he recovered nicely for the summer.

CovCath grad received Hall of Fame award early

Covington Catholic graduate Luke Maile is among this year’s seven inductees for the Buddy LaRosa’s High School Sports Hall of Fame along with former Highlands football coach Dale Mueller.

Luke Maile

The induction ceremony will be held Sunday, but Maile is a catcher for the Cincinnati Reds that are playing a weekend series in St. Louis. That’s why Maile received his Hall of Fame award last Monday before a Reds home game against Pittsburgh.

Maile was named Player of the Year in Kentucky high school baseball in 2009 and he still dominates the CovCath baseball team’s record books. He ranks first in career batting average (.481) and has the highest career totals in hits (198), home runs (29) and RBI (187).

After two seasons at the University of Kentucky, Maile was selected in the eighth round of the 2012 Major League Baseball Draft. He played for five teams before joining the Reds in 2023.


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