Dennis Pardue named head coach at Clarksville Kenwood
By Jim Turner

Posted on May 25, 2014 9:51 PM

Former Russellville High School boys basketball coach Dennis Pardue has been named head boys basketball coach at Kenwood High School in the Clarksville area. The hiring had been rumored all week but was made official Friday.

“I’m very honored and humbled to be named the next head boys coach at Kenwood High School,” he tells The LoJo.” “This is a great opportunity for me to come back to this area and to coach at such a highly respected academic and athletic school.

“This program has experienced great success in the tenure of Coach (John) Stigall, and I want to continue on what he has helped build and continue to help make this program even better. I will meet with the team and parents on Tuesday evening. I look forward to meeting my new team and getting started.”

”We will be playing in the FSNB Christmas Classic this coming season,” notes Pardue about a tournament he helped start and nurture during his tenure at RHS.

Pardue and his wife Diane have been teaching at Garrard County High School in Lancaster, Ky. Pardue coached there in the 2012-13 season and started last season in that role before resigning about three weeks into the season.

The Pardues maintained their Auburn area home where their sons Daniel and Davis lived along with a couple of guys from RHS while they were all attending college. Coach Pardue is expected to commute to Clarksville from Auburn and Mrs. Pardue is likely to return to teaching at Auburn, which is her and her husband’s alma mater.

Dennis Pardue replaces John Stigall, who stepped down in April to accept a head coaching position in west Tennessee. Coach Stigall is credited with turning the Kenwood Knights into a consistent winner.

Pardue inherits a program that won the District 10-AAA regular season and tournament titles and finished Region 5-AAA runner-up. Kenwood reached the sectionals for the first time where it lost to Brentwood High. The Knights also set a record for wins in a season.

The Knights will return the bulk of their roster next season, but must replace Class AAA Mr. Basketball finalist guard Daniel Norl, who has signed with Eastern Kentucky University, and forward Jimano Rivers, who will play junior college basketball at Southwest Tennessee.

Pardue told George Robinson of the Clarksville Leaf Chronicle,“I did want to come back, but like I told (Kenwood athletics director) Mr. (Frank) Wilson and principal (Hal) Badell it had to be the right fit for me to return and this was the right fit.”

Pardue inherits a program that has won more than 100 games in the past five years which is the most in District 10 during that span, including winning consecutive District 10 regular season titles and the tournament championship two months ago. The Knights were one win away from a Class AAA state tournament appearance last March.

Robinson says that when Stigall arrived at Kenwood he had to rebuild a program that “lacked discipline and consistency.” Stigall was able to restore that before his departure to Crockett County this summer.

“This isn’t going to be a complete 180-degree turnaround in terms of the program,” Pardue told Robinson. “I’m not too different than coach Stigall in terms of philosophy. I like to use a lot of players. I play a lot of guys and I like to pressure teams on both ends of the floor. I think that’s a fun brand of basketball. It’s fun for the team, the fans and the community.”

Kenwood will still have enough talented players return to contend for a third regular season district title in 2014-15, the Clarksville newspaper predicts.

Pardue’s rich resume

Pardue was the Panthers' coach for eight seasons. Before that, the 1981 Auburn High School graduate had coached middle school basketball at Auburn, Todd County and Russellville, was assistant high school coach at Barren County, and had been the head coach of district rival Todd Central.

His final appearance in 13th District action as the RHS coach was a memorable one. His Panthers beat top-seeded Logan County in the finals behind 31 points by his son Davis Pardue, who hit eight three-pointers. That turnaround came after Logan County had beaten a Pardue-coached team for the first time in his coaching history. In fact, Logan swept both Clashes of the Cats during the recent regular season.

At that point, Dennis Pardue has been a high school head coach for 14 years. His teams made it to the regional tournament in 12 of those seasons, six as a champion and six as a runner-up.

He went to Elkton in the fall of 1998 after having been the Russellville Middle School coach, succeeding David Edgin, who had held the title for six years. His first Todd team won 67-62 in the district finals over defending regional champion Russellville. The Panthers reached the regional finals that year. In 2001, his Rebels won the district championship 66-64 over RHS, which returned to the state semifinals for the second consecutive year. His 2002 team made it all the way to the regional finals, losing to Warren Central as Coach Tim Riley's Dragons began their streak of regional dominance. Pardue's 2003 Todd team won the district championship over Coach David Clark's Franklin-Simpson Wildcats in overtime. That was to be the first of nine times Clark and Pardue coached against each other in the district tournament, eight of them in the finals.

The two times Pardue didn't coach at regional came in Todd Central first-round district losses to F-S. One was against baseball Baseball Hall of Famer Greg Shelton in 2002 and the other to Clark in Pardue's last game as the Todd Central coach in 2004. Shelton is now the RHS baseball coach.

In the Panthers’ eight trips to region, five of the Panther seasons ended in a loss to Warren Central and the other three to Bowling Green. The 14th District has won the last 12 regional championships following Russellville's dominance from 1999-2002.

One of Pardue's players at Todd Central, Mike Wells, became one of Western Kentucky University's all-time greats. Orlondo Woodard played briefly for Division I Kentucky State, and T.C. Thomason had an excellent Division III career at Transylvania. They were both seniors on the first Russellville team Pardue coached.

He also coached state champion golfer Nikki Koller at RHS.

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