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Long-time coach, educator, UK fan Casey Sparrow loses battle with cancer

Wandale Robinson, left, talked to Casey Sparrow and his family at Western Hills’ final home game.

By LARRY VAUGHT

My Saturday started with news I knew was coming but was hoping would be coming nearly so soon.

Casey Sparrow, 47, of Harrodsburg, passed away early Saturday morning after a four-year battle with cancer. He had been a well-known high school coach in Kentucky as well as a school administrator in Franklin County.

Sparrow was a Kentucky fan and I know he had to be thrilled Thursday when Wandale Robinson, one of his former students at Bondurant Middle School in Frankfort, verbally committed to play football at UK. He revealed how Robinson often came to the middle school to mentor middle school students.

Thanks to Freddie Maggard, UK’s director of player development, Sparrow got a chance to attend several UK football practice this year and made a connection with offensive line coach John Schlarman, who is also battling cancer.

“I told him (Schlarman) that I did not know exactly what he was going through but I know what you going though. I told him anything I could do to answer questions about anything, just ask. You really can’t prepare for this but I can share what I’ve tried and done,” Sparrow told me several weeks ago after he opted to no longer take treatments to enjoy the time he had left in a way he wanted.

One of Sparrow’s long-time friends is Western Hills football coach Don Miller. He honored Miller at Western Hills’ final home game two weeks ago.

It’s no surprise that Sparrow’s funeral will be held Tuesday afternoon at Western Hills High School so that those who Sparrow touched in so many ways will have a chance to say goodbye.

His wife, Lisa, and son, Austin, are both special people and have been rocks for Casey Sparrow the last four years. Prayers to them and everyone else who knew this courageous man who helped so many others during his coaching and educational careers.

Here’s his complete obituary;

Casey Reed Sparrow, 47, Harrodsburg, KY, husband of 23 years to Lisa Cox Sparrow, died Saturday; November 3 at his home in Harrodsburg, KY. He was Principal for Bondurant Middle School for eight years and employed by the Franklin County Board of Education for fifteen. Casey was on the Mercer County Planning & Zoning Board, KY Association of School Administrators and KY Middle School Association of Administrators.

Casey was born in Lexington, January 15,1971, to Roger Clay and Susan (Lewis) Sparrow. Casey grew up in Buffalo, KY in Larue County where he went through the Magnolia Elementary and Larue County school system through his sophomore year. The family moved to Frankfort where he graduated from Franklin County High School in 1989. He went to Taylor University and graduated in 1994 with a BA in Elementary and Middle School Education with an emphasis in science. While there, Casey played football all four years and was named second team NAIA All American, he ranked in the top six in school history for most receiving yards, most receiving touchdowns, most receiving yards in a single season and career. In 1994, after his senior season at Taylor University, he was invited to the NFL Combine and was worked out by the Dolphins, Steelers and Packers. While at Taylor, Casey also ran track and was ranked top in the NAIA in the 100, 200 and 400 and Sprint relays. He went on to earn his Masters from Eastern Kentucky University in School Administration and his Rank One in Director of Pupil Personnel and Superintendency

Casey had a passion for sports and young people, which made him a great coach at the middle and high school levels for 18 years. He was former head Girls Basketball coach and Boys & Girls Track Coach at Anderson County, Scott County and King Middle School Assistant Boys Basketball Coach. He was the quarterback coach and co-offensive coordinator for Covington Holmes High School. He and his wife, Lisa, were co-coaches for the Lady Bulldog Basketball program, where they were the 2002 35th District Champions, the 9th Region Champions and reached the final four of the KHSAA State Tournament with a 30-6 record. They had the honor of coaching the 2002 KY’s Miss Basketball and were named the 9th Region Co-Coaches of the year and the NKY Enquirer Coaches of the Year, and inducted into the Greater Cincinnati Basketball Hall of Fame. They were also named 2003 9th Region Coaches of the year.

He is survived by: his wife: Lisa (Cox) Sparrow and one son: Austin Clay Sparrow of Harrodsburg, parents: Roger Clay and Susan (Lewis) Sparrow, three brothers: Kyle (Jaime) Sparrow, Cory (Rachel) Sparrow and Kip Sparrow, Mother In Law: Mona (Tom) Curtsinger of Harrodsburg; Father-in-law, Michael (Linda) Cox of Salvisa; Brother In Law, Larry Wayne (Sabrina) Cox; Nieces & Nephews, Kylie Paige Sparrow, Micah James Sparrow, Taylor Reed Sparrow, Shelby Claire Sparrow, Jay (Carter) Sparrow, Michael Skylar Cox and Zane Tyler Cox; Paternal Grandfather, A.C. Sparrow of Owenton. Casey was preceded in death by his Paternal Grandmother: Cordelia Sparrow and Maternal Grandparents, Charles & Saragarnett Lewis.

Visitation will be 4-8 pm Monday; November 5 at The Carpenter’s Christian Church and from 10 am – 1 pm on Tuesday at Western Hills High School.

Craig McMann and Jay Stratton will lead the Funeral Services at 1 pm Tuesday; November 6, at the Western Hills High School, 100 Doctors Drive in Frankfort. Burial will follow in the Spring Hill Cemetery, Harrodsburg. The Ransdell Funeral Chapel is in charge of arrangements.

Pallbearers will be: Kyle Sparrow, Cory Sparrow, Kip Sparrow, Austin Sparrow, Larry Cox, Don Miller, Charlie Lewis and Kenny Dearborn. Honorary Bearers will be: Chase Moore, Drew Davis, Connor Souder, Will Hager and Christian Davis.

Expressions of sympathy may be sent to the family at www.ransdellfuneralchapel.com . In lieu of flowers, memorial donations are suggested to the Casey Sparrow Memorial Scholarship Foundation, 471 Bellaire Drive, Harrodsburg, KY 40330.

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