Journal-Times (Grayson, KY)

March 19, 2014

Baker, Easterling named KABC Coaches of the Year

By MacKenzie Bates - Sports Editor
Journal-Times

March 19, 2014 — The efforts of East Carter basketball coaches Brandon Baker and Hager Easterling did not go unnoticed.

The Lady Raiders had their best season in school history, going 31-3 and ranked as high as sixth in the state’s Associated Press rankings.

The boys earned their second 62nd District Championship in the past three seasons and got back into the regional tournament.

That is why the Kentucky Association of Basketball Coaches have named Baker and Easterling the Coaches of the Year in the 16th Region.

Athletic Director Troy Criswell said the leaders of the basketball programs at East are very deserving of the title.

“Both Coach E and Coach Baker had excellent years,” Criswell said. “With two district winners, knocking off big time opponents throughout the year, we as a staff and a community are proud of both of them.”

Easterling, who won his 400th career game as a head coach this year, was also named Coach of the Year in the East Kentucky Conference. Baker was Co-Coach of the Year in the EKC, sharing the award with Mark Starns, coach of the 16th Region Champion Fleming County Panthers.

Criswell knows it is very rare that both his boys and girls basketball coaches earned these awards from both associations.

“Both are stand-up individuals,” Criswell said. “They instill discipline to their teams and go above and beyond to not only teach them the game of basketball but about life in general. It says a lot about their programs and the way they conduct themselves both on and off the court.”

While both programs lose leadership in players like Bryana Greenhill, Cole Brammer, Bradley and Seth Marsh and Qua Davis to graduation, there are several pieces back next year to maybe repeat or improve on the years they had this season.

With Baker and Easterling at the helm for another season, Criswell said anything is possible.

“They’re respected throughout the region and state,” Criswell said. “Each opposing team knows when they play against East Carter basketball, they’re playing excellent programs.”

MacKenzie Bates can be reached at mbates@journal-times.com or by telephone at 1-800-247-6142.