Coach’s death leaves many broken hearted PDF Print E-mail
Written by George Browning   
Wednesday, 23 August 2017 00:00

The term unexpected death has always puzzled me. Does anyone ever “expect” death.

Sure there are people who have terminal illnesses who know there time is short, but even in those cases, when death comes, it wasn’t totally expected at that moment.

I worked for a number of years at Hospice of Louisville and I would visit a patient one afternoon and they would be perfectly fine. Later that night I’d get a message that they were gone.

Death almost always come unexpectedly and it happens in the blink of an eye.

My work at hospice gave me the knowledge of how to build a wall between myself and the people I am working with.

Admittedly, I am not very good at building those walls, mainly because I love people.

When I heard the news that West Washington Assistant Girls’ Basketball Coach Barry Clements died, I realized two things.

Number one, you never know when you are going to take your last breath and number two, I still have to work on getting better at building walls.

I knew Barry better than most. He not only coached the girls’ basketball team, but he coached golf, and I don’t recall a time I have attended an event at the school and didn’t see him.

When I heard he was gone, my heart broke for his wife and his boys, then I thought about the members of the girls’ basketball team.

Then I thought about the whole West Washington community and the community in Hardinsburg that he was plugged into.

Barry’s death was like a rock being thrown in the pond, ripple after ripple after ripple.

The only negative I ever said about Barry was the fact that he loved the University of Kentucky! I told him that multiple times.

There were more than 300 at the school on Wednesday, July 19 for the funeral service and one of the school officials said more than 700 went through the visitation line the night before.

As I sat and heard the kind words and learned that Barry was a professing Christian, I discovered how weak my wall was.

It won’t be the same, girls’ basketball games, won’t be the same without Barry there! At that point my heart broke more, because I began to think about those ripples.

West Washington basketball practices won’t be the same.

The hallways at the school will have a void because Barry and that smile won’t be there.

Ripple after ripple.

Barry served on the Hardinsburg council and was a volunteer fireman.

None of those groups will be the same.

Then there is his family, how many things will they do where the ripples of Barry’s death will be felt.

The girls’ basketball team have already adopted a hashtag for the upcoming season. I’d love to explain what hashtags are, but that’s for another column.

The Lady Senator hashtag is #weplayforcoachB.

Barry wanted to win a sectional with that team and get their picture on the wall of the T. Kermit Tower Gymnasium.

That’s the goal.

Barry is still making ripples even after he is gone.

His death helped me come up with two goals of my own.

The first is to forget walls, I’m going to love people and be loved and if that means heartbreak may come, so be it.

My second goal is when the day comes, when God calls me home, and the big rock that is my death hits the water, I want to leave ripples. Lots of them.

Ripples mean there is heartbreak, but they are also signs of a person who lived a life that impacted others.

Rest in peace Barry!

Do you have a memory of Barry you’d like to share? Send it to me at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it