Anyone who has followed Henryetta sports knows the name of Kent Lackey.
He has been a fixture at Henryetta schools for 30 years with a tenure that has included coaching basketball, football, wrestling and tennis.
It is as tennis coach that he is going to be honored Feb. 8 by the Oklahoma Tennis Coaches Association. Lackey will be inducted into the OTCA Hall of Fame at a special ceremony at Quail Creek Golf and Country Club in Oklahoma City.
Lackey has been a coach for 30 years, 29 of them in Henryetta, which was a homecoming move for the 1968 HHS graduate.kent
He started out as junior high tennis coach then moved to the high school position when longtime friend Mark Milligan left.
That makes him the third tennis coach in a series of four coaches who have brought the Hens then the Knights to state prominence on the tennis courts. Before him was coach Mike Kennedy and Milligan. Present HHS coach Dustin Mosco has added some 19 years on the courts. Both Kennedy and Milligan hold spots on the OTCA Hall of Fame. Kennedy was a member of the 2017 HOF class and Milligan followed in 2018.
Lackey said the Henryetta tennis program has always been strong, crediting Dr. Carlton Smith for laying the foundation. “You have to develop the program with the young players and let them grow through the years.” Lackey said the summer tennis program has brought along the players who have competed in the state tournaments over the decades.
He said probably the best team the school fielded under his guidance was in 1997 when the Knights were state runner up. Also topping his highlight memory was the 1999 doubles team that went to the state finals.
“I tried to have my teams play hard and be fair,” he said. “We made sure our calls on the courts were honest and that made our students better people.”
Today the coaching is behind him, opting to be a classroom teacher. With pride, he points out that some of the students in his middle school classroom are the grandchildren of the students he greeted as a young, fresh from college teacher.
Even though he could retire, Lackey is content to help the upcoming generations and is as dedicated to his profession now as in those early days.
“He is probably one of the most dedicated individuals I have had the opportunity to work with,” said HMS principal Brad Wion. “He exemplifies everything that teachers aspire to be. His students respect him and his fellow teachers have a deep admiration for him.
Lackey and his wife Carolyn, are the parents of a son, Brian who lives in Europe.