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Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2016

Area's top coach to receive first-ever McFerren award

Friday, March 28, 2003

POPLAR BLUFF -- The top coach in Southeast Missouri will be given the first-ever Lennies McFerren Award tomorrow night at the B.A. Sports All-Star Extravaganza in Poplar Bluff.

Event organizer Brad Aycock came up with the idea of naming the trophy after the legendary coach.

"To me, he's been a pioneer in Southeast Missouri for all coaches," said Aycock. "He's the first black coach to win state in our area, and he's been a father figure for many kids. There have been a lot of great coaches that have come through, but the influence Coach McFerren has had, and the lives that he has touched, surpasses them all."

The award will be given out at the First Baptist Church in Poplar Bluff on Saturday, following three high school all-star games at the Black River Coliseum.

"It's a big honor to have an award named after you," said McFerren. "I've received a lot of awards, but this one is the largest."

The top coaches in the area were voted on by a panel of sportswriters, sportscasters and area officials. McFerren was presented with the top two vote-getters and made the final selection.

He will hand out the trophy at the awards banquet, which is scheduled to start at 5 p.m.

"The criteria isn't so much about winning and losing," said McFerren. "It's more about how a coach performs both on and off the court. It's the coach that gets the most out of his kids."

A member of the state's basketball hall of fame, McFerren established his legend while at Charleston High School, where he led the Bluejays to seven state championships. He went on to win two more state titles at New Madrid County Central, and has more than 525 career victories.

Since retiring, there has been speculation of McFerren getting back into coaching.

"The only thing that would make me get back into it would be our program (at NMCC)," said McFerren. "I don't want it to get down to the point where we have people off the street that don't know anything about coaching sitting on our bench. We need a coach that will represent our program and our school well. The only way I would get back into it was if we couldn't find that person. I think we're going to find them."

Saturday's Extravaganza will start at 11 a.m. with a small school boys all-star game at the Coliseum. It will be followed by a girls all-star game at 12:30 p.m., then a slam dunk and 3-point shootout at 2 p.m.

A large school boys all-star game will be played at 3 p.m., followed by the awards banquet at the First Baptist Church. The cost of admission to all the all-star festivities is $5.