When a high school coach pilot's the basketball program at his beloved alma mater for more than a decade, it's not sufficient to walk out of the gym following a final-game loss without a little extra fanfare. In the case of Augusta (Ky.) High coach Robin Kelsch, the coach decided to provide the fanfare himself, thanks to some help from a ready and willing accomplice on the other sideline and some good natured referees.
As you can see in the video above -- brought to our attention by WFTM play-by-play man Jonathan Fraysure and outlined in the Kentucky Post -- Kelsch finished his final game behind the bench by stepping back onto the court and nailing a 3-pointer as time expired. With his team trailing Scott (Ky.) High, 99-69, within the final minute, Kelsch got the go-ahead for the shot from Scott coach Brad Carr.
In fact, the Post reported that Carr was quietly encouraging Kelsch to take a final shot, for a good reason: The two became friends when both attended Northern Kentucky University and have remained close ever since.
"The fact that it went in, I had a tear in my eye," Carr told the Post. "It was a fitting way for Robin to end things."
Any question that the game officials were OK with the touching gesture were dissipated by their actions as Kelsch walked onto the court for the final shot. If you look closely on the far side of the court, opposite from the Augusta bench, a referee excitedly throws his arms up in a symbol for a made 3-pointer as Kelsch's shot goes in and the buzzer sounds.
Kelsch is leaving the sidelines to take on a wider role at tiny Augusta High, the alma mater of one George Clooney which sometimes graduates as few as 10 students a year. The longtime coach will become the school's principal next fall after spending 13 years directing the school's basketball program.
In the end, Kelsch's final shot just provided one more touching moment for a long career, and a classy state tournament. If there was ever any question that Kentucky provides the most level playing field for postseason prep hoops drama, the early rounds of this year's tournament sure seems to have assuaged those doubts.