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Walton-Verona names longtime Cooper assistant as new head football coach

Gary Pence takes over for Jeff Barth (right), who resigned after a long tenure with the Walton-Verona football program.
Gary Pence takes over for Jeff Barth (right), who resigned after a long tenure with the Walton-Verona football program.

Walton-Verona has named Gary Pence as the next head coach of its football program.

The school will host a meet-the-coach program with Pence at 6 p.m. on Tuesday in the high school commons.

He was an assistant coach for Cooper for the past nine seasons, helping the Jaguars’ 5A state runner-up team in 2023.

At Cooper, he had a variety of roles. He was freshman and junior varsity head coach at different times, and was also a varsity assistant, special teams coordinator and in the booth during games helping with the offense.

Pence also coached at Newport and Conner high schools.

He graduated from Ludlow High School and the University of Kentucky with degrees in kinesiology, health and physical education. He has a Master’s degree in special education from the University of the Cumberlands.

Pence lives in Burlington with his wife and daughter. His wife, Karissa, is a teacher in the Boone County school district.

Athletic Director Ryan Borkowski, who recently took over the position, said in a press release: “What stood out the most to the selection committee was (his) known ability to develop football players, enthusiasm for building our program starting at the youth level and the core values he has entrenched in the athletes he has coached over the years. Playing at a small high school himself, (he) understands how important of a role the community in a small school district plays in building a successful football program and it was apparent during the interview process that he plans on strengthening that partnership within our program.”

This article originally appeared on Cincinnati Enquirer: Walton-Verona names longtime Cooper assistant as head football coach