2023 Interview with a Legendary High School Coach, David Buchanan (KY)


Well-known member
Can you give the readers a brief history of the head coaching jobs you have had?
Paris 1992-1995
Mason 1996-2014
Mercer 2015-2021

Of the places you have coached, which one do you miss the most? Explain.
All three places are special. To me, it is like one big family—really going back to my dad's first team at Boyle in 1969. I still talk to some of those guys every day.

Can you tell the readers about some of the coaches who have helped you the most during your career?
My dad, John Buchanan, was a big influence, along with my high school coach, Larry French. Chuck Smith has also been a mentor for me. And I learned a lot from Roger Gruneisen when I was his assistant at Paris High School. There are many more coaches that are included in Black Shoes and White Shoestrings.

How hard is it to leave one job and take another?
Very difficult. You pour your guts into the kids, the program, the school, and the community. But coaches can tell when it is time to move on. When you reach a point where you are not moving the needle, you can't blame your bosses, kids, etc. You have to own it.

You've seen some great players in your thirty years of coaching. Can you name the top five players you have coached and which school they played for?
Wow. I could never do that with my own guys. Here are some interesting facts about the guys I coached:
I coached three Mr. Basketballs: Mason has Chris Lofton and Darius Miller, while Mercer has Trevon Faulkner.
Jordan Murray (Mason) is coached. went on to join the Army. He intercepted Brady Quinn when they played at Notre Dame to break Quinn's record of 226 straight passes without an interception.
I coached both of my sons. Trosper Buchanan at Mercer and John Combs Buchanan at Mason They both squeezed out every drop of ability they had in their bodies.
Jonathan Thomas, Jordan Johnson, and Seth Faulkner were freshmen during my first season at Mason. Jonathan became the head coach there. Jordan became the head coach at Waggener. Seth is the principal at Mason County High School. Harry Lewis went on to a great career with the KY Horsemen after coaching with me. Andy Fryman had a great track career at UK and is now coaching the throwers at Marshall. Dustin Grutza had a great career playing quarterback at the University of Cincinnati. He was coached by Mark Dantonio and Brian Kelly.
Jordan Gilbert (Mason Co.) is now the head basketball coach at Green Co. Neal Pawsat (Mason) broke many of Georgetown's quarterback records. Josh Harris was a two-time first-team all-state player at Mason who went on to have a great career at Georgetown.
I've worked with some literal warriors, including Wylie Brace, Ben Prather, and John Van Hook, to name a few. Saw combat. Saved lives. Amazing men—heroic great leaders
Coach Brandon Deaderick (Etown) at the 2005 Kentucky-Tennessee All-Star Game. He went on to have great careers with Alabama and the New England Patriots.

Staying with the theme of great players Can you name the five best players you had to coach against and the schools they played for?
Greg Hergott-Beechwood
Co. Matt Quinn-Boyle
Jordan Nevels-Highlands
Jeff Duggins-Boyle
Drew Ramey-Russell

I know this one will be hard, but can you name the biggest victory you have had along with the loss that still keeps you up at night?
Paris: Defeat New Catholic in the playoffs in 1994.Huge upset.
Mason: winning the region title over Ashland (2003) or defeating Tates Creek (2001—a huge upset).
Mercer: Defeat Rockcastle on the road in the 2016 playoffs or defeat CAL at CAL in 2019. Both were huge upsets.
The simplest answer is "toughest loss": 11-8 against Russell in the 2002 Quarterfinals.I'll never get over that one.

Best game a team has ever played: the 2003 loss at Highlands in the snow, semifinals.
Lost 21-14. The kids played great. They were just a little deeper than we were. They could save Jordan Neves by just playing defense until the 4th. Shaking hands after the game, he said to Jordan, "I wish you had stayed at Simon Kenton." Lol. We laugh about that now. Jordan was Jordan's coach in the 2005 KY-TN All-Star game. still talk to him. I like Jordan a lot, and he is having a lot of success running his business.

What would you change, if anything, about your career?
I wish I could have figured out a way to win every game we lost in November over the past 30 years. But no one has had better young men and coaches than I was blessed with. I love those guys and am thankful for them.

Is there that one school you really wish you would get a shot to coach at? If yes, would you name that school?
I love KYHS football. Yes, there are some places that interest me more than others. But I would never name a position after a current head coach. And, right now, our plan is to stay in Harrodsburg. It will need to be something close to central Kentucky.