Kemp is a good  choice for Graves

ERIC WALKER/The Mayfield Messenger

Graves County defensive coordinator Nick Kemp offers some instruction to his players during a preseason scrimmage last year. Kemp was named interim head coach Thursday following the sudden resignation of coach Morgan Cruce.

To say that this week’s announcement that Graves County’s new head football coach Morgan Cruce was stepping down was surprising would be an understatement. News broke late Thursday afternoon and a few hours later I was piecing together a story on Nick Kemp accepting the interim job.

First off, I wish Cruce and his family the best as they move on from Graves County. Cruce, whom I had talked to during spring workouts, cited personal reasons for stepping down after accepting the position in January.

Secondly, I applaud Graves County athletic director Khristain Elliott’s and high school and district officials’ choice in Kemp. A former player at Mayfield, Kemp is deeply invested in the Eagles’ football program. He served as defensive coordinator, has a strong bond with the players there, and should do great things.

Kemp said they are moving ahead with their summer plans of workouts, practice next month and 7-on-7 tournaments that will feature some new faces in the mix. Graves County will open its 2019 football season on Aug. 23 at Murray.

Another branch from the tree: Kemp noted that he is the third player from Mayfield’s 2003 graduating class to become a head football coach. Jay Burgett is in his fifth year coaching Madisonville-North Hopkins, and Chris Champion is kicking off his second season at Calloway County.

Cardinals coach Joe Morris laughed this past season following the All-Purchase football banquet thinking about the former Mayfield players like Burgett, Champion, Paducah Tilghman’s Jonathan Smith and Christian County’s Steve Lovelace who are all coaching; most of whom he coached.

Now he can add another branch from the Cardinals’ tree.

Giving Dad his due: I had asked on social media is any local players would like to submit a few words about their mothers for a special Mother’s Day feature on sports moms. Now with Father’s Day two weeks away, I’m extending the same offer to local athletes if they’d like to share any kid words about their sports dads.

Just direct message them to @sports_ewalker or email them to me by Wednesday, June 12. A couple of paragraphs will do.

Baseball netting: After this week’s scary scene in the Chicago Cubs’ game at Houston where a child was hit by a foul ball, what do you think? Should netting be placed all the way down both foul lines?

Thank you: Brown Funeral Homes stepped up again this season and sponsored the weekly Player Profile. Thanks to Brown for supporting that effort and thanks to all the players who were profiled for sharing their time.

Moving on: If you happened to read the front page of today’s paper, you’ve seen that I will be stepping aside from my sports editor role and moving into news. I don’t make this move without serious consideration. But I will expand on this shift in the coming weeks.

Until then, I’m still covering sports. And if you know of something, you know where to find me.

Eric Walker is the current sports editor for The Mayfield Messenger. He can be reached at