Boone County Kentucky Historical Society

Rice Mountjoy - First Head Coach at Boone County High

 Rice Mountjoy
[Autobiographical notes from his Scrapbook]
Written about 1953.
Born April 23, 1901    Lawrenceburg, Kentucky
Graduated from Kavanaugh High School in 1920. While there was best remembered as a Pole Vaulter and High Jumper. Held the State Record in both events at one time. Was the high point man of the State meet in 1920, winning three events.
            Graduated from Centre College (KY) in 1924 with A.B. Degree. Did no take part in any athletic activity except Track. Was captain of the team that won all the Kentucky state track meet for Centre. That was the only time in history that Centre won the meet. Was high point man of the meet, scoring points in High Jump, Pole Vault, Broad Jump, High Hurdles, Low Hurdles and ran a lap on the winning Relay team that set the State Record which has never been beaten. Time: 3.24:00.
            Hold Masters Degree from the University of Kentucky.
            Coached Football the Fall of 1924 at Frankfort High School. Also coached Basketball and Track there. Basketball team lost to Monticello in the quarter finals of the State Tournament.
            Went to Kavanaugh as coach in Fall of 1925 where some of the best known Basketball men in Kentucky played under me. Such as: Forest Sale of KY, Paul McBrayer of KY, and Ralph Carlisle of KY.
            Went to Danville High School as coach of Football and Basketball in the Fall of 1928 and remained there for thirteen years during which time the football teams won more than 80% of its games with the best teams in Kentucky. The basketball team was in the semi-finals of the State Tournament 3 years in succession. The only year that Danville was in the Central Kentucky Football Conference during that time was in 1940. Danville won the Championship. Dopey Phelps was one of our regulars that season. Many boys who went on to win college letters were developed during that time. Some of the greatest were Joe Arnold (W&L), Charlie Barkesdale (Centre), and Elmer Hendren (Centre); Elmer was one of the greatest boys that ever played for anyone. Lecil (Cecil?) Hamilton (Centre) and many others.
            During 1941 went to Murray State College (KY) as head Basketball Coach and Assistant Coach of Football. Joe Fulks, one of the Basketball greats of all time played on that Basketball team. It won 22 regular season games and lost 2.
            In the Fall of 1942 was football coach only at Tilghman High School in Paducah. In the next three years (War years) Tilghman had the lightest material [weight of players] in history. One team only averaged 152 pounds. We won 22 games and lost 5, playing the best teams of Louisville, Memphis and St. Louis, plus our natural rivals. Won 3 straight from Mayfield.
            The season of 1945 found me in business and not coaching.
            In 1946, went to Dixie Heights High School, Covington, Kentucky as football coach. And have been there ever since - 6 years. During that time Dixie has won 34, lost 16 and tied 1 in the tough Northern Kentucky Athletic Conference. We won the championship in 1948, beating every team in the conference (nine games). Our teams have finished in the upper half of the conference 6 of 6 years.
            Honors that have come my way: Member of S.A.E. College Fraternity at Centre College. Twice President of the Danville Lions Club. Who’s Who in Kentucky, Assistant Coach on the first two Shrine All-Star football games at Lexington. 2nd President of the Kentuckly High School Coaches’ Association and re-elected for several succeeding terms. Later Vice-President for 1 term.  Executive Secretary for the past 5 years. Former member of National Federation Football Rules Committee. At present Coaches' Advisor to the Football rules Committee from Kentucky. Lecturer in Basketball coaching schools at University of Kentucky and West Virginia University. Contributor to Athletic Journals.
            I think I am third oldest coach in Kentucky in point of service: 28 years. I am exceeded by 2 years by Capt. Ward Rees of M.M.I. (Millersburg Military Institute) and 1 year by John Heber of Henry Clay High School. If there are others I do not know of them.
[J. Rice Mountjoy was Athletic Director and coach of football and basketball for five years - (1954-55 to 1958-59) - at Boone County High School.  He died May 6, 1985 in Florence, Kentucky.]
[Source: Rice Mountjoy Scrapbook:  Courtesy of Charlie True.]
Centre College's [Danville, KY] website lists him as James Rice Mountjoy: "A four-year letterman in track with state records in high jump and pole vault, and member of the mile relay team which held the state record; Mountjoy was known as 'Centre's One-Man Track Team.' He continued his excellence as track coach at Centre for two years. He spent the following years as coach of football, basketball and track at several high schools in Kentucky, and achieved outstanding success in football and basketball at Danville High School."