“Coach Matney was a fighter for the Mountains”: Jim Matney among several mountain legends inducted into KHSAA Hall of Fame.

WYMT Weekend Edition News at 11 p.m.
Published: May. 15, 2022 at 9:11 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WYMT) - Seventeen former high school athletes, coaches, officials, administrators and contributors were inducted into the KHSAA Hall of Fame.

The inductees are a culmination of two years of consideration, with no Hall of Fame class chosen in 2021.

WYMT Weekend Edition News at 11 p.m.

Four individuals with mountain ties were inducted into this year’s class. Information on 17 inductees can be found at

DAVID COUCH (Athlete / Johnson Central and Contributor, KDE) – David Couch was a letterman in four sports – basketball, cross country, golf and football – at Johnson Central. In his career, the Golden Eagles won three district championships in basketball with Couch being named all-state two times for Hall of Fame Coach Wendall Wallen. His 50-point performance against Paintsville still stands as the most points scored in a game by a JCHS player against the Tigers. In 1978-1979, Couch was named national Student-Athlete All-American before playing for Coach Mike Krzyzewski at Army. Following his military service, he returned to Kentucky and since 1992 has been head of education technology with the Kentucky Department of Education. In that role, Couch has led the way for Kentucky’s first-of-its-kind all-fiber network to serve school children, teachers and administrators. Through KDE, he has been consistently involved with the KHSAA and its programs.

JIM MATNEY (Coach / Johnson Central and Sheldon Clark) – The late Jim Matney coached football and wrestling at Johnson Central and Sheldon Clark. In his storied career, he amassed a 309-133 record in football. His teams made five KHSAA 4A State Championship appearances, winning twice. In 2020, he was named Kentucky Football Coach of the Year. He was equally successful on the mat, guiding his teams to 12 straight region titles with two KHSAA State Championships and one runner-up. He also coached two dual meet state champions and countless individual champions. He was named 2020 NFHS High School Wrestling Coach of the Year. He was inducted into Johnson Central’s Hall of Fame in 2015 and wrestling’s KWCA Hall of Fame in 2017.

HOOVER NIECE (Coach / Estill County) – Hoover Niece played football and basketball for Whitesburg during his final two years of high school. He went on to graduate from Eastern Kentucky University and start his teaching and coaching career in neighboring Estill County. In 29 seasons, the first two as an assistant, he helped the Engineers to two sub-district championship contests, four First-Team All-State players, one Mr. Kentucky Football finalist, one Kentucky All-Star and one All-American. In 27 seasons, ECHS was 128-108-1 and twice Niece was named Kentucky All-Star team assistant coach.

KELLY WELLS (Player, Coach / Rowan County, Marion County and Mason County) – Kelly Wells helped Rowan County to three basketball 16th Region Championships. He finished as all-time leading scorer with 2,500 points and was twice named First-Team All-State – 1989 and 1990. He coached Marion County to the 1997 5th Region title while earning 5th Region Coach of the Year and FCA State Coach of the Year honors. Wells coached Mason County to three 10th Region titles and a 2003 KHSAA Boys’ Sweet Sixteen® Championship. The Royals were runner-up a year later in 2004. He was 2003 and 2004 Kentucky State Coach of the Year, 2003 National Federation Coach of the Year, finished with a 75.3 win-percentage and coached Mr. Kentucky Basketball honorees Chris Lofton and Darius Miller. From there he was hired as University of Pikeville head coach. He guided the Bears five Mid-South Conference titles, eight NAIA national tournament appearances and 2011 NAIA Men’s Basketball Division I National Title.

Copyright 2022 WYMT. All rights reserved.