New award to honor Carl Rutherford

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The Campbell County Youth Basketball Association plans to introduce the Carl Rutherford Award in honor of a former coach.

“Carl has been involved in youth basketball for many years,” LaFollette Recreation Department Head Johnny Byrge said.

Rutherford was one of the first volunteer coaches in Campbell County, according to David, his son, and Don Fields, his friend. He coached from the 1960s until the 1990s. His teams won league championships, state championships and placed runner up at nationals in Florida. Rutherford was also assistant coach at LaFollette Middle School.

“He was good to the kids,” Fields said.  “He would drive to pick them up.”

Rutherford drove from LaFollette to Stinking Creek to pick players up for practice and games, Fields said.

“He was an outstanding guy,” Fields said.

Rutherford also refereed for the CCYBA and across the state from the 1960s until last year, David and Fields said.

Rutherford has also volunteered his time to help paint gym floors and erect score clocks at different gyms across the county, according to David Rutherford and Fields.

“He sponsored teams,” Byrge said.

Rutherford now has cancer.

The CCYBA wants to establish an award in his honor because of his involvement in the league. Every year, someone who participates in the CCBYA would be recognized with the Carl Rutherford award, Byrge said.

“It could be anybody (such as coaches or referees) that participates in the league,” Byrge said. “We’ll set a certain criteria.”

A plaque will be displayed in the gym at West LaFollette Community Center. Rutherford’s name will be at the top, and slots will fill the plaque beneath his name. Recipients of the award will have their names placed in the slots. They will also receive small plaques.

The CCYBA won’t begin giving the award until next season, Byrge said.

The CCYBA will pay the expenses for the award. However, Byrge approached the LaFollette City Council Monday about the award.

“Carl was always there for us,” Bryge said. “We would like to get you all’s blessing to get a plaque to place in West LaFollette Community Center.”

If the council passes a resolution at its meeting next week, the signed resolution will hang next to the plaque at West LaFollette Community Center, Byrge said.