LAWRENCEBURG, Ky (WTVQ) -Mark Palmer has more than thirty years of experience coaching football in many places including Virginia, but how’d he end up in Kentucky? His wife is from eastern Kentucky and Anderson County was the perfect place to instill his philosophy.
“I love what I do, a great passion for young men,” says Anderson County Head Football Coach Mark Palmer. “Really enjoy taking young men through the middle school program and bringing them all the way through to high school and helping them develop, an extension of the family.”
Helping young athletes grow into men is at the top of his list, but Palmer also knows how to win. His St. Patrick team last year went 13-1; he wants that type of success at Anderson.
“To have the excitement is one thing but they need to see it translate to the field,” said Palmer. “Anderson County has a strong tradition in football for a long time and I just want to try to continue to build upon that and produce great young means have success on the field.”
The Bearcats went 10-1 in 2018, but took a huge step back last season going 4 and 7 dropping their last five. Palmer’s arrival signals a fresh start.
“You know a lot of people are excited for new beginnings,” says senior lineman Darion Dearinger. “Just this year hopefully being able to play and everybody is really looking forward to it. Great guy, really good coach. Everybody really seems to like him and everybody is really fired up.”
“Well I think everybody is really excited about this new coach,” says senior lineman Ryan Stratton. “He’s just a really good guy and gives us a good environment to play in. I’m just excited.”
Taking over a new program is hard in general, but imagine doing it during a pandemic when you didn’t have spring football and now haven’t a shortened preseason to install your system, Coach Palmer is ready for the challenge.
“We have been meeting as coaches and I’m relying on their opinions and the knowledge that they have of the young men,” said Coach Palmer. “There was no spring ball. No chance really this summer to do what I’ve done for the last 30 years.”
While the Bearcats may be trying to play catch-up, they do have something on their side, Palmer’s system will be new to his opponents.
“I think early on it’s going to be to our advantage,” said Palmer. “What just a great district we’re placed in with outstanding coaches and outstanding teams. The tradition is there. So by the time we get to that part of the schedule they’re going to know what to do.”
Palmer can install whatever system he wants, but the players know they’re the key to the Bearcats bouncing back this season.
“I think the big key is getting as many people, as many kids out here as possible,” said Dearinger. “Get as many athletes out here and that’s what we’ve been able to do. Been able to get bunch of really good guy and athletes out here.”