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Trip to Valhalla brings smiles to Burkhead

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Looks back at three of his former athletes

By Bobby Brockman

 

After taking a trip to Valhalla Golf Club on Aug. 4 for a practice round at the PGA Championship, Campbellsville native Kevin Burkhead had a chance to reminisce about three of his former players who turned into professional athletes and a streak unmatched at Campbellsville University.
He talked about John “J.B.” Holmes, who played on his Babe Ruth team, in an earlier feature.
Zack Cox was also on that squad.
“Zack Cox is the best baseball player I’ve ever coached and I coached the sport a long time,” Burkhead said of Cox, a first-round draft choice by the St. Louis Cardinals who now plays Class AAA for New Orleans in the Miami Marlins’ farm system.
“I saw him for the first time since the Pleasure Ridge Park state championship game in late June,” Burkhead said of a trip to Nashville. “We talked before and after the game.
“I follow him as close as I can and just hoping he makes ‘the show’.
“Zack was always a hard worker when he played Babe Ruth for me,” Burkhead said. “He played two years and helped lead us to a state championship in 2003. He was the winning pitcher in the regional. He could bring it and was just flat-out a great hitter!”
Burkhead coached another professional baseball player in Andy Baldwin, whose career in the Detroit Tigers’ organization due to injuries.
“I coached Baldwin in Little League Football with Mitch Overstreet,” Burkhead offered. “I drafted J.B. instead of him in the Babe Ruth draft.
“He was a great pitcher in our league. He was a great kid and came from great family. His parents were great! I never had the pleasure of coaching him in baseball.”
Burkhead is also the only person to keep statistics in the history of Campbellsville University football, which began in the fall of 1988.
“The CU streak reaches 280 with the first game against Lindsey Wilson (Thursday night, Aug. 28),” Burkhead said.
“My favorite game was the win at Belhaven when we let them score (in order to have a chance to win),” Burkhead laughed. “Of course, the Timmy Mays game was great and the first win against Georgetown was good.
“One of the weird games, which gives me kind of an “empty” feeling was when (long-time head coach Ron) Finley resigned before the Union game. It just didn’t feel right when he wasn’t there!
“I’d like to keep doing the stats forever or until I am just not able to do them anymore,” Burkhead concluded. “Maybe another 25 seasons and go for fifty years.”