ASHTON, W.Va. — A big opportunity for a small-town kid.
Hannan senior Aaron Coon will be continuing both his football career and his education at Kentucky Christian University after signing a letter of intent with the Knights on Friday, April 22, at the HHS library in Mason County.
Coon — a 6-foot-1, 270-pound lineman — was a three-year varsity starter and two-time captain during his prep career with the Wildcats, and he is also believed by school officials to be the first Hannan football player to sign a letter of intent with a collegiate program in almost two decades.
Coon acknowledged that Friday was a dream come true for him personally, a day that he’s been working toward for most of his very young life.
“I’ve always wanted to play college football, and honestly, there’s no other place that I’d want to continue my education than at Kentucky Christian,” Coon said. “I’m thankful for the opportunity that I’ve been given and I know there is a lot of responsibility that comes with that. It also proves that it doesn’t matter where you are from or where you went to high school, but if you put in the time and the effort — good things will happen for you.”
The Wildcats have produced only two varsity victories over the last three years and own a 3-35 overall record since Coon’s freshman campaign, but it was his hard work and dedication to making the program better that caught the eye of the KCU staff.
Seeing Coon get this chance was a very special moment for first-year Hannan coach Brian Scott, who also believes that Coon will make the most of this very rare opportunity. He also noted that he’s not the only person in the area rooting for Coon.
“It’s a very proud moment for me to see Aaron get a chance to pursue his education and further his football career,” Scott said. “He’s such a hard worker and a really good leader because he makes other athletes around him better on the field. I’m really happy to see him get this opportunity.
“You know, Aaron really serves as an inspiration to the other kids here at Hannan. He’s showing them that regardless of where you come from, you can still have a chance to play at another level as long as you are willing to put the time and hard work in. He’s worked really hard for this moment and we are all wishing him the best of luck in his future endeavors.”
Coon — who currently sits in the top 25-percent of his class with a 3.1 GPA — plans on majoring in Sports Management, but that will be only one of the degrees that he chases during his tenure at the small private school in Grayson, Kentucky.
Besides having the opportunity to play football for four or five more years, the senior lineman noted that the school itself had a lot to offer during his decision-making process.
“I was really drawn to the coaching staff and the facilities. It’s not a real big school, but it seemed to be a very tight-knit community like here at home —plus it’s not too far away from home,” Coon said. “The other thing I liked about Kentucky Christian is that I will not only be pursuing a degree in my chosen major, but I’ll also be working toward a secondary degree in ministry. There were just a lot of aspects that led me to this decision.”
KCU — which was originally founded in 1919 — started its football program in the fall of 2008 and posted a 2-9 overall record last season. The Knights compete in the Mid-South Conference and are members of both the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics and the National Christian College Athletic Association.
Coon knows that the next four years won’t be easy and that there will be even more hard work to be put in if he wants to continue fulfilling his dream. But, in a humble fashion, the soon to be Knight was quick to show appreciation to those who helped him get to this point.
“There are a lot of people that I have to thank for helping me reach this point, rather it be my parents or my coaches or my teammates. I couldn’t have done this by myself, that’s for sure,” Coon said. “I know a lot of people here are rooting for me to do well, so now I just have to keep working hard and hopefully I can keep making them proud. I am looking forward to the next challenge that awaits me.”
Coon is the son of Stacy Matthews and Darrell Hughes.
Bryan Walters can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2101.