TriCounty Community Guide 50 Greatest Sports Figures in the Tri-County - Page 24

Ben Lankster Lankster Known during his days at Corbin High School, as a “born leader”, Lankster was a four-year starter in football (quarterback), basketball (guard) and baseball (shortstop) during his playing days in the mid to late 70s. Lankster spent two years on the Corbin American Legion team that won a state championship and two years as a star for Motlow Junior College before fi nishing his college career with (Middle) Tennessee State University. Following his senior season, Lankster was named First Team All-Ohio Valley Conference of 1977. He was drafted by Major League Baseball’s Baltimore Orioles in 1977. Tom Larkey Larkey Larkey started his coaching career at Laurel County High School but he gained his fame while leading the Rockcastle County Rockets. In 37 years of coaching at Rockcastle, Harlan County and Perry County Central, Larkey has a record of 303-135, which has him in the Top 10 among Kentucky high school coaches. He twice took the Rockets to the state title game, falling to Boyle County both times, in 2001 (49-14) and 2002 (21-0). Larkey also believed in hard work, beginning a 21-year stint at Kerns Bakery in London while attending college. Early in his teaching career, Larkey would work several hours a night at the bakery and then get up and go to school the next morning. Larkey’s football career began in junior high school while growing up in London. At London High School his career highlight was an 88-yard interception return for a touchdown against Pineville. He played football and ran track. Larkey attended Sue Bennett in London for two years before moving on to Cum- berland College and then to Eastern Kentucky University to work on his master’s degree while teaching. After graduating from Cumberland College, Larkey began his coaching ca- reer back at London on the middle school level. He then became head of at Laurel County, fi nishing 5-5 in Larkey’s fi rst year, then 7-4 and 6-4 the next two years. After a 4-6 mark in 1977 he stepped down, but remained as cross country and track coach for two more years. He retired from coaching after the 2017 season, and his coaching legacy also lives on in his son, Chris Larkey, who is the head coach at North Laurel High School. 24 | 50 GREATEST SPORTS FIGURES