I ran across a quote that says, “The quieter you become, the more you can hear.” This quote matches the persona of LaRue County Track Boys Head Coach and Assistant Football Coach Sonny Judd.
Judd was born and raised in LaRue County, and a 1994 graduate of LCHS. He would then leave two months later for the Air Force. He is the parent of three kids. Trae (20) Savanna (14) freshman at LCHS, Ryker (7) kindergarten at ALES.
While in the Air Force, Judd would obtain a degree in Aircraft Technology and a degree in Human Resources. “I spent half of my career as a Flying Crew Chief, and the other half as a Military Recruiter,” says Judd. He is currently working on his MBA from Western Kentucky University. Judd has been the In-School Suspension coordinator at LCHS for the last three years.
Assistant LCHS Principal Chris Price says, “He has taken over as our ISS supervisor and done an excellent job. He is personable and yet holds the students that are placed there to high standards. His strongest assets are his organizational skills and his calm demeanor”
Judd never sought out coaching. In fact, “I started coaching just so my son could play soccer. We had just moved to another base and when I went to sign him up for U-6 soccer I was told the teams were full, but if I were interested in coaching, they would open another team because there were other kids that were not picked to be on a team. Therefore, like a Disney movie, I was coaching a team full of kids that was not picked for the league, except in my movie, we did not win a game and we were not even competitive. However, in the last game, we scored a goal (first of the year) and the team celebrated as if they won the World Cup. It still makes me smile even thinking about it today. I still have the picture of that team hanging up in my house. That was 16 years ago and I have been coaching ever since. Being a military family, we were constantly moving every 3-4 years.”
Judd would begin his football-coaching career when his son was later a freshman in high school. “It was a small private school in middle Georgia called Central Fellowship Christian Academy. After speaking with the coach for a few minutes, I asked if he needed any help. A few weeks later, I was named the Offensive Coordinator of a team of thirteen kids that were trying to compete at Football in Middle Georgia.” We were not very successful. 0-10 to be exact. (one of those kids made it to the NFL) However, I had passion for coaching and I knew it was exactly where I was supposed to be.”
Judd coached at Central Fellowship for three years, and their record improved each season. “I had retired after 20 years from the Air Force and I was ready to come home. That following season (2016), I was asked to join the football staff at LCHS by Coach (Tony) Hatmaker.”
Judd brings some experience to the Boys Track team here at LCHS. He says, “Since the school I coached football at in Georgia was a small school most all of the football players including my son ran track. So helping with track was a must.”
“So far this year I have been pleasantly surprised by the team,” says Judd. “The current track athletes bought in immediately to me being named the head coach. And several familiar faces from the football program joined the team. Coach Jaggers has been instrumental at not only recruiting but also emphasizing the advantages of running track. Coach Hardin has taking the time to show me the ropes and has answered countless questions. In addition, of course I have been blessed by having Coach Mitchell out there feeding me with insight and information. Great thing to have the ear of a living legend.”
Judd has one focus in mind this season. “I am focused on also building this program from the ground up, and that starts in the middle school. I expect the same work ethic and intensity out of those guys as I do the upperclassmen. I tell them all that I expect them to win. If they do not I remind them that if you go through life undefeated you have been facing the wrong opponent. It is about getting better and understanding that there is always room for improvement.”
“Run harder” has been the slogan this year. I joke and say that to the guys when they ask me what they need to be doing. However, in reality, what I am telling them is they need to work harder, train harder, play attention to the details and what their body is telling them. I will help them with technique and organization but when they are on that track, they are alone. Only they know if they can “Run Harder”.
Head Football Coach Josh Jaggers speaks highly of Judd. “He is a leader. His military career, if nothing else, says that. Being retired Air Force; the leadership qualities and his ability to communicate with everybody he meets along with his unique strengths as a problem solver are qualities that I am not sure you can master as he has. He has certain qualities that you just either have or you do not. Couple that with his extensive military background, and you get the type of educator/coach that are just flat out hard to come by.”
“It has been everything you could want in a co-worker, who has since become a close friend over the past year of us really knowing one another. Coach Judd is the epitome of a team player. He wants what is best for the team. He is not worried about his ego either as an assistant coach in football or as the head coach in track. Case in point with track; he has asked Coach Jack Mitchell to come back out and help with the track team on a daily basis. Coach Mitchell built the track program and obviously has a wealth of knowledge; he is forgotten more about track than most, as coaches will ever know. Having somebody like Coach Mitchell around would intimidate many coaches, because they are more concerned about their own ego and feelings instead of what is best for the team. Coach Judd recognizes what a wealth of knowledge Coach Mitchell brings to the track team.”
Jaggers continues, “The same goes for football. This season when I was hired back, we took a total 180 approach to how we were on the offensive side of the ball, and Coach Judd was all in from the get go. He is a football junky- always learning, watching film, clinics, etc. The tiny details that many coaches take for granted are the things that he will analyze and break down to a ‘T’.”
Judd’s disposition is very calming, always listening before speaking. He rarely gets emotional about any situation, except maybe on a Friday night during a football game. Judd has proven he can lead in all situations. LCHS is very fortunate to have his leadership to our student-athletes.
Jaggers said that Judd’s best quality is his ability to form relationships. “He is a relationship builder. He does not just communicate; he connects with all of young men and women. It is paramount to have people like him within the walls of your school building every day because of those every quality above that he brings to the table. Everybody that plays for him loves him. He gets to know the person, not just the athlete.”
Case in point Dane Milby and Chase Puyear who have played for Judd the last three seasons. Milby says, “Coach Judd has made a huge impact not only in my football career, but my career as an athlete. He has been there for me no matter how much crap I put him through and truly, he is like a second dad to me. He has helped me with multiple decisions I have had to make both athletically and real life. I love that man to death and he has been a huge part of my life ever since he decided to come to LaRue.
Chase Puyear says, “Coach Judd played a key role in our success last year during football, he’s one of those coaches that pick you up, and makes you feel a little better after coach Jaggers just ripped you up and down. I do not know what i would do without him; he has always been there for me no matter what and is always willing to help with anything. He knows what it takes to be the best and I’m glad we have him on our side.”