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Dawn Steps Down, Collopy Steps In as Newport Catholic Boys Basketball Coach

After a thrilling season that culminated in an appearance in the state semifinals, Ron Dawn has resigned as head coach of the Newport Central Catholic boys basketball team.

The school made the announcement on Friday.

“I am grateful to all the young men and ladies I have had the honor of coaching over the years and to all those who coached alongside of me,” Dawn said in a statement.

In one of the program's finest seasons, New Cath toppled #1-ranked Covington Catholic to claim the 9th Region crown and a berth in the KHSAA/Sweet 16 at Rupp Arena where the 'Breds knocked off Louisville powerhouse Trinity in the opening round and then a strong Murray squad in the second round before ultimately falling in the semifinals to Lexington Dunbar.

New Cath has a proud tradition that includes regular domination of the Kentucky "All A" Classic tournament for smaller schools in the Commonwealth and administrators were quick to name Dawn's replacement: Kenny Collopy, a 2003 graduate of NCC who has served as an assistant to Dawn on the basketball team since 2012 and who also teaches English at the Newport campus. 

Collopy’s past experience as a varsity assistant includes stops at Highlands, Bishop Brossart, and Holy Cross. 

”It is with great enthusiasm and humility that I continue the successful traditions of Newport Central Catholic basketball," Collopy said in a statement. "I look forward to the process of aiding these young men to become better basketball players, and more importantly, better people. I have a true passion for this school, and to have the opportunity to be an educator and head coach at my alma mater is a true blessing.”  

Dawn also graduated from NCC, in 1974, and was a standout basketball player in his own right. He started his coaching career in 1980 and became head coach in 1990. Dawn took a five-year break to follow his son's college basketball career and then resumed his head coaching duties on the girls' side in 2009. In 2013, Dawn took over the boys program again, and won three more All A titles.

According to the school, Dawn is the only coach in the state to win an All “A” State Championship in both boys and girls basketball. Additionally, he is the only 9th Region Coach to win a regional title for both the boys and girls.

Dawn retires with 495 career victories.

“Ron Dawn has had a tremendous impact on NCC. From being a Hall of Fame player and coach, to a great mentor to student athletes and younger coaches, he has always handled himself with class," said NCC Principal Jason Huther, in a statement. "He is respected by his players, colleagues, and opposing coaches. He has accomplished things that no other coach in the state of Kentucky has accomplished.  His love for the game and devotion to NCC is unmeasurable - he is a bedrock in this community and in our school.”  

Dawn will remain on staff at NCC as a teacher and Dean of Students.

“It is a bittersweet day for me," said NCC Athletic Director Rob Detzel. "On one hand, I am very sad to see Coach Dawn retire. He has done so much for this program, our student athletes, and for me personally. It is wonderful to see him go out after such a successful season. On the other hand, I am very excited that Coach Collopy is going to be our next head coach. He has a great basketball mind, is a great teacher, and an even better person. I know he is going to add to the great tradition of Newport Central Catholic basketball."

Collopy resides in Cold Spring with his wife Jenny Prigge Collopy (NCC ‘04), his son Keegan, 4, and daughter, McKenzie, 2. They have a third child due in October.

Staff report

Photo: Ron Dawn coaches in the 9th Region finals in 2016 (Brian Frey/RCN file)