Former local Coaches Gary Abbott and Tim Pyles
By Melodie Phelps
Editor of The Wayne Weekly
If you have followed girls basketball in this town over the past couple of decades, you already know who they are. Tim Pyles and Gary Abbott were among the best coaches in this region during their careers. And the two men were recognized for their accomplishments during the 2021 induction ceremony for the 12th Region Girls Basketball Hall of Fame.
Pyles and Abbott were introduced to the crowd during halftime of the Wayne County girls’ semi-final matchup at Pulaski County High School on Thursday, March 25.
Abbott coached at both local school systems during his career and also at Clinton County. He achieved a lot of success at the helm of the Lady Trojans’ program, as well as the Clinton County Lady Bulldog’s program.
Abbott began his coaching career at Wayne County, right after college. He taught in the school system and began coaching sixth, sevenths and eighth grade basketball. He assisted the legendary coach Joe Harper, and noted in an interview with media several years ago that he learned a lot from the veteran coach.
“ Joe was a very knowledgeable man in basketball,” stated Abbott. “It was exciting listening to him talk about his experiences and some of the game he had been in. There was never a dull moment with Coach Harper.”
Abbott landed his first head coaching position in 1985 with the Monticello Lady Trojans. The program struggled through a tough first year, as Abbott rebuilt the program to a 12th Region stalwart. The Lady Trojans competed in the All A state multiple times and made appearances in the girls Sweet 16.
Abbott left Monticello and became the head coach of the Clinton County Lady Bulldogs, where he led the squad to an All A state title. His daughter Brittany was a member of that championship team.
“There are some amazing moments you never forget and I was able to share one of those with my child,” said Abbott.
Abbott came back to the Monticello School system in 2003, when he became the boys basketball coach, as well as assistant principal.
Pyles was part of the Lady Cardinals program from 1998-2017. He served as an assistant coach the first four years. In 2002, Pyles became the head coach, and over the next 14 seasons his teams won eight district championships, three regional championships and two Sweet 16 Elite 8’s.
During his tenure with the Lady Cardinals program, their record was 315-144.
Pyles was named the 12th Region Coach of the Year in 2006.
In response to the award, Pyles said he would like to give special thanks to all his players and assistant coaches, as well as to Coach Wayne Ryan. He noted that they all share in this special honor.