History of the All “A” Classic
The groundwork for the Kentucky All-A-Classic was formed in 1980 through the efforts of coaches like Stan Steidel of Dayton, Father Ed Heile of Covington Latin, Bill Frey of Covington Holy Cross and others. The inception of a small school basketball tournament began in January of 1980. The first Class “A” Tournament was held at Holy Cross High School in Latonia with eight teams. In 1981 it moved to Bellevue with ten teams, all from Northern Kentucky.
The 1982 to 1989 Classic went statewide by inviting six Class A schools from around the state to compete with the ten northern Kentucky schools. In 1990 the All “A” Classic experienced a dream come true: A statewide championship tournament with sixteen boys’ regional tournament winners competing in Lexington in February. Then in 1991 the All “A” Classic expanded to include the field of 16 boys’ regional winners and included four girls’ sectional winners competing in the statewide finals. In 1992, the statewide tournament again expanded to include eight girls’ teams and in 1993 included the full complement of 16 boys and 16 girls teams.
The Classic is certainly much more than athletic events for baseball, basketball, fast-pitch softball, and volleyball teams. Presently governed by the Kentucky All “A” Classic Board of Control comprised from representatives of each region, statewide competitions are now held in art, academics, and cheerleading. In 2017-2018 over $50,000 was presented to students at “A” schools in the form of scholarships through the diligent efforts of the Classic and its Board of Directors. The art competition is headed by Kevin Sullivan of Kentucky Country Day in Louisville. The competition has drawn between 30 and 40 participants each of the past three years.
The academic competition was conducted by B.B. Kendrick during its 15 years of existence. Mr. Kendrick coordinated both the regional and statewide competition held in January of each year. For the past ten years the statewide competition was held at the Perkins Building on the campus of Eastern Kentucky University. Each year the top four squads received $4,000 in scholarship grants. Unfortunately the competition was cancelled for 2009-2010 due to low participation from the member schools.
The other aspect of the academic dream of the Classic is that of scholarship awards. In 2017-2018 a total of 53 recipients received $1,000 each to assist them in their endeavor to obtain a college education. This was awarded by the Classic toward individual scholarships. Over 500 applicants applied for theses scholarships in 2017-2018. This year a record number of applications is expected. The chairperson for the scholarship committee is Dave Cowden of Hancock County High School.
Cheerleading has also become an integral part of the Classic. In 2001-2002 both at-large statewide and in-game competitions were held. Beginning with the 2007-2008 year the at-large competition was canceled but the in-game competition featuring all 32 Sweet Sixteen squads continues to be conducted yearly during the state tournament held at Eastern Kentucky University.
In 2001-2002 a JROTC competition was instituted. Half of the eligible squads at All “A” schools competed with Corbin taking home first place. The competition featured three categories: Color Guard, IDR Knockout, and Squad Exhibition. The JROTC competition was cancelled during the 2006-2007 season.
A music competition, featuring both vocal and instrumental was established in 2002-2003. Rob James from Eastern Kentucky served as competition coordinator. The music competition was canceled during the 2004-2005 season.
New in 2003-2004 were statewide baseball and fast pitch softball tournaments. The 2018 baseball statewide tournament is scheduled for April 27 – 28 at Chautauqua Park in Owensboro and the 2018 statewide fast pitch softball tournament is scheduled for April 27 – 28 at Jack C Fisher Park in Owensboro.
In 2009-2010 a volleyball statewide tournament was established. The inaugural event was held at both Eastern Kentucky University’s McBrayer Arena as well as Berea Community School. The event featured 16 regional winners competing in pool play followed by a single-elimination tournament. Champions were crowned in both the Championship Division (# 1 and # 2 teams in each pool) and Bronze Division (# 3 and # 4 teams in each pool). The same format continues with the 2018 statewide tournament to be played at Eastern Kentucky University on September 13 and 14.
In 2006-2007 a golf statewide tournament was established. The inaugural event was held in Richmond. The event continues to feature 16 regional champion teams in both girls’ and boys’ divisions. The top two scoring girls’ and boys’ individuals in each region not on the winning team also qualify for the statewide tournament. The top three teams in both girls’ and boys’ divisions receive awards along with the top three individual girls’ and boys’ players. The same format continues with the 2018 statewide tournament to be played in Richmond on September 7.
In 2013-2014 a soccer statewide tournament was established. The inaugural event was held at the Elizabethtown Sports Park. The event featured 8 girls’ and 8 boys’ sectional winners competing in single-elimination tournaments. In 2015-2016 the statewide tournament moved to Capital View Park in Frankfort. The 2018 statewide tournament will be played in Frankfort on September 21 and 22.