KENNEDYS

The Covington News - - SPORTS -

FROM 1B

15th in the coun­try, and he won the Iron Horse Award for most out­stand­ing ath­lete in out­door track.

The fact that Kennedy Sr.’s coach gave him a chance meant so much to him. Kennedy Sr. said he wasn’t that good at first, but he had heart and he worked hard.

“When I came out of New York I was not the top run­ner. When I went to John F. Kennedy Sr.in the Bronx, I was one of 60-some­thing kids on the team and I was just get­ting started com­ing from fresh­man to sopho­more, and all of a sud­den I broke loose. I made the var­sity team by my mid- sopho­more year,” Kennedy Sr. said.

“He stood with me, man — he pushed me. When I was hav­ing is­sues and prob­lems in the streets he kept on me. He’s the one that got me to col­lege.”

Kennedy Sr. tries to em­u­late Gold­berg in the way he coaches and men­tors his team. He cred­its Gold­berg for much of his suc­cess.

“He’s been a men­tor to me, and he’s been like a fa­ther- fig­ure. He’s a great man over­all,” Devon Hines, one of Kennedy Sr.’s as­sis­tants, said. “A lot of times you come across peo­ple and they say they (will) do this or they can do that, but he shows ac­tion. If he says he’s go­ing to do some­thing he does it. With the kids I just see that he loves them, he loves the sport.”

“A lot of the kids, they come in there with prob­lems, emo­tional prob­lems or what­ever and he’s just like, ‘Okay we’re not go­ing to fo­cus on track. I’m go­ing to talk to you and we’re go­ing to see what the is­sue is, and we’re go­ing to take care of it.’”

Kennedy Sr. tries to teach his kids – since many of them face an up­bring­ing sim­i­lar to his – that they can do bet­ter than what they have. Kennedy, his wife Ange- lyn Kennedy and their son Ben­jamin “BJ” Kennedy Jr. vol­un­teer as a fam­ily. BJ has been run­ning since he was five. Now he at­tends Troy Univer­sity on a schol­ar­ship where he’s study­ing sports ther­apy.

Ange­lyn and Ben Kennedy Sr. met in 1982 and have been mar­ried for 24 years in Au­gust.

“He’s good. He’s good at coach­ing the kids in a cou­ple dif­fer­ent dis­ci­plines, es­pe­cially the jumps and the throws,” Ange­lyn Kennedy said.

Kennedy Sr. works at the New­ton County sher­iff’s of­fice as a de­ten­tion deputy and his wife Ange­lyn Kennedy works at Salem as a school teacher. Be­tween the months of Jan­uary and July the Kennedy fam­ily is busy with track and field.

All of the Strid­ers’ ac­tiv­i­ties are paid for out of the Kennedys’ pocket, with some help com­ing from the par­ents.

“It is a bur­den. We take a lot of our own per­sonal money to put into this,” Kennedy Sr. said. “I have some par­ents who’ve been help­ing out giv­ing some of their money to help, but it’s still a lot. We’ve got to pay for our own ho­tel, trav­el­ing and gas. We travel to these places, and it’s a lot, but we do it for the love of the kids.”

“What I’m try­ing to do for these kids is give them hope,” Kennedy Sr. said.

Kennedy Sr. wants his kids to grow up and be able to make con­tracts in­stead of sign­ing them, and that all starts with get­ting an ed­u­ca­tion.

“I’m try­ing to do some­thing for the com­mu­nity to get them more in­volved into ath­letic sports,” Kennedy Sr. said. “Even with the kids that get in­volved some of these par­ents are not in­volved with their kids. I want to wake these kids up that there is more out there than the streets and drugs, be­cause kids who are on a low totem pole feel like they can’t go any­where.”

“Some of these kids have never been any- where,” Kennedy Sr. said. “The last cou­ple years they’ve been some­where. The kids have gone to South Carolina, North Carolina, last year we were in Florida. So we’ve taken some of these kids and en­cour­aged the par­ents to get these kids and let’s go

Shakeem Hol­loway /The Cov­ing­ton News

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