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SHEPHERDSVILLE – Few names are better known to Bullitt Central athletic fans than ‘Gossett’.
Now, the entire Cougar athletic program is under the direction of Mike Gossett as he recently replaced long-time AD Mark Rogers. Rogers stepped down to concentrate on his job as counselor and watch his son in high school sports.
Gossett actually assumed the controls to the program back in March as principal Christy Coulter and Rogers thought it would make for a smoother transition for Gossett if Rogers was still in the building on a regular schedule. Normally, AD changes take place over the summer, but then the new guy has to hit the ground without any mentoring available.
Gossett is a 1990 Bullitt Central graduate who returned to Bullitt Central in 2007 as the next coach in waiting, working with head coach Danny Leasor during his second stint. Gossett’s football title the past five years has been Associate Head Coach. That all changed when Rogers decided to make a career move while Leasor is still going strong on the sidelines.
The past two years, Gossett had even taken over the school’s track program, rejuvenating what had been a morbid program in the previous years. He did continue with that program in the spring, but stepped down after the season was complete. He will also no longer coach football.
Gossett is the first non-administrator to be the athletic director at Bullitt Central. He will continue to teach German during the school day before putting on his AD hat.
It was just a job that Gossett could not pass up, but it was still a tough decision.
“To give all that up was difficult,” Gossett said earlier this summer. “At the same time it came at an opportune time. With my son graduating and my daughter will graduate next year.
“It was just a time to take a step back and take a look,” the coach added. “Now, I can focus on all the sports programs.”
The Gossett name runs deep at Bullitt Central. Gossett’s late father, Ken, was a tireless booster for the program for over 20 years and both of his sons played for the Cougars including the older son, Jeff. In the early 2000s, Jeff was the head football coach for the Cougars. After Mike’s return in 2007, his son Alex played for the Cougars, earning the first All-State honors in the football program’s history when he was a third-team All-State selection last season at center.
Football will be tough to replace for the new AD.
“I’ve been a football coach for 18 years,” Gossett noted. “I played college football, high school football and youth football. I watched my older brother play here and I watched my dad cut down trees for a practice field.”
The call of the Cougars was just too much to bypass.
“I recall when I was at Fairdale 15 years ago and Paul Dennison (the Fairdale AD at the time) asked if I wanted to help,” Gossett recalled. “I told him he was crazy to do that job.
“But as you get older you get more involved,” the new guy said. “This is my school. I graduated from here. I wondered how I could help. There was a time this type job didn’t interest me, but as I get older I see it as a great opportunity.”
Football and track are not the only sports in Gossett’s background. He also coached wrestling for a time while at Fairdale and his daughter, Amy, is entering her fourth season as a volleyball player at Bullitt Central. Her dad also was around her while she played softball growing up.
“I think I have a pretty good perspective from that,” he pointed out.
After graduating from Bullitt Central in 1990, Gossett played football at Murray State before getting his degree in 1995. The next year, he was an assistant coach at Nelson County, the year that they won the state championship under Mack Brown. The following year, Gossett became one of the youngest coaches in Jefferson County when he took over the Fairdale program.
When the job at Fairdale ran its course in 2004, Gossett became an assistant coach at Southern where he worked alongside his older brother. Then in 2007, Leasor called with an offer that Gossett could not turn down.
At this point, Gossett does not plan to come in and make massive changes even behind the scenes. The new AD comes in at a time of change at Bullitt Central. The school is going through a major renovation that will include some changes to the athletic facilities.
First, new tennis courts are already being constructed this summer at the front of the school and the next stage will include a new auxiliary gym that has long been needed. In addition, after Gossett was in the middle of the storm this past spring when the All-Bullitt County Track and Field Championships had to be held at Fern Creek High School, everyone believes that the Bullitt County Board of Education will make replacing the decrepit tracks at all the high schools a priority.
Bullitt Central’s four-year old baseball and softball complex is finally maturing into a strong venue. Finally, that football practice field that has long been on the drawing board might be ready at some point this fall.
“I think more than anything my hopes and dreams are that we’ll have top-notch facilities here in the future,” Gossett said. “We want to see the construction and the facilities being improved. That’s just continuing what Mark Rogers began.”
Gossett didn’t step out of the Bullitt Central family to start a family. His wife Tiffany (Rice) is also a 1990 Bullitt Central graduate and works now as a substitute teacher in the county as well as being a writer. As a high school senior, Tiffany won a regional tennis title, the last for that program. Presently, Tiffany is the school’s PTSA president.
The AD duties will not all fall on Gossett. Josh Whitehouse, who will replace Gossett as the boys’ track coach, will be the assistant AD.