By Dick Ham
Darrell Wells, a life-long resident of Madison County is a dyed-in-the-wool fan of the KHSAA Boy's Sweet Sixteen basketball tournament.
He’s such a fan that he hasn’t missed the tournament in 63 years.
Darrell has continued to attend the tournament despite failing eyesight in recent years.
He had a choice spot in the stands this year with his wife Wanda at his side.
It was my privilege to spend a few minutes with Darrell and Wanda at Rupp Arena during the tournament, and we agreed to meet there again for next year’s tournament.
Darrell’s first attended the tournament in 1951 and has not missed since. I wonder if anyone anywhere can claim such a record.
He has more connection to education and school sports than simply being an avid basketball fan.
Darrell served 14 years as a member of the Madison County School Board and later served as a magistrate.
He and Wanda had a son, Dwayne, who was a beloved teacher and coach at Clark-Moores Middle School. He taught history and physical education in addition to coaching football and baseball. Dwayne died suddenly from a heart attack in October 2010, leaving a wife and kindergarten-aged son.
Darrell and Wanda also are the parents of a daughter, Denise, who lives in Gulf Shore, Ala. Denise’s son, Kyle Daugherty is crew coach for the University of Florida. Her daughter, Keely Daugherty, is a junior at the University of Alabama.
Darrell is a farmer, who, like many Kentucky farmers raised tobacco and cattle for his livelihood. He and Wanda continue to live on their beautiful 600 acre farm on Jacks Creek Road, where they have resided for the entire 54 years of their marriage. Their lovely home is more than 100 years old.
You can say this of Darrell Wells. In addition to being a super basketball fan with a tournament attendance record that may be unequaled, he is an outstanding farmer, educator, husband, father, grandfather, citizen and an all-around fine gentleman.