Beyond the Game: Muhlenberg County coach Mike Harper reaches 400th win

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GREENVILLE, Ky. (WBKO)-- He's one of the most decorated basketball coaches not only in the area but across the state.

Longtime Muhlenberg County girls basketball coach Mike Harper added another impressive feat to his coaching career after winning his 400th game.

"I guess I'm getting old for one thing," Harper jokingly said about winning 400 games. "Been doing it a long time and a lot of good players have gone into that---winning those 400 games.

"It's really been a joy and a blessing for me to be able to coach these guys."

A Muhlenberg County guy through and through, Harper graduated from Muhlenberg Central High School where he was a four-year starting point guard scoring more than 1,000 career points.

He played college basketball at Northeast State Junior College, but he admittedly got a little homesick and stopped playing after one season, eventually finishing his education at Western Kentucky University.

His head basketball coaching career started in 1996, when he took over at the old Muhlenberg North High School where he coached for 12 seasons, before taking over for the current Lady Mustangs' squad once the schools consolidated.

"The relationships you build over time is what's important," Harper said. "And I look at it too, not just with the kids you coach, with the people you coach with, with people you coach against, with officials you get to know. I feel like through sports and coaching that I have made a lot of lifelong friendships."

To go along with the 400-plus wins, Harper has collected an astounding nine regional championships, eight district titles and two trips to the final four in the state tournament.

He said watching what his players achieve not only on the court but in the classroom and after high school is what he's most proud of, and the players consider themselves the lucky ones.

"It was really nice. I'm glad he got his 400th win and I was glad to be a part of it," Senior forward Erica Cary said. "He's a good coach and teaches you how to be a better person on and off the court."

"It's really great having that extra support system between the coaches and the teams," Senior forward Sheridan Piper said. "Having someone to look up to and learn from."

With close to two decades in the game, Harper said his passion for coaching is stronger than ever and he looks forward to what's in store for this current team and future ones.

"He is a very awesome coach, very successful," Senior guard Raegan Blackburn said. "He pushes us to our limits and he really believes in the players and what we can do here for the program.

"I just want to say, 'Thank you' for everything he's done. 'Congrats' on his big accomplishments and I can't wait to see what the future holds for both of us."

"I've enjoyed it," Harper said about coaching. "Of course, I'm getting a little bit older now and a little bit more tired at times. But this team has been very rewarding to coach and they've given me a little bit of energy"

"I love sports of all kind so sports is always going to be a part of my life in some way."