By: Cris RitchieEditor
December 14, 2012
HAZARD – It’s been a good couple of years for Kristie Combs, whose basketball career as an M.C. Napier Lady Navajo remains one of the most accomplished in the history of Kentucky high school athletics.
In April 2011 Combs became the second native of Perry County to be inducted into the Kentucky High School Athletic Association Hall of Fame (Johnny Cox was the first), and now what was a legendary high school career has earned her another distinction.
Joined by family members and her old coach, Combs was on hand Friday morning as Kristie Combs Drive was officially christened with a sign marking the road through Perry County Park.
“I’m very grateful for it, and it surprised me that still the county and the city of Hazard want to recognize the things that I have done throughout my career in basketball,” said Combs, who in addition to her accomplishments as a player also coached for a time. “I’m very appreciative for everything they’ve done. It’s a great honor and it just tops everything off.”
Randy Napier, who currently coaches the girls’ basketball team at Perry Central High School, coached Combs at the former M.C. Napier, where in 1994 the Lady Navajos captured a state title and Combs was named Most Valuable Player during the Sweet 16. Napier said in 2010 when it was announced that Combs would be inducted into the Hall of Fame that she was one of the best basketball players this state has ever produced, and reiterated that sentiment Friday.
“I’ve always been proud of Kristie, and she accomplished so much as a high school player, and now she’s in the Hall of Fame,” Napier said. “It’s a pretty gratifying feeling just to have coached a kid like that.”
Renaming the road Kristie Combs Drive was approved by the Perry County Fiscal Court, and brought for a vote by District 1 Magistrate Frank Hurley, who noted this week that he watched Combs grow up and considering her career and what she was able to accomplish, she deserved further recognition in the county where she was raised.
“She lives in my district, and I represent her on the fiscal court, and I thought she was due some recognition here,” Hurley said.
During her career, Combs set several records that still stand today, including the most three-point field goals made in a state championship game. She amassed 2,792 points and 586 assists, and was named to the All-State team three times. She also played in the Kentucky-Indiana All-Star series in 1994.
And while she may not be playing organized basketball anymore, Combs hasn’t left the game behind just yet. She still officiates and hosts basketball camps, and says she’ll also continue to work to give back to this community where she continues to make her home.
“I have to say that I’ve been blessed with everything that’s happened, and that this community still stands behind me,” she said. “And I give back to this community and will always do that because I’m from here and I love this area, and I’m appreciative of everything that they have done.”