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Liberty University's Lady Flames
This article first appeared in issue 20, and was written by Staff.
NCAA Division I tourney entrants two years in a row get prayerful support from Harmon and Nancy Parnell of Sparksville. Son-in-law Rick Reeves is coach. And this fall, their granddaughters, Kimmie and Krystal, will both be varsity players
When the Liberty University Lady Flames went 28-0 in regular season, winning the Southern Conference championship and making a second NCAA Division-I Tournament appearance, Harmon and Nancy Parnell of Sparksville had reason to cheer.
The Flames coach, Rick Reeves, is their son-in-law, and their granddaughter, Kimmie Reeves, is a team player.
Even though the Lady Flames lost in the first tournament game, it didn't diminish their pride. They lost to the best - the University of Tennessee Lady Volunteers who were the eventual champions. The Vols are considered by many the best women's basketball team ever assembled in the history of the collegiate sport.
Sportswriters generally agree, too, that the Lady Flames would have survived much longer in the tournament if the NCAA seeds had been fairer.
A 16th seed, they were matched against Tennessee. The Flames' unbeaten season, even Knoxville journalists agree, deserved a higher seed and an easier first round opponent.
Coach Rick Reeves's wife, Ramona Parnell, is an Adair County High School graduate who had moved here when her parents brought the family back to Sparksville following her dad's retirement from the Air Force. Rick was visiting in Adair County with a friend when he met his future wife.
Rick Reeves is from basketball-rich Morgan County, Indiana, which also happens to be the boyhood home of former UCLA Coach Johnny Wooden.
Reeves coached boys high school basketball in Calhoun at McLean County; and also at Brescia College, Owensboro; and the University of Florida. He's been at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, for the past eight seasons.
This fall, his younger daugh-ter, Krystal, will join Kimmie as a Lady Flame.
One thing you can be sure of: Win or lose, the Coach and his daughters won't be short of support. Liberty University is an 11,000-student school committed to Christain values. Chancellor Jerry Falwell is an ardent Lady Flames fan.
Spiritual matters have top priority with Coach Reeves. Long-term, he sees his life's mission in using basketball to open doors on the mission field. "I never want to get complacent about my spiritual life," he is quoted in this year's media guide.
He's had winning seasons and he's had losing ones, the most recent just two years ago.
"Rick Reeves can attest to being on the mountain top and in the valley, all within the last two years" his school biographer writes, "And he can also attest to God's grace being with him every step of the way."
And on the mountain top back in Sparksville, he's got family for him all the way.
From his daughter's grandparents to their uncle, Pastor Randy Parnell of Eagle's Nest Church at Sparksville, and Parnell kith and kin, Adair County prayers are with them.
This story was posted on 1998-05-15 12:01:01
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