Troubadours, Community Raise Their Hats to Memorial for Coach Sparks

Gary Newman

The Ashland Beacon



   Good men inspire people, but great men inspire generations. Tuesday, friends and family gathered at Sandy Creek Golf Course to pay tribute to William ‘Bobby’ Sparks almost a year after his passing as a new memorial recently installed was unveiled in his honor. The bench bearing Sparks’ name and favorite Bible verse will serve as a reminder to every player who ever passes that a man who inspired generations once played there.

   Sparks was a part of a special group who call themselves the Troubadours, who raised the funds for this memorial. “We always gathered around McDonald’s and tried to fix the world’s problems,” explains President of Troubadours, Roger Thompson, “we were down there the morning after he passed, we just couldn’t let him go, yet. Someone said let’s do a memorial for him and put it out at the golf course.” With some assistance from Jeff Preston, they moved forward. “To let you know what kind of impression Bob had on people. We started a fund, and by the end of the week we had enough money to buy this bench,” Thompson shared, “When we come up off of this number 9 tee, we see that.”

   “It’s beautiful. They have just been wonderful through all this,” said Karen Sparks. Speaking of the Troubadours, “they do so much for us. They’re always thinking up ways to honor him.” In speaking of Bobby, she expressed, “I never did hear him say anything bad about anyone. If they only knew how much he loved them.”

   The moving tribute of the ceremony continued as folks shared his impact.

   Boyd County basketball standout, Blake Stewart shared, “Coach Sparks was just a special person. He always showed us what the true meaning of God was all about and how to stay focused. He always calmed me down.”

   “He became a very special man in my life from the first time I met him. He always had a cool and calm manner about him,” shared Boyd County Boys Basketball coach, Randy Anderson, “it seemed like everything he did, the advice he gave you was very very solid. It’s an honor and a privilege to be associated with the Sparks family. To be associated with Coach Sparks is as good as it gets.”

   “Forty-three years ago, I met him. He was my seventh grade basketball coach. I’m a teacher and a coach today largely because of Coach Sparks,” Boyd County Athletic Director, Pete Fraley recalled, adding “He’s dearly missed, this bench is wonderful, what you’ve done.”

   “I’ve never heard anyone say a bad word about Bobby,” event emcee Charlie Lewis began and talked about the bench and his friend, “I fought a good fight, I finished my course, I kept the faith. That was Bob’s favorite verse, and anybody who knew Bob knew that was him.”

   “When we go to play golf, when we come in on 18,” Jerry Brown shares, “everybody that’s in the Troubadours – the Tuesday-Thursday bunch, we all raise our hats to Bobby.”

   Now, with this monument to stand in place on that course, generations to come can raise their hats to a great man that continues to touch lives even after he’s gone.