Tim Haworth is an unabashed family man.
The Hopkinsville boys’ basketball coach’s face lights up when discussing his wife Leah, daughter Madelyn and his most recent news — the announcement of a future son, Isaiah Timothy.
Second on the list of Haworth’s priorities is also crystal clear: It’s basketball.
Wednesday night, with the Tigers’ 57-46 comeback victory at Henderson County, Haworth’s passion hit a significant milestone. Not only did the Murray State grad and Mayfield native win his 150th game; Haworth also passed Terry Hayes as the second-winningest coach in HHS program history.
Haworth, in his sixth year as head coach, also reached 150 the quickest of anyone who has ever paced the Tiger bench. Along with an unprecedented four straight regional championships and subsequent trips to the state tournament, Haworth also owns, by far, the highest winning percentage at .838.
He’s now 30 wins from tying Hopkinsville’s all-time wins leader — Daryl Hallmark — who won 180. Hayes and Hallmark both had respective 10-year coaching tenures with the Tigers.
“I would have never dreamed that we’d be in this position. And I say ‘we’ because you have to have a good administration,” he said. “I’ve been blessed to work under two great principals — Demetria Choice and Curtis Higgins — to go along with awesome assistant principals, teachers, and it goes on down the line including great coaches I’ve been able to work with.”
Before Haworth’s arrival, Hoptown had six 20-win seasons from 1955 to 2010. In just under six seasons at the helm, Haworth has five — three of which that have included 30 wins or more.
Haworth’s success at Hoptown is not only unparalleled when it comes to school history. The bald-headed, highly-animated, hoarse-voiced coach has just 29 losses to his name and is teetering on the brink of joining nearly-exclusive company. Under the direction of Haworth, the Tigers are just the 15th team in Kentucky high school boys’ basketball history to win four straight regional crowns.
A fifth straight title in 2016 would make Hoptown the eighth team to ever hit that streak and the first since Oldham County in 1989.
“I never expected this much success this early,” Haworth said. “There are a lot of good coaches out there who never even get a chance to go to one state tournament. So for us to go four years in a row, that’s been a huge blessing.”
Haworth, who served as a men’s basketball graduate assistant under coach Mick Cronin at Murray State and later as an assistant coach at Murray High School, coached under Hoptown’s Jim Simmons before taking over the program on Aug. 3, 2010.
Since then, he’s mentored a slew of players who have gone on to play at the next level.
“(The players) are first on the list (of people to thank) because they’re the ones that go out and play every night,” Haworth said. “God’s really blessed me with great kids and great people around me. We’ve also been pretty fortunate to stay mostly injury-free.”
When reflecting on his 150 wins, Haworth immediately recalled last year’s 2nd Region Tournament semifinal upset over Henderson County — a team that was ranked No. 2 in the state and projected to dethrone Hopkinsville.
“They were that good — they were really big time — and the whole year it was like everybody was counting us out,” Haworth said. “So that one definitely sticks out.”
Haworth also pointed to last Friday’s triumph over Nashville Ensworth (Tenn.), a team featuring several Div. I players that came into Tiger Gym with an unblemished 16-0 record, as one of his most memorable.
As for the future, Haworth says he’s not worried about if or when he catches Hallmark. He does plan, however, on being around long enough to have a shot.
“My wife and I love it here and we want Madelyn, and our baby boy Isaiah, to be able to grow up in Hoptown,” Haworth said. “I see this as a long-term destination and God willing, I get to stay here for another 30 years.”
REACH CHRIS JUNG at 270-887-3261 or firstname.lastname@example.org