Grafton’s Most Loyal Bearcat to be honored before kickoff tonight


GRAFTON—Once in a great while, a person will come along that will make an impact on generations of students and staff, and tonight before the Bearcats hit the field to take on the Philip Barbour Colts, one such person will be remembered, honored and recognized.

Lonnie Lough was a dedicated Bearcat both during his time at Grafton High School and for the remainder of his life after graduation. Many sports fans will recall seeing his smiling face at many a Bearcat matchup.

While a Bearcat athlete, Lough was a three-sport star, excelling on the baseball diamond, the hardwood of the basketball court and the grass of the football field.

Following graduation in 1962, Lough continued his love for athletics, serving as an umpire in little league baseball, officiating Biddle League basketball and returning to the field as a coach of the inaugural Grafton Pop Warner Football team.

Lough’s dedication to the youth of Taylor County was carried out for many years, but his work in youth sports extended beyond the county’s borders, as he worked as an official in the Big Ten for numerous years.

In his later years, once the coaching whistle came off and the clipboard of plays was put aside, Lough was often a familiar face at Grafton High’s sporting events. He returned to his beloved Grafton High School, where he served as game administration selling tickets and greeting officials, guests and fans from all over.

Many will remember Lough cruising around on or sitting proudly by “his” golf cart before the games. It became a staple scene in the fall at Grafton High School.

Determined to see his Bearcats succeed and have only the best, he served a key role on the Friends of McKinney Field Board, which helped raise over $750,000, in just six months, providing the funding to create a premier sport facility for the county’s athletes and residents to enjoy.

To honor Lough’s legacy at Grafton High School, the Bearcats will be donning a special sticker on their helmets this year as a symbol of his dedication to sports.

When the GHS Soccer teams take to the turf, the Bearcat Basketball teams hit the hardwood and the Baseball Cats line the diamond, fans will notice a special commemorative patch on their uniforms in memory of a true Bearcat.

And that iconic golf cart that so many link with the image of Lough, will be forever tagged with his initials.

Before the coin flip and kickoff, be sure to be in the stands, as Lough’s family receives a special award in his honor. The family is also inviting community members to come to McKinney Field early to help them remember their beloved Bearcat and pay tribute his dedication to Grafton High School Athletics.

“Friends and family, please join us Friday evening, August 30, at 5:30 p.m. in the Mary Battle Room at Grafton High School, to honor the memory of my dad, Lonnie Lough,” wrote Julie Poling on Facebook. “Everyone is invited to attend to share memories and stories.”

Grab your gold and blue, head to McKinney Field and grab your seat early to watch as GHS pays tribute to Grafton’s Most Loyal Bearcat, and then, get ready to bring on the Bearcats!

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