From The Sidelines: Missing one of my best friends in Harlan County sports


Tim Noe was pictured with his granddaughter, Savannah Hill.

By John Henson, Managing Editor

As Harlan County freshman guard Savannah Hill hit a short jumper in the second half of the Lady Bears’ win Tuesday over Harlan, I found myself listening for a familiar voice.
It was only a second or two before I remembered I won’t be hearing Tim Noe congratulate his granddaughter in his positive and enthusiastic way. I’ve heard it hundreds of time through the years, beginning with his days as pitching coach for the Harlan High School baseball team, then following his daughter, Misty, in basketball, and his son, Timbo, in baseball, basketball and football. The last few years I would see him watching and supporting his grandsons, Eli Noe and Luke Hill, with the Wallins Purple Devils in basketball and archery, or Savannah in basketball and then last fall when she played a key role on the Lady Bears’ district championship volleyball team.
I’ve struggled the past week after hearing of his death trying to get used to the idea I won’t be seeing Tim anymore. Tim and I spent hours watching and talking outside the dugout in his days as pitching coach under Murph Howard.
As someone who grew up across U.S. 421 from Cawood High School and with a good memory for all things sports, I remembered Tim from his pitching days for the Trojans, so we discussed Cawood legends like Boyd Fox, Johnny Mills and John D. Wilson. We talked sports and anything I may have written in the Harlan Daily Enterprise. He was always positive and upbeat with the teens he coached and congenial with all the people he met through the games.
Tim was the only non-family member who came out to see me at the hospital about 20 years ago when I found a way to break my leg while lifting weights at home. He told me dozens of times how much he liked my writing and missed it in the newspaper. Tim wanted to talk a month or so back at a basketball game at Pineville, but I was in a rush to write down lineups and get ready for the game, so I couldn’t stay long. He understood my quirks and knew I couldn’t take a chance on missing one play.
I’ve met a lot of people over the past 40 years or so through sports, but sitting here at home writing this it’s hard for me to think of many, if any, who had a more positive outlook on the games we both loved so much and the young people we watched and supported. I can’t help but think somewhere Tim had a big smile on his face watching Savannah hit that shot.