Blanton honored with 2022 Lifetime Achievement Award by 13th Region Media Network


Luther Blanton, a former scorekeeper at Wallins, Cawood, Harlan and Harlan County high schools, received the 13th Region Media Lifetime Achievement Award this year for his 56 years of service to the region. Blanton received a plaque from sports writer/teacher John Henson, a member of the 13th Region Media Network.

From the late 1950s through 2013, through two consolidations that saw the number of Harlan County high schools go from 12 to two, Luther Blanton was one of the most familiar faces around 13th Region basketball and a constant presence at scorers tables throughout the mountains.
He had a 56-year run as a scorekeeper in Harlan County, serving as official scorekeeper for the 52nd District Tournament for many years.
For his decades of service to high school basketball in the 13th Region, Blanton is one of this year’s recipients of the 13th Region Media Lifetime Achievement Award. Blanton was recently presented the award by Harlan County editor John Henson, a former Harlan Daily Enterprise editor who is a longtime friend and travel partner of Blanton’s from the 1980s to the present day.
“I am really feel honored to receive the 13th Region Media Lifetime Achievement Award, especially with seven counties being in the region. I am always looking forward to the next season,” said Blanton, who hasn’t missed a 52nd District Tournament in 65 years.
“Luther has been the one constant in Harlan County basketball going back to the 1950s,” Henson said. “I have always been amazed at how many friends Luther has around eastern Kentucky and how many people ask about him when I’m covering games. Coaches and administrators trusted and respected Luther for his honesty, consistency and professionalism.”
When he was a freshman at Wallins High School in Harlan County in the fall of 1957, Blanton started keeping the basketball scorebook for the Purple Devils. He then moved on to James A. Cawood High School when it opened in 1966 following a merger of Wallins, Hall and Loyall high schools. He moved over to Harlan High School in the 1970s and served as the Dragons’ scorekeeper for a decade. When Billy Hicks left as coach in 1986, Blanton returned to Cawood High School and stayed there until the school closed in 2008.
When Harlan County High School opened in 2008, Blanton was the first scorekeeper for coach Mike Jones’ Black Bears. He served in that role until retiring following the 13th Region Tournament finals in 2013 at Harlan County High School. His last game was the Bears’ loss to Clay County in the regional finals. Blanton still lives in Wallins and is a regular at Harlan County games, sitting one row behind his familiar spot at the scorers table. He was on the HCHS bench when the Bears made their first state tournament appearance in 2017.
“For nearly six decades, Mr. Blanton was a staple at games throughout our county. He has always been one of the most supportive people of the Harlan County Public Schools and their athletic programs. He’s a proud Harlan County Schools graduate and has spent his life giving back to the people of his hometown,” said Eugene Farmer, the athletic director at Harlan County High School. “This honor is unquestionably deserved and we would like to thank Luther for his many years of service and his continued support of the Harlan County Public Schools.”