From NKAA, Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (main entry)

Abernathy, Ronald L.

(born: 1950) 

Ronald L. Abernathy was born in Louisville, KY to Ben W. and Juanita Abernathy. He is a graduate of Morehead State University (BA) and Louisiana State University (MA).

Abernathy was a teacher at Shawnee High School in Louisville in 1976 when he received both the Teacher of the Year Award and was second in the state for Kentucky High School Coach of the Year. From 1972-1976, he was head basketball coach at the school.

He left Kentucky to become an assistant basketball coach at Louisiana State University, 1976-1989, the first African American basketball coach hired full-time at the school, serving as recruiting coordinator and chief scout. He was heavily involved in bringing Shaquille O’Neal to play for LSU.

Abernathy was head coach at Tennessee State University, 1989-1991, before returning to Louisiana to work for Gov. Edwin Edwards. In 1992, he served as a social worker at Pasco Middle School in Dade City, FL. He later coached basketball again at 
River Ridge High School, New Port Ritchey, FL.

In 2006, he was named athletic director at Lane College in Jackson, TN and coached the basktball team, becoming the winningest coach in Lane College history. In 2012, he was teaching kindergarten at St. Mary’s Catholic School in Jackson, where he also served as athletic director and coached the boys and girls middle school basketball teams.

In 2014, Aberrnathy became head coach of the Humboldt High School boys basketball team in Humboldt, TN. In 2019, "Coach Ab" was named Boys Basketball Coach of the year in Tennessee.

In his career, he has coached players from fourth graders up through NCAA Division I basketball.

For more see Dale Brown's Memoirs from LSU Basketball, by D. Brown; Who's Who Among African Americans, 1980-2006; Carson, Jim, "Abernathy sure he's in right place no matter what", Tampa Bay Times website, Sept. 15, 2005; "West TN Coach to be Honored at Final Four" WBBJ TV 7 website, March 27, 2012; Wade, Danny, "Abernathy earns TSSAA Coach of the Year Award," Gibson County News website, Nov. 5, 2019; and Wade, Danny, "Abernathy Celebrates 150 Wins" Gibson County News, Jan. 19, 2021.

Kentucky County & Region

Read about Jefferson County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Kentucky Place (Town or City)

Read about Louisville, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Outside Kentucky Place Name

Item Relations

Cited in this Entry

NKAA Source: Dale Brown's memoirs from LSU basketball
NKAA Source: Who's who among African Americans

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“Abernathy, Ronald L.,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed May 21, 2024,

Last modified: 2021-04-23 17:30:50