Kevin Colley, Staff Writer
GLENWOOD — Over the course of New Boston’s run to the Elite Eight, there are many figures that basketball fans are familiar with by now.
Kyle Sexton. Grady Jackson. Jerome McKinley. Malachi Potts. Marcus Saunders. Then, of course, you can’t leave out 6-foot-7 senior forward Tyler Caldwell or Adam Cox, the Tigers’ second-year head coach, or team’s role players and assistant coaching figures that are discussed and placed in postseason media guides.
However, behind the primary figures that are critical to a team’s success, there are individuals that work behind the scenes to make sure the good times keep rolling.
A selfless individual to the fullest extent, New Boston’s Kim Lawless is all about her Tigers in every sport you could think of.
She’s present at every game. She provides mental and emotional encouragement, and she even takes time out of her day to support athletes from programs outside of New Boston whom she’s close with.
It all adds up to one very special lady in which Adam Cox is happy to take on the team’s current magical carpet ride.
“Kim means so well for everything that she does for the kids,” Cox said. “It really means a lot to her for a kid to say, ‘Thank you Kimmy,’ or for a kid to say, ‘I love you, Kimmy.’ It’s little remarks like that, which kids would never dream that would mean anything to someone, that are ones that she takes to heart. She’s a true character of what an angel and a guardian angel is supposed to be. She’s there for our kids, she travels to see them play in every sport, not just basketball, but every sport she is in attendance at. She just goes above and beyond to always do what she feels is something kind or nice for someone else.”
Quick to remind you of the fact that she has kept the scoreboard for New Boston’s boys soccer program for 25 years and counting, Lawless — who takes her role as New Boston’s team mom as seriously as anybody — is as dedicated as they come … to the point where she may not only be New Boston’s number one fan, but Scioto County’s number fan as well.
If it’s a fall day on the soccer pitch, she’s at New Boston Municipal Stadium keeping score. If it’s a winter evening, she’s in a gym — whether it’s an SOC I or SOC II school — watching a game. If it’s spring, she’s supporting her girls on the softball diamond at Millbrook Park.
Along with her good friend Russell Vaught, the duo — affectionately known as Kimmy V and Russ by most — are at a game every night supporting kids from all over the county.
Want to watch Notre Dame’s girls basketball team go up against archrival Clay or vice versa? You’ll find them there.
Want to see an individual athlete, such as Clay’s Bryce Toomire and Cameron DeLotell, or Notre Dame’s Katie Dettwiller, among others, play do special things in their respective sports? They’ll be right there to support them, front and center. When East’s Will Shope and Kyle Flannery each eclipsed 1,000 points for their careers, the pair were there, admiring their talents and personalities.
A graduate of Glenwood High, the boys and girls at New Boston, however, have always been put first in Kimmy V’s mind.
Upon obtaining the Tigers’ head coaching slot in May 2017, Cox knew he needed to make sure that Kim had a special title inside his basketball program.
“When I first got the job, she wanted to videotape,” Cox said. “I said, ‘I’ve got something different planned for you.’ She says, ‘Well, I’ve been videotaping for years.’ I told her, ‘Well, this is kind of an upgrade and a promotion.’ We informed her that we wanted her to be the team mom, and she cried. It meant a lot to her for me to tell her that the boys wanted her around the team more than just to film the games. She was just really heartfelt about the whole thing.”
Certainly excited to be around the team but also cognizant of what kids need today, Kim provides much-needed emotional support for New Boston’s athletes who may have an absent parent, or sadly, two, in the household.
She also arranges the food for the team and, on the team’s current tournament run, she’s joked with Cox about making sure the Tigers bring the correct jerseys to avoid the jersey snafu that occurred in the Tigers’ district semifinal game against South Webster last year.
She does have a point. After all, New Boston, under Cox, hasn’t lost a game at the Convo when they’ve had Glenwood on the front of its jerseys.
“Kim consistently keeps me on my toes,” Cox said. “She’s always making sure that every game, I’ve got the right uniforms for the Convo, as opposed to the first time when we came here and had to wear the practice jerseys that Ohio let us wear. She always reminds me of that. She’s been big on that this year. She’s been big on getting the food ready for the boys as well. Being a part of it is something that she’s always dreamed of, and that’s created memories that she’ll cherish for a lifetime. She’s been on the bus with us, and we get her in the games. We love her. She’s been a big part of it just by encouraging the boys, always being there, and making sure the snack bags are ready and making sure that each kid is fed. She loves the boys more than a lot of people even realize.”
Her love and appreciation for the athletes that she serves, however, comes from a heart that’s bigger than most and an appreciation for life that is matched by very few — including her love for Glenwood High School, the Tigers, and Scioto County in general.
“She’s never asked for anything. She just always does things for others,” Cox said. “She’s a true saint. If there was a saint in New Boston, I would say that it would be Saint Kimmy V. It’s people like Kimmy that really make a team special. She is something special to all of us.”