Doug Hampton

Doug Hampton’s office at 101 E. Pike St. is filled with pictures and memorabilia that tells the story of his life.

Family. It’s mostly family pictures that line the shelves and dot the walls in Doug Hampton’s downtown Cynthiana office, but there are a few others, too. Those may not be family pictures, but they are still certainly near and dear to his heart.

Hampton, who on May 23, will celebrate 50 years in business, sits at his desk under a painting of an old coal miner. There are other pictures depicting the coal mines and miners, which are reminders of where he comes from in Harlan County where coal was once king. His father worked in the coal mines and even had a heart attack while working. It didn’t end his life, but it certainly shortened it. J.L. Hampton died when he was just 67 years old.

Doug married Patsy Palmer while they were both in school at EKU and came to Harrison County after graduation.

He joined the Wilson Palmer Real Estate firm as a salesman in 1973 after having taught school in Harrison County for two and half years and coached football for two seasons at HCHS.

Soon after he joined his father-in-law, Mr. Palmer suggested that Doug pursue auctioneering. Local auctioneer Charlie Switzer sponsored Doug and the two became fast friends.

“It’s funny how something that you never planned for becomes your mainstay and source of income,” Doug said. “Wilson Palmer was a wonderful mentor. There is no father-in-law/son-in-law who ever had a better relationship than we did.”

Doug Hampton believes in keeping busy. He is not only still active in his real estate and Hurst Home insurance business, but he is also the time out coordinator at the University of Kentucky Wildcats home basketball games. What that entails, Doug said, is making sure that the clock starts when the broadcasters want it to start.

“I have mid-court seats at Rupp Arena and get paid to sit there,” Doug said with a wide smile.

It was all happenstance how that position came about.

Doug tried out to be an SEC basketball official. He was qualified, but there were younger guys who could do the job as well. In fact, his oldest son, John, was just starting to officiate and Brent, the youngest, wasn’t far behind. Now, both are Division I referees.

Doug said he could have been upset about being shunned as an SEC official, but he said it hardly seemed worth it.

It was five years after Doug tried out that he received a call from the same official asking him to keep the clock for UK.

“If I had burned that bridge, I wouldn’t have been offered the UK job,” Doug said, adding that he will continue in that position as long as the producers tell him he is doing a great job.

From 1971 to 1996 Doug officiated high school and small college basketball games. He was one of the officials for the first state tournament games at Rupp.

And still, there’s more to Doug Hampton than real estate, auctioneering and basketball. He is also The Pizza Man.

“That journey started with me not being able to make a pizza or even get one in the oven without screwing it up to having the high school culinary class in for two sessions,” Doug laughed, adding that initially he showed the students how to make the dough. The followup was how to top it and bake it. they already knew how to eaat it.

Dugan’s Pizza is a delicacy to all who have had one of his creations. He went to pizza college in New York to learn how to build a masterpiece pizza.

Doug makes his pizzas in his basement kitchen. He doesn’t “sell” them, but he does attach a stamped envelop to each box with the hopes that donations will be made to the Harrison County Food Pantry.

Doug is quick to recognize that his walk over the last 50 years has not been alone. Again, he credits Wilson Palmer as a great mentor and man. His wife, Patsy, is the rock of the family, which consisted of the two sons, John and Brent and daughter Sherri Beth. There are also 14 grandchildren, 12 of whom are boys.

“As long as the Lord lets me live, I’ve got ballgames to attend,” Doug said.

He also expressed great gratitude to Mary Todd Ashbrook who has breathed new life into the firm.

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