Andy Griffith: What It Was, Was Football

| July 12, 2012

Let’s start with some cute stories to get in a good mood despite this @#$%&* weather.

Of all the things I’ve read and heard about Andy Griffith, the thing that I liked best about him didn’t get much mention because, I guess, it was on the radio before TV took over.

Remember Andy’s “What it was, was  football”? It was his description of the first time he saw a football game, and it was priceless and still is.

I and a lot of other Louisvillians will always be thankful that we got to see Andy on the stage in “No Time for Sergeants” at Memorial Auditorium many moons ago.

Thank goodness for TV reruns.

Arist Leroy Nieman in 2007.

LeRoy Nieman, R.I.P.

A lot of Kentuckians got to see the artist LeRoy Nieman either in his visits to the Ryder Cup at Valhalla or when he visited other sporting events. He painted Muhammad Ali countless times. The artist died last week  at  91. This story is about one of his visits to a UK basketball game at Rupp Arena.

To set the stage: He had an eye for beautiful women. He charged between  $10,000 to $15,000 to paint them and they had to go to his New York studio for the sitting.

A couple I know went to Rupp to watch the Wildcats. If you have ever been to a game there, you know how the crowd  mingles in the hotel lobby before games. My friend’s wife, who was drop-dead gorgeous, went on in to sit down well before the game. Nieman spotted her in her seat and approached her. He told her how he would love to paint her, and that he would pay all expenses to New York and not charge her a cent!

She could hardly wait for her husband to rejoin her. When he did, she excitedly told him, “Honey, I have great news and you aren’t going to believe it.”

Said her husband, “No, you wait a minute, Do I have great news for YOU! I started a conversation with LeRoy Nieman, and he agreed to paint you. I gave him a check for $15,000 and the only other things we have to pay are expenses.”

Just ask John L.

If anyone ever approaches you about investing in an oil well or in a subdivision development, run as fast at you can – far, far away from them.

Just ask John L. Smith. Sad, sad, sad.

But there’s light at the end of the tunnel. When football season starts, his Arkansas team figures to be so good that those Razorback fans will line up to see that he makes it through many, many winters.

UK’s money woes 

Surely there are a lot of UK supporters who are bewildered  by the latest news about Big Blue money woes. But stay tuned and see if you agree there really are money woes. It depends if the news comes from the Administration, where the mere president is housed, or from the Kingdom of Athletics where the real power, His Highness King Mitch Barnhart lies.

UK’s president announces faculty cuts and student-fee increases, while King Barnhart makes coaching staff, stadium and unbelievable salary increases.

It is not pennies I’m talking about, but million dollar salaries for coaches, and bloated coaching staffs for sports that the public doesn’t care about. Isn’t there anyone who simply doesn’t care about what is going on in Athletics? I don’t see how UK’s new president can look students and faculty members in the face. Oh, that’s right. There aren’t as many faculty members around now, are there?

Really now, can anyone defend a new baseball stadium?

Does the president ever  squirm when the news comes out of Athletics?

My first thought about King Barnhart adding so much money to so many spring sports was surely it isn’t because his contract gives him added $$$$$ in the Athletic Directors standings of all sports.

How about chess?

Julian Tackett  is commissioner of the Kentucky High School Athletic Association. He is my friend and a former colleague with whom I worked several years after retiring from The Courier-Journal. I can assure one and all that he is smart as a whip and has the best interests of our students at heart.

Bass fishing (please don’t laugh) is Julian’s latest sport added to the KHSAA list.

I have one more sport that should be added. Chess. Don’t laugh. No other sport in the KHSAA lineup requires and develops brainpower as well as chess does.

And it is not very costly. No million dollar coaches in this sport.

Adam Dunn: All-Star!

I couldn’t believe it either when I saw that Adam Dunn has been selected for the American League All-Star team. The Chicago White Sox first baseman is the most exasperating batter I have ever seen in all the thousands of major league games I have seen.

As always, when he was breaking hearts with the Reds, Dunn had tremendous power. Trouble is, he takes too many pitches, gets in a hole and then strikes out or takes a third strike.

Category: Earl Cox on Sports

About the Author (Author Profile)

Earl Cox, Sports Columnist
502.897.8910

Earl doesn¹t just write about sports legends, he counts many of them as his
friends. A member of the Kentucky Athletic Hall of Fame, he has been writing
about sports for 60 years. Incidentally, that¹s about how long it’s been
since he¹s cleaned his desk but he knows where everything is.

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