Hall of Famers and UK QB!

| January 5, 2012
Paul Hornung, Patrick Towles and Jim Bunning posed with the Paul Hornung Award.

Paul Hornung, Patrick Towles and Jim Bunning posed with the Paul Hornung Award.

Confession: I belong to the dumbest club in Kentucky, the Louisville Quarterback Club.

How dumb are the members?

Well, the Quarterbackers could have sold out just about any banquet room in Louisville but the audience was limited to club members and their friends.

What was the big draw? Two of the absolute greatest Kentucky athletes in history:

Paul Hornung, the only Kentuckian to win a Heisman Trophy, plus he was an All-American at Notre Dame and All-NFL with Vince Lombardi’s Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers. He was the NFL’s leading scorer in history when  he retired and is in the NFL Hall of Fame.

Jim Bunning is the other Kentucky headliner. He is a member of Baseball’s Hall of Fame after a glittering career in both the American League and the National Leagues. He led AL in strikeouts twice with the Detroit Tigers and twice in the NL with the Philadelphia Phillies.

And they weren’t the main attraction!

Towles is UK bound

One of former U.S. Senator Bunning’s talented grandsons, quarterback Patrick Towles of state champion Fort Thomas Highlands, was the big attraction. Even before the 2011 season started, Towles was favored to win top individual honors—and he did. He committed to UK before the season and he can’t wait to get to the Lexington campus for summer school. And passing to some of his Wildcat teammates.

Patrick says he is “just a bit between  6-foot-5 and 6-6.” He is a magnificent specimen for a football player with about 240 pounds in all the right places. He said, “I am very excited about Kentucky.”

Best since Couch?

A lot of football observers say that he is the best quarterback our state has produced since Tim Couch.

Grandpa Bunning just wants  everyone  to know that his grandson will lead theWildcats out of the doldrums and to the promise land of football. “And I will be there every game. And we will beat Florida too, every time and at Florida too. I am so proud of what he has accomplished. We will have a winning program every year.”

You may be interested in how the QB Club got started. When Paul “Bear” Bryant became head coach at UK, he asked The Courier-Journal’s Larry Boeck how many quarterback clubs the state of Kentucky had.

Told that there was no such club, Bryant told Boeck, “Well I want you and The Courier-Journal to start one!”

Boeck and C-J sports editor Earl Ruby got busy and we suddenly had one!

Membership is open to anyone. One of my black friends, an attorney,  asked if black members would be welcome and I told him yes.

Crawford main man

The president is Gordon “Crip” Crawford. He does all of the legwork putting together the annual banquet and getting the winner, his coach and his parents and friends to the luncheon.

The Bunnings have nine children, 35 grandchildren and seven  great-grandchildren. One of the Bunning sons, David, is a Federal judge. He presides in Pikeville and Covington.

The Paul Hornung Awards

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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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