UK football missed the boat on Roy Kidd

| October 6, 2011

Just when University of Kentucky football fans needed a pick-me-up, some of Roy Kidd’s greatest players gathered in Richmond to help their fabulously successful coach celebrate his 80th birthday. Please notice that I didn’t say “old coach” because he still doesn’t look it, thanks to the loving care of his wife Sue.

Don’t be confused. I know that Roy Kidd never had a thing to do with UK. That’s the point.

At least three times when UK needed a football coach, they either ignored a man who had proved his mettle as an impressive high school coach in Richmond and as a two-time national championship coach at Eastern Kentucky University. UK hired big names, all of whom failed.

One UK interview

He did get an interview once. Most memorable about the interview is that the Big Blue laughed when he told them the amount of Eastern’s recruiting budget.

I told Roy that he should have told the haughty bunch in Lexington, “but I get better players for the little that I have than you do for the thousands you throw away.”

It would have been the truth.

One of Kidd’s best quarterbacks at Madison High in Richmond was Talbott Todd, a three-time letterman at UK. No one was more irritated than Todd at the treatment Kidd got from the Big Blue. The coaches that UK did hire were busts, but no one should have been surprised. The mind-set still rules in Lexington.

As The Lexington Herald-Leader’s Mike Fields pointed out in an excellent story about Kidd and the reunion, Kidd coached at two schools in the same Richmond building.

First the school’s teams were listed as representing Madison-Model. Eastern’s training school for teachers was Model High and Madison was Richmond’s city high school. When W.F. O’Donnell was president of the KHSAA from 1929-41 and also president of Eastern,  he got the high school association to let Model kids play for Madison. When old Richmond High was closed, Model stopped sending its kids to Madison.

Jerry Woolum, another of Kidd’s QBs, told Fields, “He’s the same today as the first day I met him. He even looks the same.”

Junior a model

If I were a high school principal I would beg Junior Bridgeman to talk with athletes. Junior was a star for Denny Crum at U of L. He took law classes when he was playing in the NBA. He is total class, a model citizen in all aspects. He owns 165 Wendy’s restaurants! You read that right: 165.

UK vs. ‘Villians’

UK hoops star Jeff Sheppard has arranged a series of games between  ex-Wildcats and “some of the most hated and feared opponents from recent history.”

Now don’t you just wonder what school Jeff is talking about?

No, not The Ville. Opponents will be former players at the state’s NAIA schools.

Romo’s a man

Every boy or man who has suited up in a football uniform had to be impressed with the Dallas Cowboys’ Tony Romo in their 18-16 victory over  the Redskins. He was playing with a broken rib and pierced lung and had to have a second injection for the pain.

You remember that early in his career he spent a lot of time and attention  with glamour girls from Hollywood, but he was married recently.

Now he is all football player.

Jerry Jones, owner of the Cowboys, should give Romo a bonus for his efforts against Washington. Not only was he 22 for 36 and 255 yards, he spent a lot of his time coaching and correcting teammates. He pointed out routes for receivers. He thumped both sides of his helmet and told players to think. He had to show players where to line up. He even had to reprimand his center because he kept messing up the snap! If Dallas players and fans didn’t respect their quarterback  before, they do now.

Even when the Redskins had the ball, Romo was standing in front of his seated offensive teammates and coaching the Cowboys.

Thank you, readers

I really am sincere in my gratitude to all of you who called to correct a recent  item. You really read this stuff, don’t you? I wrote that UK had never beaten  Steve Spurrier. Of course UK beat his South Carolina team last season.

Many of you will remember the late Larry Boeck when he covered UK sports for The C-J. When he would goof up, he always would say, “You’ve got to mess up sometimes to see if they are paying attention.”

Larry was right.

One time he was writing a UK basketball story and started laughing. He said, “I just came up with a great line. I’m calling Rupp ‘Angus Adolph.’”

Rupp, of course, raised Herefords. The Angus people and the Hereford people didn’t like each other, and the UK coach unloaded on Larry.

And then there was the time that one of my friends (a former IU cheerleader) asked me at Baptist East Cardiac Rehab how I remember “all that stuff?”

My reply: How do you know it’s right?

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Category: Earl Cox on Sports

About the Author (Author Profile)

Earl Cox, Sports Columnist

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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