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The Cats' Pause
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Shanahan emerges as top candidate for UK job
Denver Broncos volunteer quarterback coach tours Lexington, but denies being offered football position
Mike Shanahan. volunteer quarterback coach of the Denver Broncos since being fired as head coach of the Los Angeles Raiders four games into the current season, was back in Denver this week after a whirlwind visit to Lexington, where he emerged as perhaps "the" top candidate for the University of Kentucky head football coaching position.
Shanahan, 37, arrived in town Friday night, met with UK officials Saturday morning, toured the Nutter Training Center and the City of Lexington, and then departed that afternoon for Denver, where the Broncos entertained the New York Giants on Sunday.
"It was a good visit," Shanahan said. "I got a chance to look at the facilities and for them to talk to me. It was an interesting day, but no offer has been made...It was a good visit and I'm glad I came."
The Denver Post said Shanahan was on the verge of accepting a five-year contract at a total package of about $600,000 to coach the Wildcats. However, UK athletic director CM. Newton said a contract was discussed with Shanahan, but only in "preliminary" terms so that Shanahan '"understands the job."
"But there has been no contract tendered
"It was a good visit. I got a chance to look at the facilities and for them to talk to me. It was an interesting day, but no offer has been made...It was a good visit and I'm glad I came."
or discussed," said Newton, who also refused to say if he planned to bring in other candidates.
A native of Oak Park, III., Shanahan attended Eastern Illinois University. He was an assistant coach at Oklahoma (1975-76), Northern Arizona (1977), Eastern Illinois (1978), Minnesota (1979) and Florida (offensive coordinator—1984-87). He was offensive coordinator at Denver four years (1984-87). working with quarterback John Elway and Bronco teams that were 49-20-1 and participated in two Super Bowls.
He had a record of 7-9 as head coach of
Mike Shanahan, considered the top candidate for UK's vacant coaching position. Shanahan is currently QB coach for the Denver Broncos.
the Raiders last year. After a 1-3 start this season, he was replaced by former Raider offensive tackle Art Schell. He has one year remaining on a three-year contract with the Raiders, calling for an estimated $325,000 a year.
CAT HOOP NOTES • 'CAT HOOP NOTES
?The newest fad among the faithful attending Wildcat games in Rupp Arena is to remain seated or find a good seat in the lower arena and listen to the Kentucky Radio Network's post-game activities being piped over the arena P.A. system.
After the usual rundown of statistics, star-player interview, etc., a dramatic moment ar-v rives when Cawood "Voice of the Wildcats" Ledford emerges from the corner across the floor to the right and is greeted with applause.
Just before Cawood came out after the Tennessee Tech game, C. M. Newton crossed and ascended the arena steps to a good round of applause from those eager fans who apparently were showing their appreciation of the fine job he did in luring Pitino to Kentucky.
Then the applause and cheers became louder as Pitino emerged from the corner across to the right and, escorted by Van "Committee of 101" Florence, walked in back of the goal, stopped before turning the corner to say hello to an aging Happy Chandler, and then waved as he walked downcourt to where two chairs, one occupied by Ledford, awaited.
The network brass made a wise move in having the table placed inside the playing area and seating Cawood and Rick facing the crowd on that side of the floor.
As the interview began, the crowd became very attentive, interrupting the silence on several occasions to applaud a remark or observation by the coach.
The fans seated on both sides of the arena numbered about 300 after the Mississippi State game on Monday and had increased about two-fold when UK played Tech two nights later. As the word spreads, look for 1.000 or more to remain for the post-game entertainment during next weekend's UKIT.
? UK's associate AD/marketing Gene DeFilippo, upon hearing UK's Doug Bruce announce Monday night that souvenir programs for the season opener against Ohio U. Pitino first game as UK coach, could be purchased by mail through Host Communications:
"That's an excellent idea. I'm sorry to say it wasn't mine. Credit that to Jim Host."
?A Tennessee Tech official, like everyone else familiar with the recent troubles at UK,
upon seeing the 23,000-plus fans on hand for the UK-Tech game said, "I can't believe it."
?A person telephoning Cawood Ledford on the Tech pre-game call-in show: "Hello, Mom."
? Ledford on the same show: "You know, Adolph Rupp's teams reminded me of a Swiss watch. This team reminds me of a street gang."
?When Mississippi State basketball coach Richard Williams, asked why he did not try to recruit Carlos Toomer, an unheralded UK signee from Corinth, Miss., replied, "I'll be honest, I wouldn't know him if he were standing right here. I don't know Carlos Toomer, just to be honest."
(Side note: During a luncheon earlier in the week, Wildcat coach Rick Pitino invited those doubters present to come by his office and view a film of Toomer in action. Two of those media types who saw the clip were impressed with the player, who is a projected point guard for the Cats).
^MORE WILDCAT NOTES
? Richie Farmer's improved play is reflected in many ways, but especially in what Pitino calls "one-on-one plays, moving north and south, and attacking the basket."
Pitino credited Farmer's improvement in that area to extra individual practices with assistant coach Billy Donovan, who was a star guard on Pitino's "Final Four" team at Providence.
"Richie's getting better and coming on," Pitino said. He realizes, 'Now, I can do that'."
Farmer also is several pounds lighter, beginning with the top of his head. When Farmer appeared as the featured player on Pitino's show the day after the IU game, host Rob Bromley got the two talking about the difference in accents between the player from Manchester, Ky., and the coach from the sidewalks of New York.
After some good-natured kidding, which included Farmer's subdued hair style, Pitino
said his guest probably planned to be a movie star.
?When the Kentucky Wildcats opened their SEC schedule against Mississippi State two days after the IU game, Wildcat fans got their first taste of two experimental rules being implemented in the Southeastern Conference this season.
Those changes for conference ballgames are:
Players will fou! out on the sixth foul rather than the customary fifth.
Three free throws will be awarded to a player who is fouled while in the act of shooting a three-point attempt.
Both Pitino and Williams had expected the six-foul rule to work in their favor, since both teams have a lack of depth.
The only player to draw as many as five fouls was Mississippi State's junior guard Doug Hartsfield, who fouled Richie Farmer with :02 remaining in the game. Hartsfield led Tiger scoring with 24 points. There were no fouls called on three-point attempts.
?Jamal Mashburn, 6-foot-8 forward from Bronx, N. Y., who has committed to play basketball for the Wildcats, reportedly has scored high enough on his college entrance exam to meet NCAA academic requirements for freshman eligibility.
David McCollin, Mashburn's coach on the New York City Gauchos team, said the future Wildcat met the NCAA minimum score of 700 when he took the Scholastic Aptitude Test in October.
McCollin added that Mashburn, who averaged 22 points and 8.5 rebounds as a junior at Cardinal Hayes High School, won't have any problem meeting the minimum 2.0 grade-point average required for the core curriculum.
?Chris Harrison, a 6-3 junior guard who has already verbally committed to Rick Pitino's program, scored 30 points as Tollesboro scored an easy, 89-59, win at home over Richmond Model.
?After Eric Manuel scored 28 points to lead Hiwassee over Sue Bennett, a Cats' Pause observer reported that the former Kentucky Wildcat guard "looked heavier, and seemed to stand around a lot."