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126 > Image 126 of KYIAN 1974

Part of University of Kentucky Yearbook Collection

CURCI COACH OF THE (continued from pg. 123) First year coach Fran Curci was named as the "Coach of the Year" in the SEC by the United Press International. Curci guided the 'Cats to their best finish since 1965. UK was picked to finish last in the conference at the first of the year. They fashioned a 3-4 conference slate, however, and finished in a tie for fourth place. Kentucky's sophomore sensation Alfred "Sonny" Collins was the SEC's leading rusher, a unanimous choice for All-SEC first team, and was chosen as the SEC "Player^ of the year." Collins shattered nu-merous UK rushing rec- ords while amassing 1,213 total yards. He k averaged 5.4 yards per ^HH carry while scoring MM 80 points. m Naturally, and jfl Jr rightly so, Collins If was quick to give much of the credit to his offensive ^B Opening holes for Collins were ^^Bk junior center Rick w B\ W Nuzum, junior guard w Steve Murgita, senior ^B guard Rich Allen, senior ^B tackle Dave Margavage, freshman tackle Warren Bryant, and junior tight end Elmore Stephens. Seniors "Bubba" McCullom, and Darryl Bishop were named to the SEC defensive first team. McCullom, a 5-11, 251 lb. middle guard, anchored the Wildcat defensive line while totalling 71 unassisted tackles with 37 assists. Bishop, a defensive back was named to the All-SEC team for the second year in a row. He led the team in interceptions with five and totalled 41 solo tackles and 25 as- YEAR Other statistical leaders for the Wildcats were Frank LeMaster, senior linebacker, with 82 solos and 68 assists. Elmore Stephens led in receiving with 16 receptions for 282 yards and an average of 17.6 yards per catch. Fran Curci could hardly be called a miracle worker. No bowl game, no national ranking, not even a winning season. But then, he never said he was a miracle worker. To be sure, the '73 'Cats could have done better. They made a generous number of fumbles, missed tackles, and generally outrageous plays. They lost games they should have won against equal, if not inferior teams. They even lost to one of the weakest Tennessee teams in years. Respectable showings against Alabama and LSU, and an incredible upset of highly ranked Tulane off-setset the fiascos against Indiana and North Carolina. In the past, there were frequent games that everyone knew we simply could not win. There was no such insurance this year, despite the rumors that Curci asked for volunteers to play against Alabama. Fans just couldn't be sure what the team might do on a given Saturday. Perhaps this was ^ what filled Common-B wealth Stadium to */-'^B B near capacity ^k^B B throughout the ^B B season. Or it could ^B I have been the ^B ^ new $12 million ^^^B stadium itself. Or I they could have \ I gone to take a j look at UK's own , mi superstar Sonny fjk I Bf Collins. f||j^fl The reason mat- ters little; at least now fans can say "We Be-lieve" and actually|mean f it. Much of the credit for restoring pride to an ailing football program, and if not turning it around, at least giving it new direction will be given to Fran Curci. Deservedly, fff* (Above) A Kentuckian displays the new Wildcat emblem helmet that was first worn in New Commonwealth Stadium under new head coach Fran Curci. (Opp. pg., Above) Senior running back Doug Kotar (22) plunges for a first down in the mud against Tennessee. (Right) Kotar prepares to return a kickoff in the opener against VPI. (Far Right) SEC "Coach of the Year" Fran Curci scratches his head, perhaps in ponderance of things to come, as he leaves the Wildcat practice field. 125