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OSCAR L. COMBS
CATS' PAUSE EDITOR/PUBLISHER
Seven shopping days left till Curry's 'Cats tee it up
One week and counting to the official launching of the Bill Curry era at the University of Kentucky.
This time next week, the Wildcats will take the field in hopes of producing UK's first bowl team in six years.
The task won't be easy, but with the enthusiasm generated with a new coach and a soft schedule, as compared to most SEC schools, one can be optimistic.
Yet, no one opponent on the schedule can be taken for granted, given the fact that Kentucky still has very little talented depth, as has been the Big Blue's history over the years.
The major asset is still apparent.Any time your schedule has the likes of Central Michigan, Rutgers, Indiana and North Carolina, plus some of the weaker sisters of the SEC, dotted around powerhouses LSU, Georgia, Tennessee and Florida, along with two open dates, you have to feel pretty good about your chances of winning at least seven games.
And that's how many victories Kentucky will need if the 'Cats are to be invited to postseason play.
TCP's 15TH ANNIVERSARY
This issue of TCP marks the final issue of the 1989-90 year as we prepare for a new year and our first weekly edition coming your way next week.
Next week will also mark the 15th anniversary of the founding of The Cats' Pause and we plan some exciting projects for our subscribers over the next few weeks to mark this milestone.
As most of you know, TCP was the first such sports publication devoted exclusively to a university back in 1976 and we're proud to say more than 25 other publications around the country have followed our path over the years.
Our success and growth is a tribute to all of you fine fans and friends who have been faithful to us at TCP over the long haul.
Along with the success you've created for us, we have constantly had to expand our operation and perhaps it is only appropriate that we are now in the midst of our greatest expansion yet, moving into a modern facility that more than doubles the size of our present location.
For those of you who drop by and visit our offices and retail store, we will be moving just a few hundred yards from our present location on Oct. 1.
The new location will allow us to expand our retail showroom of UK sports memorabilia, baseball, basketball and football cards and our various other publications. The new location will be 2691 Regency Road.
We also plan a Grand Opening—we'll keep you posted on all those details—and hope all of you can visit us at that time. We may, perhaps, have some of your former Wildcat heroes around for autographing.
Again, thanks for your support. There's no way we'd be here today without you. You're the greatest.
DOES FORD HAVE BETTER IDEA?
As football gears up, basketball recruiting is still a very hot topic around these parts and most of the recruiting all of a sudden has hit upon Missouri freshman Travis Ford, who has obtained his release from the Tigers and plans to attend a new school this fall.
Ford, the Madisonville High product who enjoyed a sensational summer of basketball in the Olympic Festival, says his first choice would be to play for the University of Kentucky.
"I like coach Pitino's style very much," Ford said after he left Missouri last week. "I feel I'd fit in real well."
But there has been no official word from UK as we were going to press. However, one should not perceive Kentucky's closed lips as a lack of interest in Ford.
Under NCAA rules, a school would be guilty of tampering if a coach should mention an interest in a kid before his release became official.
Everyone knows Ford's heart has belonged to Big Blue since he was a kid. He fits the same mold as hundreds of other youngsters, going back to the likes of Phil Cox, Rodney Woods, Vince Taylor and Andy Penick, among others, who were unable to convince UK to recruit them.
Ford's name should also be on that list, but he's hoping to remove it and place it on the roster of current Wildcats.
Ford was scheduled this weekend to visit North Carolina, where Dean Smith reportedly is ready to take his first-ever major college transfer. Supposedly in a private conversation, North Carolina has told Ford the Tar Heels made a mistake in not going after him instead of waiting on Kenny Anderson, the all-everything point guard who eventually signed with Georgia Tech and then led them to the Final Four last season.
Also expressing a keen interest in the services of Ford are LSU and Florida, a pair of schools that Kentucky will have to battle before the Wildcats return to the top of the SEC.
With LSU, Ford would be the missing ingredient of a championship team, thanks to the early exit of All-America Chris Jackson to the NBA.
Ford's father, Eddie, has said he'd be more than happy to take care of one obstacle to Travis returning to UK.
That is the problem of UK consuming all of its scholarships for this year.
The elder Ford said a year's tuition would be well worth his son's enjoyment if that is where Travis wants to go.
For Kentucky, a deeper problem is the current recruiting of at least three topflight prep players at the point-guard position.
The Fords are looking for a commitment that the school Travis attends will not be recruiting point guards this season. Some believe Kentucky is in prime position to land one of the nation's finest in Travis Best of Springfield, Mass.
If Kentucky should make such a promise, Best would be history. On the other hand, there are no assurances Best would still sign with UK. And then yet, there's also a view that, right now, Ford is the better idea anyway.
By the time you receive this issue of TCP, Ford's fate should be known.
FOOTBALL PROMOTIONS PLANNED
Tickets still remain for the Kentucky's opener with Central Michigan. Both sideline and end zone seats are available and information may be obtained by calling the UK ticket office. Several special promotions are being planned for the upcoming season, including free shakers to fans at each game.
Two ex-Wildcats will also be honored at halftime of each game.
Plans are also being made for a reunion of the 1951 Sugar Bowl champions on Nov. 16-17 as the 'Cats host the Florida Gators.
A banquet honoring the team will be
held on Saturday evening following the Kentucky-Florida game.
The first promotion of the year will be sponsored by Glenn Buick and will include 20,000 helmet-type paper fans being given out at Commonwealth Stadium.
Also by the time you read this, the university will have announced that it plans to retire the jerseys of several well-deserving former Wildcat football players.
FIRST AND TENS:
•As Kentucky begins a new era under the popular and successful Bill Curry, the Wildcat football program will also celebrate its 100th year of college football. UK has a specially designed logo for the anniversary and the logo should appear on the shelves of local merchants soon...
•No one is saying for the record just yet, but look for one or more of UK's road football games to be televised on pay-per-view this fall. Before fans get worked up about being gouged in the pocketbook again, UK assistant athletics director Gene DeFilippo says the College Football Association's television contract prohibits UK games from being televised on free television either in the late afternoon or at late night. Reports are the UK officials would like to air the Rutgers game on pay-per-view, especially since Sportschannel America is already carrying the game and the cost would not be as great to UK. Those of you who have a satellite dish are in for an extra treat, and a free one I might add...
•One of the off-the-field incidents that led to the dismissal of a Wildcat player from the team earlier this month supposedly involved one-time UK recruit Jeff Ellis, who reportedly was visiting his old high school buddy, Wildcat receiver Phil Logan, over the summer in Lexington and was the victim of an incident involving the player...
•The incident at Freedom Hall in
Louisville that led to another Wildcat's dismissal, Mike Nord's, supposedly involved a former officer of the UK Alumni Association. One football insider said Nord had been involved in a couple other incidents while at UK...
•When Rick Pitino's Wildcats hit Rupp Arena this fall, they'll be playing on a new floor. The Lexington Center was in the process of laying a new subfloor last week so a new wooden floor can be installed. The new floor is being built at the request of Pitino, who complained last season about dead spots in the 15-year-old floor...
•UK officials say all tickets available under the Blue & White Fund for football have been sold, but a limited number of season tickets on the sidelines were still available at press time...
•As predicted a year ago, the UK basketball team will not be moving out of Wildcat Lodge after all. In an interview for our annual TCP Kentucky Basketball Yearbook, Pitino said the Wildcats will return to the Lodge permanently, unless the NCAA outlaws athletic dorms. Pitino said his position on housing players at the Lodge has changed since he first arrived because he now has had a chance to check out the other UK housing facilities (which he describes as totally inadequate). Pitino also said a chat with former UK coach Joe B. Hall provided him a convincing view on why UK players need a different housing situation, given the attention that is focused on them...
•Two former UK assistants from different eras have surfaced together at Maryland. Former UK quarterback coach Jerry Eiasman earlier this year returned to Maryland where he enjoyed immense success with Jerry Claiborne in the 1970s. Also joining the Maryland staff is Larry Kirksey, who once coached at UK under Fran Curci...
•How ironic that all of Eddie Sutton's staff except Dwane Casey now are coaching again and can be in the NCAA this season while all the current and innocent members of the Kentucky team must stay home. James Dickey is now at Texas Tech while Jimmy Dykes has rejoined Sutton at OSU. Casey's trial against Emery Worldwide Freight could come to trial later this fall...
•As speculated here earlier, Sean Sutton has rejoined his father at OSU. In a four-column spread atop the sports section of the local Lexington daily, he said he didn't think the people at Kentucky gave him a fair shot to show the type of player he really is: "Certainly, some people did, but there are other people who had it in their mind that I didn't belong at Kentucky."...
•The paratroopers have a good one in Charles Hurt, former Wildcat basketball player who is with the 82nd Airborne in the Mideast. Charles shipped out of Fort Bragg, N.C. He has been in the Army two years. Good luck to both Sean and Charles.