Chris Hill Rick Hayden Robert Hawkins Dave Hopewell
Grid Seniors Recall Memories
Twenty-five seniors have now played their last game in a Kentucky football uniform and although they will take with them many memories, they will have left even more with the fans.
It is a group of seniors that have experienced it all. They brought Kentucky it's first bowl appearance in 25 years, their best team ever, along with some of the most frustrating and disappointing seasons ever.
If amateur sports are intended to be a lesson in how to accept both winning and class anywhere learned more lessons than this one.
Many of the seniors- are fifth-year players, having been redshirted one season. Those five year men were freshmen when Kentucky played at Knoxville for a Liberty bowl berth. Tennessee won and it left a bitter taste with many Kentucky players.
The next season was the most frustrating of all. Kentucky finished 2-8-1 and rumors of scandals and probation were numerous. A year which had been filled with promise ended a nightmare. Amazingly, most of the group stuck it out and stayed, maybe the best indication of the determination of the group.
Not willing to accept defeat, they bounced back. Eight games into the 1976 season, they were 4-4 and it looked like another "close but not quite" season.
They refused to quit. They outscor-ed Vandy, Florida, and Tennessee 49-9. The sweet 7-0 shutout of Tennessee was the first Kentucky victory since 1964 in the annual series, the win put Kentucky in the Peach Bowl.
The 21-0 Peach Bowl win over North Carolina is the one memory none of these seniors will forget. However it wasn't the game that will be most remembered, but the manner in which almost 40,000 Kentucky FOOTBALL fans took over Atlanta, Georgia.
And then came the 10-1 team, a squad called the best ever in Kentucky football. The probation scarred the season little. Kentucky football was back in the top ten.
It doesn't seem like justice that they would go out with such a frustrating season as the past one, when Kentucky finished 4-6. Maybe it only goes to point out that winning may not
be the important thing, but how you play the game.
These 24 seniors have played the game well. They helped return respectability to Kentucky football. They brought winning to Kentucky football. More importantly they taught future Kentucky players and fans how to win, and with class. In short they established a new tradition for Kentucky football.
We will all have our memories of the teams these seniors played for. But what is the one thing about their careers at UK that each of these seniors will remember?
We asked each one of them that question.
Chris Hill: The Peach Bowl and the 10-1 season. And I'll always remember my first touchdown in the college ranks.
Dave Hopewell: It's hard to say. I'll always remember the last game and some of the best I played in and we won.
Jim Kovach: Down here two years ago when we beat Tennessee to go to the Peach Bowl and got to take that old barrell back to Kentucky. My freshman year they beat us soundly and two years later it was really important to beat them. I'll always remember the silence in that big stadium when we shut them out.
Mark Keene: The guys I was associated with and played with and all the friendships, fans, and people.
Kevin Kelly: The 10-1 season back in 1977. That by far sticks out and I remember it the most. I made a lot of close friends that year and hope to keep in touch over the years.
Robert Hawkins: Playing at Ole Miss and getting the two point conversion.
Dan Fowler: The 10-1 season we had in 1977 and the two years we beat Tennessee will probably be the things I will remember the most.
James Ramey: Just the experience. That tells it all right there. Just the experience of being here.
Dave Fadrowski: I'd say probably the people I met. The players and students alike and people that are associated with the sports program as well as the people in the city.
Craig Roberts: You think back to the games and playing in them and that's
obviously the most fun. That's what you play for. You always remember the hard work. You go through practice two-a-days and spring ball. The games and hard work. The whole thing.
Billy Williams: Probably two years ago when we went to the Peach Bowl. And the relationship I have had with all the seniors here and my teammates. It's sad playing the last game but I've really enjoyed being here for five years and I think I've really gained a lot from it.
Bob Winkel: I don't know if there is any one thing I will remember. It's more a combination of things. But the one thing I probably remember most of all is my junior year (1976). We were down and came back and won four in a row. We beat Tennessee and went to the Peach Bowl and won there.
Greg Nord: I remember all the practice and the work we've all done trying to make ourselves a winning football team. And all the good times everybody had and not just as football players. Just the fun that college students generally have. I believe I'll remember a lot of big games -- a few of the Pertn State games, the Tennessee games, and of course the Peach Bowl. I'm just glad I got a chance to play here.
Ted Peurach: The Peach Bowl. When we beat North Carolina 21-0; that's probably been the most exciting
thing since I've been here. And you just can't forget the hard work that you've been through the last five years. That kind of does something to you. So that when you get out of school you are prepared for what's ahead of you. I enjoyed it all five years. It's been a lot of fun too, besides a lot of hard work and everyone got along which made it enjoyable.
David Stephens: The thing I remember most about UK is all the friends I've made.
Chuck Postel: The snakehunt mv freshman year.
Kelly Kirchbaum: Probably the 1.0-1 season.
Bud Diehl: The 10-1 season.
Rick Hayden: All the good times, the friends I've made, and the 10-1 season.
Larrv Petkovsek: The Peach Bowl.
Freddie Williams: The Peach Bowl.
Bill Tolston: The one thing I'll probablv remember the most about Kentucky is the big crowds, the love the people have for sports, and the support that I've gotten here at the university.
Phil Mobley: The thing that probably sticks in my mind the most is the 10-1 season. And the Peach Bowl year. I'll probably remember those two years the most.
Richard Jardine: The 12 minute run, the gassers, and all that.
Go Cats!
OFFICE PHONE 606-679-6201