3 of the greatest. Check any list of the best athletes of UK Sports history, and you’ll find these guys. From their glory days in Kentucky to their professional careers, they made a name for themselves and did the BBN proud. But their incredible achievements in the sporting world aren’t the only reason they’re great: they also happen to be active, engaged members of our community. We asked these three remarkable guys to meet us down in the Distillery Distric to enjoy pizza and a few drinks while swapping stories and sharing why they love Lexington...
Favorite memory of playing at UK:
“Probably when we beat Alabama. Kentucky hadn’t beaten Alabama in about 75 years. The game went into overtime and I threw a touchdown on the last play of the game to Craig Houston. Fans rushed the field, tore the goal post down and it was just a really cool moment. It was just one of those moments that you dream about going into college as a quarterback... you live for those moments.”
Is there anything in your career you wish you could do over?
“Just the injuries I had. I went into the NFL as the number 1 pick in the draft and went to an expansion team and just got really beat up. I wish I could have stayed healthy through that period and played a lot longer. I had a great run, so can’t really complain about it.”
Why do you love Lexington?
“The city and the people. I’m from a little town 2 hours south of here in Eastern Kentucky. I came here for school and just really fell in love with the place. Once my wife and I started having kids we decided to bring our kids back and let them grow up here.”
As a fan, who was your favorite UK player?
“I grew up a big Rex Chapman fan. I was a basketball player in high school, as well: I actually came to Kentucky to play both sports. Rex was kind of my guy growing up: he was from the state like I am. He was a really great player and just a lot of fun to watch.”
Favorite UK memory:
“Without a doubt, it has to be my senior night at Rupp Arena. It was scary and very emotional at the same time because it was scary that I was leaving a comfortable area that I was so used to. Many, many tears.”
Play that you’d like to do over:
“It’s no secret that I have had some injuries throughout my career. There was an alley-oop pass that I received at Vanderbilt, that I dunked the basketball wrong and that was the beginning of some nightmare years as far as injuries.”
As a fan, what are some of your favorite UK sports memories from the last few years?
“Watching the UK team that was 38-0. There wasn’t one particular player, but watching them go through that year and seeing how everyone was contributing was a beautiful sight. I was really a fan of that particular team.”
What are some ways you’re involved with the community?
“I’m big on giving back. I do a lot of public speaking. I try to teach the younger generations about the ill effects of alcohol and drugs. I’ve always been a believer that if you can touch just one individual, then the day is successful.”
Favorite local place to eat?
“Probably Josie’s. I’m there 4 or 5 times a week.”
Favorite moment in your career:
“I think the NCAA championship game, scoring 41 points in that game was still what everyone wants to talk about, even today, so that was cool. Then being on the cover of Sports Illustrated after that was also pretty good... and now on the cover TOPS! I’m on top of the mountain right now.”
Is there anything in your career you wish had gone differently?
“We were in the championship game my freshman year and I would have liked another opportunity to play that game. We lost to UCLA in San Diego. I think if we had played that game on a more neutral site, it would have probably made a difference and we made a couple mistakes down the stretch of the game made it tough for us to win.”
Why do you love Lexington?
“Well I was born right here in Lexington, so this is home to me. My wife was born in Bourbon County, so it’s home for her, as well. It’s a beautiful place, with all the horse farms.”
What do you enjoy doing in town?
“I still like going to UK ballgames and going to Keeneland two or three times a meet. I am a fisherman, so I like to fish the horse farms in the area. There are just a lot of great people, and I have a lot of great friends here, some I have known most of my life, some from all the way back in high school.”