Size can be deceiving, and when it comes to Bearcat placekicker, Kevin Lovell, no truer words were ever spoken. By football standards, Lovell is a little guy (152 pounds), but he possesses a powerful leg. Kevin credits his years in soccer and a tough mental attitude with helping to develop his leg strength. "I could kick a soccer ball 60 or 70 yards, and one of my friends asked me to come out for football my senior year in high school, but I think a lot of kicking is just mental. You need to be mentally focused." Kevin also gave credit to his coaches for his success. "I had a very knowledgeable kicking coach in junior college, and Coach Tressel, Coach Staten and Coach Narduzzi are also able to watch me and help me with my mechanics."
Lovell is a California native that found his way to Cincinnati with the help of Coach Staten's brother. After Kevin was at a kicking camp, he spoke to Coach Staten's brother who encouraged Kevin to send tape to Cincinnati. The Bearcats were about to lose placekicker Chris Manfredini to TCU and were interested in getting a replacement, but it was late May and most good kickers were gone. Lovell had finished his freshman season at El Camino Junior College in California and jumped at the chance to transfer to a Division IA school despite knowing very little about the Bearcats. Just weeks before summer practice started for the Bearcats, Kevin was offered a scholarship, and both parties have been very happy with their decisions.
It didn't take Bearcat fans long to fall in love with the little guy from the west coast. Not only was he an accomplished kicker, he was also a tough defender. Some kickers can't get off the field fast enough after their kickoffs, but Lovell becomes an 11th defender after his kicks. It's all part of his tough guy attitude. "I want to win. I really hate to lose. If I have to make a tackle to help us win, that's what I want to do."
Some California kids would hate living in Cincinnati but not Kevin. He actually cut his summer short to return to Cincinnati because he missed it. "I was talking to the guys back here, and just talking to them made me miss it so I came back early. I think it's going to be a big year for us so I wanted to be back here."
It could also be a big year for Kevin Lovell. Last season Kevin hit 11 of 15 field goals including a 49 yarder against UAB. Two of his four missed attempts were from over 50 yards. Lovell is a legitimate contender for Big East honors and Lou Groza Award consideration. Kevin was chosen as the Bearcat Special Team Player of the Year in 2004.
In the spring Kevin can often be found supporting the Bearcat baseball team. He usually sits right behind the opponents' bench with some football buddies and enjoys some good natured heckling of the opposition. "I love baseball and try to have some fun at the games." If Kevin has the kind of year Bearcat fans are expecting from him, this 2005 football season could be fun for us too.