Hal Mumme (1997-2000) had back-to-back bowl seasons in his second and third years. Then he dropped back to 2-9 and left the team on probation. Enter Guy Morriss (2001-'02), a likable guy, no pun intended. His first year was 2-9 and subsequently went 7-5 but couldn't go to a bowl because the team was on probation. Rick Brooks has labored under probation much of his tenure, however, the clouds are dissipating!
Kentucky High School football got a huge boost when spring practice was renewed and the first high school football combine for the state was held. Joker Phillips, who was coaching at Cincinnati University, swung through Lexington and picked up yours truly on the way to Hazard, Kentucky for the combine. It was constructed for junior and seniors. A young junior to-be lineman named Jeremy Caudill stole he show with an eye-popping show of strength, speed, and agility.
The well was dry! Claude Bassett, employing his one-man-band recruiting tactics (minimal staff input) in one recruiting season brought in Patrick Wells and Maurice Well and both were bust and never finished their UK career.
Hal Mumme's Air Raid offense was vastly aided with a once in a lifetime combination of Tim Couch and Craig Yeast. Couch being the most prolific passer in the SEC history and Craig Yeast, who is still the leading receiver in SEC history. Fan's who yearn for a repeat of that, need to move on. That was an anomaly. Any offense wins with the right mixture and Brooks seems to be on the right track to that mixture. Mumme's return to major Dl competition last season with New Mexico State University, without that mixture, yielded a 0-12 record.
Tennessee pulled fast one in 1998. They had a coach leave the staff and elected an academic advisor, Judy Jackson, to the recruiting staff. She admittedly had no coaching experience but was an excellent communicator and seller of the academic program – not a NCAA violation but unethical. This move played a huge role in the snagging of Louisville St. X star linebacker Bernard Jackson.
Then UK assistant and now Texas Tech head coach Rick Leach used a tennis ball drill for better hand-eye coordination. Certain things can't be NCAA regulated and throwing the foot is one of them so instead, he used a tennis ball machine to shoot tennis ball out to his receivers to catch on the run.
Inside joke's on this writer. Television and radio personality Dave Baker has been addressing me as dirty rice since the opening of Pappa John Stadium (1998) in Louisville. My then partner John Tolson in a newsletter dedicated to UK football arrived at Pappa John two hours before game time only to find all of the press box food uncharacteristically consumed. Baker overheard my complaint and has since applied the moniker ‘dirty-rice.' One positive in the otherwise revolting development was the dirty rice, from an ingredient perspective was well prepared, and with the aid of a hamburger bun, allowed us to consume it in the manner of a sloppy joe.