VAUGHT: Liberty Bowl likes 'Cats, Brooks

Don't have any doubts about how much the Liberty Bowl would like to have Kentucky playing in its game Dec. 29 in Memphis.

Kentucky is a team we have been targeting since fall practice started," said Harold Graeter, associate executive director of the Liberty Bowl. He says Liberty Bowl officials even talked to UK athletics director Mitch Barnhart and football coach Rich Brooks during the Southeastern Conference spring meeting in Destin, Fla., about being associated their bowl being associated with the SEC again and how much they would love to have the Wildcats play in Memphis.

"Kentucky seems like a natural to us. You have a couple of Memphis area players already on the team," Graeter said. "Kentucky is a team we have been eyeballing since preseason practice. We know that Kentucky fans, back to the days when Memphis hosted the SEC Basketball Tournament a time or two, will travel well. Coming to Memphis is not a foreign thought to them. We think that for fans on western side of the state it is an easy trip. We know Kentucky's history of going to bowl games and the number of fans Kentucky will take. They are a very attractive football team and program. We would love to have them if we have that opportunity."

Graeter says Brooks is already popular in the Memphis area because of how he handled the death of Chris Mosby about a year ago. Mosby was a talented linebacker at Christian Brothers High School in Memphis. He had verbally committed to UK, but was killed in an automobile accident during his senior year.

Graeter says the way Brooks, other UK coaches and some UK players came to Memphis for the funeral touched everyone that knew Mosby. "That was a tragic story but it really increased the bond between the Memphis community and the University of Kentucky football program. When they came down for his funeral, that really sent a message to the Memphis community and Kentucky made a lot of friends and fans that day under tragic circumstances," Graeter said.

Mosby is still listed with other UK freshmen signees in the Kentucky media guide because Brooks wanted others to remember him.

"Chris was a very special kid. He really touched a lot of people just because he was a good kid. I am a little prejudiced because I am a graduate of that school and my oldest son is a senior at that school this year. We know the Moseby family well," Graeter said. "We know people associated with Kentucky well. When Rich and his players and coaches came down for his Chris' funeral, we were not surprised by that. Even though he had not signed the papers officially, we knew that Chris Mosby was a part of this Kentucky family. That touched a lot of people in Memphis.

"It just seems like a natural for us to be partners with Kentucky, and maybe this is the year. I know it would be special for a lot of people in Memphis to have Kentucky play in our bowl for the first time and that would give a lot of people a chance to let Rich Brooks truly appreciate what he did for the Mosby family."

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