Austin Kearns had his choice of college scholarships after his stellar prep career at Lafayette High School in Lexington. However, rather than go the college route, Kearns signed with the Cincinnati Reds in 1998.
Today he has no regrets about what he did.
"I don't like the what-if thing. I am sure I made the right decision. I am sure I would have had a blast if I went to college, but the best thing for me was going ahead and playing pro ball," Kearns said.
However, he does keep up with the hometown Kentucky Wildcats. He usually hits with the team during the offseason as he did this year to prepare for his first full season with the Washington Nationals after being traded by Cincinnati during the 2006 season.
"They take care of us at Kentucky by letting us hit and work out. I definitely keep track of how the team does, too," Kearns said.
So what did he think of last year's Southeastern Conference championship the Wildcats won?
"Their success was great for baseball in this state. All you hear about, obviously, in Kentucky is basketball first and then football, and baseball might not even be third. Kentucky and the Lexington area has some good players and it is nice to see that program turned around the way it is now. They had a great season, and could this year, too," Kearns said.
Did the turnaround that Coach John Cohen orchestrated surprise him?
"I thought it could happen at Kentucky. The program has kind of been under the radar as far as people knowing about it. But at Kentucky they have as good of facilities as anywhere in the country probably. I am not surprised by the success the team had and I look for Coach Cohen to keep it going. All those guys really seem excited about playing, and they have a bunch of good players," Kearns said.
Austin Kearns not surprised by UK's success
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