VAUGHT: Brooks understands media

Rich Brooks has to be one of the most media savvy coaches I have ever known. Seldom does he refuse an interview request. I've never seen him refuse to answer a question even if he knows the answer might not be popular with fans. And I've never seen him fault his players for a loss no matter the circumstances.

In short, Brooks understands the media and knows how to handle himself with the press.

"There was a time in the coaching profession and the media profession that you might become friends and share things that you know wouldn't be written about the next day or wouldn't be reported the next day, but I think those days have passed us," Brooks said. "I think you have to have respect for the media, and you can be friends with them, but you also have to be cognizant of the fact that whatever you say can be reported.

"I think its very prudent for a coach in any situation dealing with the media to understand that there are no off-the-cuff or off-the-record moments any more."

True, and Brooks does understand that. More importantly, he doesn't expect media members to ignore critical stories or try to influence media members by playing favorites.

If anything, Brooks is almost a defender of the media even though many media members blasted him during the last few years — or at least until Kentucky earned a bowl bid.

"I think the media sometimes feeds those kinds of things (about criticizing coaches), but by and large the media is just a reflection of fan bases ,or now the Internet and talk shows, where they are not always an indication of the total fan base," Brooks said. "You rarely see people go on there and beat the radio call-in shows or the Internet up with praise for a coach. It's usually criticism, but that's fine. I understand that." And how can you not like his enthusiasm. He embraces UK's basketball success and sees no reason that Kentucky cannot be a consistent winner in football as well even though it has never happened at Kentucky.

"There are some schools that have had greater success in one sport or the other, and they've kind of been labeled that. Kentucky basketball has had historically great success and the football program has not, but we still have historically great attendance. We took 45,000 people to the Music City Bowl. So much like Florida was in basketball, we are kind of a sleeping giant. If we can put some seasons together back to back like we had last year, then anything is possible," Brooks said.

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