VAUGHT: McGriff still follows Kentucky

MOBILE -- For the 32 years that I've covered Kentucky football, I've seen a lot of football coaches come and go. Seldom, though, has one been as enthusiastic and memorable as Wesley McGriff, UK's running backs coach under Guy Morriss.

He was in the Mobile, Ala., area recruiting when he decided to stop by the Senior Bowl to see one of his players at Miami (Fla.), linebacker Tavares Gooden, who is playing in Saturday's all-star game.

McGriff says he enjoys coaching now as much as he did when he was at UK and left with Guy Morriss to join his staff at Baylor before going to Miami.

"I enjoy coaching. When I get to the point that I don't enjoy it, then it is time to get out of it. I really enoy people and being around the kids. It is a blessing for me," McGriff said.

And does he still follow Kentucky football?

"Are you kidding me? Every time they are playing, I am watching. Or if I can't, I am running to find out what the score is. If I can watch, you better believe I am sitting down watching Kentucky football. I loved Kentucky. It is a great place to work and a fine city. I really loved being there and the people there and the administration. It is just a phenomenal place. I was really happy there and I was glad to see them do as well as they did the last two years," McGriff said.

Believe him. Not only did he immediately recognize me, but he quickly asked about my daughter, who was a manager at UK when he was there. When he found out she had just recently been married, he taped a message for me to play for her.

When he saw UK quarterback Andre Woodson in a downtown hotel lobby, he immediately went up to him and hugged him.

"Those kids we recruited, I wish we could have taken the with us (to Baylor). But they were home-grown Kentucky guys and that is one of the main reasons I continued to follow Kentucky. You have an attachment with those guys when you are recruiting them and fall in love with them. It just makes you follow them. You are proud of them," McGriff said.

"Baylor was a wonderful experience. Any time you have an opportunity to coach at the Division I level, it is great experience. Unfortunately, we didn't have the success at Baylor that we did at Kentucky, but it was a wonderful experience for me."

But what if a few years down the road, Joker Phillips asked him to come back to Kentucky. What would he do?

"I would have to listen because he is a great friend. Kentucky is one of the places you could have an opportunity work at, so you would have to listen," McGriff said.

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