Walker: I'll miss Wes Strader

Kenny Walker began working with Wes Strader in 2000. Walker, a communications major at Kentucky, learned a lot from Strader. Walker said, "He has taught me how to be a professional broadcaster, how to deal with people, how to say things and how not to say things. You can be critical of coaches and players, but you don't have to run them out of town. It's the way you say things."

I started with Wes Strader in 2000 when he put together a postgame Kentucky radio show and we have been together eight years. It has been an unbelievable run.

I didn't know a whole lot about him when we first started other than he had been the voice of the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers for years. People who knew him told me he was the Cawood Ledford of Western Kentucky and I think that was very eloquently put because that's exactly what he is.

He knows so much about Western basketball, UK basketball, the Sweet 16. Being around him, I have learned so much about so many different things. Obviously, I have learned about the Western program and then the Sweet 16 since he did that for so many years. I consider him a walking basketball encyclopedia.

He has such great memories of Final Fours past and NCAA Tournaments. He remembers when the NIT was a big thing. He tells me all the time about when Western beat UK in Athens, Ga., in 1971 and then we relive 1986 when we met again and I went 11-for-11 from the field (in a 71-64 win). Wes always points out that I missed two free throws in that game, though. He just remembers all kind of things. He remembers a big play that turned a UK-Western game in our favor because it was actually an over the back call on Clarence Martin over my back and he says I got the call because I was an All-American.

He has taught me so much. He has taught me how to be a professional broadcaster, how to deal with people, how to say things and how not to say things. You can be critical of coaches and players, but you don't have to run them out of town. It's the way you say things.

Then there is the professionalism. Everywhere we go, we show up an hour or two early. He still has a little bit of that game mentality in him, but that's a good thing. That's a professional thing. We are always on time. I think just the way he came into this whole Kentucky deal and doing this "Cats Talk" show together the last eight years and the way the UK people have accepted him and the way he has carried himself is outstanding.

But that doesn't surprise me. That's Wes Strader. He learned to do that at a young age. He works very hard at what he does. There's a reason he is successful and that's because he devotes a lot of time and energy into preparation and all he does.

I don't know what I will do without him. That transition for me hopefully will lead me into doing some other things in radio and some community related stuff. I am going to missy my buddy, but I am sure something will come along for me because people know that my name has been out there with Wes and know I will be available. I will look at opportunities and see what happens. I majored in communications and love opportunities.

We might have to get together and do a Western show. Who knows? I know he is still going to be involved with me. His going back to Western is not going to end our working relationship or our friendship. He will just hear me talking a little

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