VAUGHT: UK staff appreciates state's coaches

Rich Brooks has made great strides while at Kentucky in building a relationship with the state's high school football coaches. The Kentucky coach's latest move to strengthen that relationship is to conduct a free coaching clinic for high school and middle school coaches.

One thing I like about Kentucky football coach Rich Brooks is that he's innovative on and off the field.

He's come up with another superb idea, too. It will never be possible to measure the goodwill this idea will generate, but it should be enormous.

Brooks is having a free clinic for the state's high school and middle school coaches April 10 and 11. The only cost -- due to NCAA regulations -- is $15 per coach to cover the cost of three meals.

"The only speakers will be University of Kentucky coaches," said UK linebacker coach Chuck Smith. "The offensive and defensive coordinators will each talk 30 to 40 minutes on April 10. The rest of the sessions will be breakout sessions in our individual meeting rooms with each position coach."

That's all on Thursday night, April 10. The next morning coaches will not only be able to attend UK's regular spring practice, but they can sit in actual position meetings the coaches have with players.

"They can come in and sit right down in our meetings. We as a coaching staff at Kentucky just want to show our appreciation for the loyalty and support that the Kentucky coaches are giving us," Smith said. "I don't know if other schools do that or not. It's just something we feel we want to do because of what they have done for us."

Smith says the state's high school coaches are "bending over backwards" to help UK from what he has seen the last three years.

"In the areas I recruited, they were great and what do whatever it takes to help us. I think it is important that they want their players to come to Kentucky. They want them to come to Kentucky because they want to watch them play. They want them to come to Kentucky because they know we do a good job with them, too," Smith, a former Kentucky high school head coach, said.

"It's important that they feel that way and that they are loyal to the University of Kentucky. I know when I recruit in Ohio, they are so loyal to Ohio State. The high school coaches are all loyal to Ohio State. We have to have that same kind of loyalty here in Kentucky. Our high school coaches have got to do that.

"I feel like guys in area I have recruited have been real loyal. That is a must for us and something that has to continue. We have really swept the state of Kentucky the last two years and got the players we wanted. You are always going to lose one or two players. That is never going to change, but our goal will always be to get 100 percent of the in-state players. We signed five guys out of Kentucky this year and feel good about all five. The high school coaches in Kentucky have been good to us.

"That's part of why we are having our appreciation clinic. We want to say thanks to them for their loyalty and support."

And by doing so, Kentucky should build even more goodwill with the coaches that are so important to the future of UK football.

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