July 31, 2007

Rumor & Innuendo

Crystal Blue Persuasion. Former UK football coach Fran Curci was one of four honorees at the Governor’s Cup festivities (Lee Corso, Amos Martin and Jeff Van Note were the others). When his time at the podium arrived, Curci offered no quick, gracious thank you. He spent an inordinate amount of time trying to convince the crowd — clamoring as it was for proceedings to end so they could tee off — and heralding the job he did while leading the Cats. It included a lame and self-indulgent story not worth repeating about the win over Penn State, Cawood Ledford and a bottle of champagne. This all was in stark contrast to the short, appropriate and humble comments by the remaining three being honored.The rest of the story ... perhaps. I’m told Curci’s peevishness may have been an inappropriate reaction to some gentle needling at the banquet the evening before from Van Note, a genuinely good guy who bleeds Big Blue. During Van Note’s time at the podium, he gigged all his fellow honorees in a good-natured fashion. He noted that Curci coached “the best UK team that money could buy.” Afterward, I’m advised, Curci was so pissed he wouldn’t accept Van Note’s apology.That scheduling thing. There was a little more testiness at the genteel affair where blue and red mixed and mingled. Rich Brooks and Mitch Barnhart were asked about moving the UK-U of L game away from the season’s opening weekend. Brooks bristled noticeably when the subject was raised during Q & A. Asked if the media had made too big a deal of the move, Barnhart curtly replied, “Yes!” Barnhart was asked if the intrastate rivalry might someday be the last game of the season. He responded favorably, indicating it’s something to be considered: “That’s the way rivalries work where I come from.” Then, asked whether he thought Louisville was now a bigger football rival than Tennessee, UK’s AD immediately backtracked, “Absolutely not.”SchnellSpeak of the week. You want it, you got it. R & I’s most popular feature will soon return weekly. Or, as some say, weakly. My ears are pricked for all The Pipe’s pithy proclamations. FYI, The Schnell’s Fighting Owls are picked to finish sixth in the Sun Belt by league coaches.