The NCAA had declared waiting in limbo PG Ty-Laur Johnson immediately eligible.
A guy in the gym texted me immediately after Kenny Payne told TL-J and the team.
You’ve seen those videos where a football coach announces that a 4th string walk on punter is now on scholly, and the locker room erupts in cheers and hugs? Well, I’m told that’s what happened.
Fortunately, when I got the text, I was sitting at my keyboard, and immediately posted the news at the Chron. With the proviso that I hadn’t been able to officially confirm it. Soon enough that happened, so I edited my original post, then remembered to post it at my own sports blog.
Received a pat on the back from Glorious Editor. Always appreciated. Since it wasn’t always the case years ago at another venue, which you will learn if you continue with this “tell all,” such as it is.
I’ve never considered myself a reporter. I’m a pundit. A commentator. A retired barrister with too much time on his hands and his key to the posting app. Someone who is familiar enough with the writings of local icon Dr. Gonzo, to understand fabulists often speak the truth. Or, so we delude ourselves.
But yesterday’s gotcha got me thinking of the very few times it’s happened before. All during my “Rumor & Innuendo” days at LEO.
* * * * *
Keep reading, kids, I’m saving the best for last.
First, a couple that are of relatively minor consequence.
Almost a year before Mitch Barnhart was named UK AD, during which time the school was putting on a dog and pony show of a national search, I wrote that he would be named.
So it came to pass.
I knew a guy who knew a guy who worked for Jim Host in Lexington, who was leading the search committee.
* * * * *
Then there’s the time I broke the news that Steve Spurrier was leaving Florida to coach the Redskins.
There was a lawyer in town named Bobby Stallings. Biggest sports junkie I’ve ever known. Knew a lot of folks. Went to all the major events. Could always get you tickets. It didn’t matter how big the event was, Bobby was most likely there. Like the time he tried to engage me in conversation about how exciting the 7th Region golf tournament had been.
He loved to talk. And loved that he was a source.
When he didn’t have cases, he’d often stand outside the entrance to the Kentucky Home Life Building, and look for folks to chat up.
One day, as I walked by, he nodded his head, gesturing for me to come over.
“I got something for you. Hornung sat next to Steve Spurrier at Heisman dinner. He’s leaving Florida to coach the Redskins.”
So it came to pass.
* * * * *
Then there’s the totally conjured tale I made up for an April Fool’s column at LEO.
Which came to pass.
The weekly hit the streets on Wednesday.
The Monday before, Rick Pitino’s Wildcats lost to Arizona in the NCAA final.
Somebody had told me they’d seen Pitino at the airport boarding a flight to Boston. Where the Celtics job was open.
On the scintilla of unreliable info, I ran with it. Pitino would be the next coach of the Celtics.
But before finishing the piece, I started to wonder whom C.M. Newton would name as next coach for UK? Having some sense of Newton and his priorities and forward thinking, and Tubby Smith’s rising rep at Georgia, I took a big swing. On simply a hunch. That Smith would be named the next mentor for the BBN.
And, begosh and begorrah, so it came to pass.
Sometime later that week, before all that news finally broke, I was joking around the LEO office how I’d made it all up as an April Fool’s prank.
My editor at the time — not John Yarmuth, the guy under him — was a tight ass. Not much of a sense of humor. And, he never really got me. I’ll call him Joe.
Joe Was Furious.
So, the next week, the paper ran a retraction and an apology. Joe more than kinda threw me under the bus.
When everything I’d written actually came to pass, JY as executive editor printed an apology for the apology.
Every once in awhile.
— c d kaplan