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Faces in the crowd

Sports in Kentucky



Thanksgiving draws near. Facial expressions among the familiars makes an interesting “people watch.”

• Bobby Petrino. Cautious smile. Still contrite in public and less the braggart he once was, Petrino has orchestrated a four game win streak, assured an invitation to post season. Two games to go, Louisville Cardinals are about increasing their bowl game payday.

• Louisville fans. Happy but subdued. Boys and girls wearing red and black would be chortling louder, but for a road game still ahead in Lexington. Reason Two: UofL is still under clouds of sexual scandal and sombrero damage control.

• Mark Stoops. Gritted teeth and seething. Expressions familiar to UK fans older than 70 who witnessed Blanton Collier, Charlie

Bradshaw, John Ray and Jerry Claiborne go into that good night … with gritted teeth and seething.

• Kentucky football fans. Shock and awe and dispirited … again. When Charlotte visits Saturday, fans be wary of UK Athleticsprovided estimated attendance number.

Elsewhere …

• Rick Pitino. Anybody recall the expression “season without joy”?

• Derek Willis. Told you so.

• Jeff Brohm. Season ball coaches dream about … often followed by pay hike to stay or job jump at the end. Psst, nobody I know has whispered Brohm’s name in sentence: “… But he’s done this with Petrino’s recruits.”

• Brandon Doughty. Genuine student-athlete Heisman Trophy candidate at Western Kentucky University.

The Doughty Factor

Six college football seasons in, here standeth a Role Model and poster guy for college athletics. Brandon Doughty, a 3-star rated player in Davie, Florida, is about to finish his sixth year at WKU.

Doughty’s numbers are incredible. More than 12,000 yards passing completed seven of every 10 attempts, 49 touchdown throws in 2014, with 34-and-counting this season.

Doughty likely won’t be invited to New York for the Heisman Tro- phy show, but the 6- 3, 220-pounds will play on Sunday next year.

Statistically and for leadership, Doughty is The Deal. Here’s how: Doughty is one of 10 finalists for the 2015 Senior CLASS Award. CLASS: Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School.

Total student-athlete and role model, Brandon Doughty.

Philip Haywood

In support of the idea good things come in bunches …

Philip Haywood at Belfry High has become one of 15 high school football coaches nationally to reach 400 wins.

And, the coach has written a book. Faith, Family and Football (235 pages, $24.95). Google it on the Internet.

High praise for Haywood comes from retired sports writer Mike Fields and former University of Kentucky star Jeff Van Note.

“Philip Haywood is not just a football coach; he’s a life coach,” says Fields.

Van Note says: “Xs and Os, the wins and losses are covered. Yet it is the spirit of teaching, preparing, influencing, pushing, loving, caring, and driving young men to be the best that they can be at what they are doing in this time of their life. He gets it.”

A Life Coach. Yes. I have long admired Haywood’s grip on humility and principled wide-angle approaches to his work. Perhaps most perfectly illustrated in excerpts from an interview with a WKYTTV reporter.

• “I’ve never made a tackle, never made a block, never scored a touchdown.”

• “I’m just the guy who kind of encourages them and gets on the sidelines (and) cheers them on.”

“I’m just the guy who gets to come down and do an interview with you and be the front guy for the team.”

At high school level, a Life Coach. Yes.

And so it goes.

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