0:00

Alright, I'm here in Mr. William B. Keightley's office. This is Jeff Suchanek. Uh, this is probably interview #900, but uh, it's July 19, 2006 and this is an interview with Mr. William B. Keightley for the Charles T. Wethington Alumni Faculty Oral History Project.

SUCHANEK: I think the last time we, we talked about the media, and on my way in to work this morning, I, I heard a song that made me want to ask you about something that I imagine you're not expecting. But uh,1970 I think it was May the 5, 1970, the massacre at Kent State happened with the National Guard and it wasn't too long after that when Louis Nunn, Governor Louis Nunn sent the National Guard here, 1:00and you know we're talking about your life as well as the basketball program, and the history of the University, Mr. Keightley, and I was just wondering I believe that's the only time the National Guard has been on this campus. And I was wondering what, if anything specific, do you remember about the National Guard being here? Do you remember them coming in and marching in and that kind of stuff? Where were you at that time?

KEIGHTLEY: Yes. I, I remember it Jeff, but uh, not to any great detail you know. Uh, I probably remember more about Kent State than I do you know what, what went on here. But um, yeah, it was kind of an unsettled time of course.

2:00

SUCHANEK: Uh, huh.

KEIGHTLEY: And but you know even like today, we still have causes that gets the students you know, they rally, they look for a cause.

SUCHANEK: Uh, huh.

KEIGHTLEY: And I guess all people do, not just students. And uh, but um, I, I don't recall anything too tumultuous here.

SUCHANEK: Right.

KEIGHTLEY: With that, with that situation at that time. Okay, I think the governor just wanted to be sure that we didn't have some kind of a reaction that.

SUCHANEK: As you recall, they were called in as a, a, a reaction to the burning of the ROTC building.

KEIGHTLEY: Right yes, yes. Um, I know um.

SUCHANEK: What you remember about that?

KEIGHTLEY: Well, I uh, I do remember the multitudes that, that camped out 3:00after, after the fact and one of our, one of our service organizations at that particular time supplied those, those people that supported the burning of that building, supplied them with food, and, and blankets, and so forth, which I really at that time took a real dim view of it.

SUCHANEK: Uh, huh.

KEIGHTLEY: And personally to this day I've always had high respect for that organization prior to that, that event and.

SUCHANEK: What organization are you talking about?

KEIGHTLEY: The Salvation Army.

SUCHANEK: Okay. Uh, huh.

KEIGHTLEY: Yeah.

SUCHANEK: I, see, I hadn't heard that before.

KEIGHTLEY: Yeah, yeah, and I was always very, you know, for my means, I 4:00was always very generous in, in donating to the Salvation Army.

SUCHANEK: Uh, huh.

KEIGHTLEY: But that one, that one gouged me the wrong way.

SUCHANEK: Uh, huh.

KEIGHTLEY: So thirty-six years later I still carry that grudge (laughter).

SUCHANEK: Uh, huh, uh, huh. Do you remember standing outside here in Memorial Coliseum and, and looking at the, the National Guard troops?

KEIGHTLEY: Oh, yes I remember that, yes.

SUCHANEK: And, and you know as you say, you, you, you had read a lot about Kent State, did you fear something that bad would happen here?

KEIGHTLEY: Well you know, when you get, when you get a large gathering, you've always got two or three that's subject to do something that's drastic. Yes, when you have a large gathering and uh, you know, you just never know, but yeah that, that Kent State thing triggered a lot of... Well again, it triggered the cause and, and I was 5:00glad you know, that really it got settled rather peacefully here and, and you know nationally we, we didn't need to lose that building, but of course now it would have been gone anyhow so.

SUCHANEK: Uh, huh.

KEIGHTLEY: Since we built more dormitories.

SUCHANEK: Uh, huh.

KEIGHTLEY: So,

SUCHANEK: Now, was...

KEIGHTLEY: Maybe it wasn't a big a loss as I, as I thought it was.

SUCHANEK: Well, it was still destruction of property and, and.

KEIGHTLEY: Yes, that's it I, so as I say I guess my biggest concern was you know, supporting the support that those people that destroyed property received.

SUCHANEK: Uh, huh. Now was Wildcat Lodge here at that time?

KEIGHTLEY: No sir.

SUCHANEK: Okay, where were the players staying?

KEIGHTLEY: They, they were staying in, in Bradley.

6:00

SUCHANEK: Okay.

KEIGHTLEY: Right down there you know right, right next to it.

SUCHANEK: Right exactly.

KEIGHTLEY: Yes.

SUCHANEK: So I was wondering you know did, did the, did the athletic department take any, did they do anything to make sure that the players didn't get involved or didn't get hurt in this, this kind of thing? Did you try to protect them?

KEIGHTLEY: No, no, not, not really. I mean, it was uh, we had administration here at the university handled it, handled it very well.

SUCHANEK: Uh, huh.

KEIGHTLEY: And you know of course I mean our players did not participate in any of that mass gathering or anything like that.

SUCHANEK: Uh, huh. So there wasn't a need to talk to them and say don't go over the street and get in...

KEIGHTLEY: You know to the best of my knowledge I don't know that we discussed it with them.

SUCHANEK: Uh, huh.

KEIGHTLEY: To the best of my knowledge.

7:00

SUCHANEK: This leads into another question. You know the athletic department is a, is a big department. You've got a lot of people working here. It's got a large budget and I think, you know, there's, there's this perception that, that the athletic department is this, is this monolithic kind of entity that marches lock step in, in, in a conservative way because of the perception that, you know jocks, this is the jock place.

KEIGHTLEY: Yeah right.

SUCHANEK: But you know you all are people. And I was just wondering out of curiosity you know does, do political discussions ever happen between you all and disagreements and that kind of thing like over Viet Nam or do you remember anything like that ever happening?

KEIGHTLEY: Yeah, you know, I.

SUCHANEK: I'm sure there's democrats and republicans work here.

KEIGHTLEY: Oh yes, I uh, I you know maybe we'll talk about a presidential 8:00election but as far as discussion you know we'll say of Viet Nam or Iraq other than maybe two or three might come in here I'm talking about the kids that work with me. But no we, we, we really don't, don't discuss it to any degree. We, as you say, it's considered a jock place and we talk about athletics not necessarily basketball all the time but whatever it is. Now of course it's baseball season and we, we hash that out everyday.

SUCHANEK: Laughter.

KEIGHTLEY: But as far as political disagreements or discussions no, it's a very, very minimal amount here, very.

SUCHANEK: How about when it comes to discussion when athletic uh, a search goes on for a new athletic director? Is there a lot of discussion about that in- 9:00house?

KEIGHTLEY: What's that now about?

SUCHANEK: When, when there's a search for a new athletic director. Is there a lot of discussion amongst, amongst you all about the search or who might come or?

KEIGHTLEY: Yeah well again, you know when these searches (laughter) are taking place; we're the last to know.

SUCHANEK: Laughter.

KEIGHTLEY: You know just like we talk about the meeting you know as we did our last meeting here. You know, quite often we hear of things that's happening in our department from the newspapers. I mean we work with it everyday and we are not aware of some of the things that are taking place.

SUCHANEK: Uh, huh.

KEIGHTLEY: And that even goes in our own department. I may, I may find out more on Sunday morning in Jerry Tipton's column than I do after having worked about 10:0080 hours a week here. I mean, you know, (laughter) I don't hear about it, but then.

SUCHANEK: Why do you think that is?

KEIGHTLEY: I, I you know, I wish, I wish I had an answer for that. I don't know whether you know, administrators feel like they have to give the media access to interviews and maybe they've got to maybe make it appear that their administrators or whatever coaches or whatever the position may, may be of knowing more and giving that news out than the people that's actually working with it.

SUCHANEK: Uh, huh.

KEIGHTLEY: Now I don't know they but, quite often the situations arise where 11:00we, we know absolutely nothing about it even in I'll say, recruiting. And I, I wouldn't, I don't really understand that I, I think the people that's working for an organization inside the organization need to be totally informed on exactly what we're doing because we have to work together.

SUCHANEK: Well especially somebody like yourself because you're talking to media people as well.

KEIGHTLEY: Yeah, right. Yes.

SUCHANEK: You would think they would, they, they would at least tell you what the party line is.

KEIGHTLEY: Yes, yes, it would, it would be nice (laughter).

SUCHANEK: Laughter.

KEIGHTLEY: Laughter, yes it would, but you know it's, it's just, it's just the way the, the situation's been set up. So we, we learned to live with it.

12:00

SUCHANEK: It's, it's trickled down information.

KEIGHTLEY: It's just got to trickle down, that's right.

SUCHANEK: Laughter.

KEIGHTLEY: That's right, but I, I don't know why that we may be not as well informed from the inside maybe as I would like.

SUCHANEK: Uh, huh. Let's talk about some of the athletic directors. Is there that much difference between athletic directors in the way they run the athletic department?

KEIGHTLEY: Yes there, yes there, there is, yes there, there is quite a bit. We've, we've had some you know well in, in my time I've had Bernie Shively, and, and then after Bernie's death, we had Harry Lancaster who was an assistant coach for a period 13:00of many years.

SUCHANEK: Uh, huh.

KEIGHTLEY: Then he was succeeded by Cliff Hagan then C. M. Newton and now we have Mitch Barnhart, and they like the coaches have to adjust to the change in society. And they've all, they've all been successful because you know we are one of the, we are one of the few schools athletic department is totally in the black.

SUCHANEK: Uh, huh.

KEIGHTLEY: Without a burden to tax payers.

SUCHANEK: Uh, huh.

KEIGHTLEY: And.

SUCHANEK: In fact, I think the athletic department gives money to the library every year.

KEIGHTLEY: Yes sir, yes sir.

SUCHANEK: As well as others, other...

KEIGHTLEY: Yes that's right, yes. But as I say, all of them have been, been successful and, and today of course, it's much tougher to be an athletic director than it 14:00was I'll say when Bernie Shively was here because today Mitch Barnhart has twenty- two sports. And that's, its over five hundred athletes.

SUCHANEK: Uh, huh.

KEIGHTLEY: So it takes a lot of planning and Mitch is a very astute person.

SUCHANEK: Uh, huh.

KEIGHTLEY: And he's, he's done an outstanding job.

SUCHANEK: Uh, huh. And I imagine you know, there's a lot more emphasis on fundraising now from an athletic director's perspective.

KEIGHTLEY: Yes sir.

SUCHANEK: Then, back in the day when Bernie Shively was A.D.

KEIGHTLEY: That's right (laughter) you didn't, actually back then you had supporters that would donate to the university but now you know we have, we have fundraisers. It's, it's a department all of itself.

15:00

SUCHANEK: Uh, huh.

KEIGHTLEY: They have you know, probably six or seven people that devote their entire time to fundraising.

SUCHANEK: Uh, huh.

KEIGHTLEY: And where as I say back then Shive, he didn't have anyone. In fact when I started, he opened George Hucher back in '61 we had, had the two coaches Coach Rupp and Harry Lancaster. We had the secretary Ms. Rawlings, Bernie Shively had Louise Gilcrest and those two ran the entire athletic department, Louise Gilcrest and Bernie Shively. And football of course naturally has always had 16:00quite a few (laughter) more coaches than basketball but, but even that staff wasn't as big as it is today.

SUCHANEK: Uh, huh.

KEIGHTLEY: So yes, you've got uh, I couldn't tell you now of course I know we've got twenty-two sports so that means we've got twenty-two head coaches.

SUCHANEK: Laughter.

KEIGHTLEY: Laughter, right there.

SUCHANEK: Right, not counting the assistant coaches and...

KEIGHTLEY: Yes.

SUCHANEK: Yeah, uh, huh.

KEIGHTLEY: Yeah you got, you have, you know we didn't.

SUCHANEK: And with twenty-two sports you're looking at a lot more support staff.

KEIGHTLEY: Oh yes, oh yes.

SUCHANEK: I mean they all have probably secretaries, they all have assistants.

KEIGHTLEY: Yeah, we had in, in, in media relations, we had one person. Now there must be fifteen.

SUCHANEK: Laughter.

KEIGHTLEY: And uh.

SUCHANEK: And that's a tough job.

KEIGHTLEY: And uh, the accounting department was Mr. Harrison (laughter).

17:00

SUCHANEK: Laughter.

KEIGHTLEY: He, he did the whole thing (laughter).

SUCHANEK: Laughter.

KEIGHTLEY: But you know the.

SUCHANEK: Now, now you probably got a whole, a whole office full of accountants.

KEIGHTLEY: Oh, I couldn't, I couldn't make it. I couldn't even tell you how many.

SUCHANEK: Uh, huh.

KEIGHTLEY: I'd say we have probably fifteen people in the accounting office.

SUCHANEK: Uh, huh.

KEIGHTLEY: But then the budget you know just think about the difference in how much the budget would have been back in '61 compared to today.

SUCHANEK: Uh, huh.

KEIGHTLEY: So in order to keep the, the ship afloat I guess it takes a lot of, a lot of scrutinizing to make sure that everything is on an even keel.

SUCHANEK: Uh, huh. As large as U.K.'s athletic budget is it's, it's dwarfed by 18:00the size of the University of Florida's athletic budget,

KEIGHTLEY: Oh yes.

SUCHANEK: The University of Tennessee,

KEIGHTLEY: Oh yes. It is, it's dwarfed that's right.

SUCHANEK: I mean, I don't, I'm not sure those, those are doubled ours, but I know it's considerably higher.

KEIGHTLEY: Oh yes it is. Yeah, you've got, yeah well, Ohio State, Michigan you know there's, there's some Big Ten schools. Gosh I, I wouldn't, I wouldn't know what their budget would be, but.

SUCHANEK: Uh, huh. Well since we're talking about athletic directors, could you, could you comment on the ones that you've, that you've experienced and what their strengths and weaknesses might have been?

KEIGHTLEY: Well, you know, yes I can, yes I'm glad to comment on it because every one of them, was a, a perfect gentlemen when they came. I mean I wasn't here when they brought Shive in, but Shive even coached football.

19:00

SUCHANEK: Right.

KEIGHTLEY: At, at one time. But Bernie Shively you know he came from the Big Ten. He was an All-American at Illinois. And he was a, he was about 6'6", weighed about 250.

SUCHANEK: Really, I didn't know he was that big.

KEIGHTLEY: Oh yes. He, he was a very imposing human being. And he, he well he was athletic director from the early, real early '40's until he passed away. And I guess, I guess...I believe that was in the late '60's I guess that, that Shive passed 20:00away.

SUCHANEK: I was trying to think now um, what, what did he die of?

KEIGHTLEY: He had a heart attack.

SUCHANEK: A heart attack okay.

KEIGHTLEY: Uh, huh. Yes. And then as I say they, they brought, moved Harry to be athletic director and Joe B. became Adolph's top assistant coach.

SUCHANEK: Uh, huh.

KEIGHTLEY: And Harry was a very demanding, straightforward person. He, he was, he was probably, he was what you would call a hard-nosed athletic director.

SUCHANEK: Do, do you think Coach Rupp engineered him to be athletic director?

KEIGHTLEY: I suspect that Harry was ready for a change. Yes I, I think Harry 21:00was ready to, he, see he done most of the recruiting until Joe B. came aboard back about 1965 I guess something like that when Joe B. came in and I think Harry was, was ready for a career move.

SUCHANEK: But, do you think Coach Rupp would have seen Harry Lancaster being A.D. as being beneficial to him?

KEIGHTLEY: I, I, no I don't, don't really believe that because Coach Rupp and Harry weren't necessarily on the same page all the time.

SUCHANEK: Okay.

KEIGHTLEY: Yes.

SUCHANEK: Uh, huh.

KEIGHTLEY: So there they had a little bit different philosophy so,

SUCHANEK: Uh, huh.

KEIGHTLEY: I, I, I don't think that Adolph would have thought it have been particularly beneficial to him.

22:00

SUCHANEK: Uh, huh. Well that says a lot about I guess the qualifications of Harry Lancaster actually being appointed athletic director if Coach Rupp was not in his corner.

KEIGHTLEY: Well it's I'm, I'm sure you know that Coach Rupp would give it his approval yes, but as far as being just strictly helpful to basketball, I don't think, well it wouldn't have been Harry's nature because he was a very fair person.

SUCHANEK: Uh, huh.

KEIGHTLEY: And, and he was a hard-nosed individual as I say and so was Coach Rupp (laughter).

SUCHANEK: Which maybe why they didn't see eye-to-eye (laughter).

KEIGHTLEY: Yeah, that's right. Yes sir. But then when, when you know Harry suffered from diabetes. He lost, they had to have a leg amputated. And, and then 23:00when Cliff came along; Cliff was more of a laid-back type because he had been a basketball player and he'd been a successful pro. And Cliff was somewhat laid-back but Cliff did a, did a heck of a job. We, we had a lot of big wins when, when Cliff was here as, as athletic director.

SUCHANEK: Uh, huh.

KEIGHTLEY: And then of course when Cliff stepped aside and we of course, we were lucky to get C.M. Newton who was so highly respected by all people.

SUCHANEK: Uh, huh.

KEIGHTLEY: And even to this day C. M. Newton is one of the most respected guys in athletics. You know he's he is a consultant for the, the SEC at this time and 24:00what, what C. M. has to say it carries a lot of weight in athletics today.

SUCHANEK: Uh, huh.

KEIGHTLEY: Although other than being a consultant in the SEC the, the NCAA seeks some guidance and wisdom from, from C. M. quite often.

SUCHANEK: Uh, huh. Would you say in your experience that he was probably the best A. D. we've had?

KEIGHTLEY: Well he had, he probably, he probably had strongest backing from, I'm talking about all the member schools and the NCAA per say.

SUCHANEK: Uh, huh.

KEIGHTLEY: Now of course Mitch you know Mitch is aboard and he's, he's well respected also but again we've got uh...

25:00

SUCHANEK: As far as running the athletic department, who would you, if you had to classify somebody as being maybe the strongest administrator or the best administrator, who would, who would you say?

KEIGHTLEY: Well you, you would have to say I guess on a, on a national scope would probably be C. M., but Mitch is still making you know, he's (laughter) the others are all through and Mitch is still making his legacy and he's doing really a great job. As I say, in changing times. See we've got,

SUCHANEK: Right and the emphasis on, on the women's sports for example.

KEIGHTLEY: Yes, yes he's done an outstanding job. We gotta, we gotta understand Memorial Coliseum was built, completed in 1950 at the cost of 3.5 million 26:00dollars. Now we are building a practice facility only that's 34 million dollars.

SUCHANEK: Uh, huh.

KEIGHTLEY: So, you know Mitch has really worked hard, you know to make this thing, this dream for us to come true. Mitch has done a lot of hard work on it.

SUCHANEK: Uh, huh.

KEIGHTLEY: And he has quietly went about and, and done a great job with the fundraising.

SUCHANEK: Has C. M. been of, of help raising those kind of funds too?

KEIGHTLEY: Oh yes, oh yes, absolutely.

SUCHANEK: Uh, huh.

KEIGHTLEY: And I uh, C. M., he comes by oh, every month or so.

SUCHANEK: When he's not in the Bahamas right (laughter).

KEIGHTLEY: Yes, when he's not in the Bahamas he comes by. But yes Mitch, Mitch has done a great job in the fundraising so did, so did C. M. and you know of 27:00course I'm trying to think I guess we built the, the football stadium that was back in the what, do you know what?

SUCHANEK: Early '70's wasn't it?

KEIGHTLEY: Yeah, I'm going to say '70 it was completed somewhere '71, '72.

SUCHANEK: Yeah, uh, huh.

KEIGHTLEY: Something like that.

SUCHANEK: So that would have been under Cliff? Would that have been under Lancaster or Cliff?

KEIGHTLEY: That that would have been no, that that would have been Lancaster. I think it was started under, under Shive.

SUCHANEK: Uh, huh, uh, huh. Now how much, how much state funding was involved in that? Was that a state project or was it a project?

KEIGHTLEY: Yes, yes that's a, yeah that's, you know the, it was a, was a, I do 28:00not recall how much the state put into it, but it was approved by the legislators.

SUCHANEK: Right.

KEIGHTLEY: And a,

SUCHANEK: Of course Stole Field used to be right out here.

KEIGHTLEY: Right, right across the street.

SUCHANEK: And I mean you.

KEIGHTLEY: Where the Singletary Center is.

SUCHANEK: Right and, and I mean you looked at that thing everyday for many years.

KEIGHTLEY: Yeah, right.

SUCHANEK: Uh, huh.

KEIGHTLEY: You know, we housed the football coaches in this building right here.

SUCHANEK: Oh, really uh, hum.

KEIGHTLEY: Yeah, they were right across here. In fact I saw one of my, one of my favorite football coaches last week, Fran Curci was in town,

SUCHANEK: Uh, huh.

KEIGHTLEY: And yeah, his, Fran's office was right, right straight across the hall there.

SUCHANEK: Of course I think he ran into problems or controversy with his recruiting didn't he?

KEIGHTLEY: Well the thing is, yes he did at this place they, they call it that, but 29:00(laughter) without pointing fingers. You know what, he was doing the same thing that these others are still doing and alls, all (laughter) Tennessee, Alabama, Florida, Auburn.

SUCHANEK: Bob Huggins at Cincinnati.

KEIGHTLEY: (Laughter) well, but you know they, they, they're still, they, football I'm talking about.

SUCHANEK: Uh, huh.

KEIGHTLEY: Ah dang, you know I how, how those schools escape I don't know.

SUCHANEK: Laughter.

KEIGHTLEY: But you what?

SUCHANEK: They've got powerful friends.

KEIGHTLEY: Fran, Fran got right in there with them (laughter).

SUCHANEK: Uh, huh.

KEIGHTLEY: That's what he did (laughter).

SUCHANEK: Laughter. You know the, the old saying is when you know, when you get in the mud with the pigs, the pigs love it you just get dirty (laughter).

KEIGHTLEY: Yeah, that's right that's it (laughter). But he, he did a, he was a good, he was a good recruiter.

SUCHANEK: Uh, huh.

KEIGHTLEY: And uh, but uh we've, the athletic directors I've been fortunate 30:00that all of them are non-controversial.

SUCHANEK: Uh, huh. Well, we'll talk about this more when we get into the, the late '80's, but somebody from the outside who would be looking at Cliff Hagan as athletic director would say, because he was so laid back, that's why the basketball program got off track. And you know some of those problems arose. Do you think that that's a fair characterization?

KEIGHTLEY: I...

SUCHANEK: Or was that just something that just happened?

KEIGHTLEY: You know I that, that I, I think that, that was something that just happened and again the a, you know Coach Rupp had such a legacy and the NCAA 31:00wasn't, wasn't hardly as large and as a, pursued things to the degree when Coach Rupp was coaching as they do today.

SUCHANEK: Uh, huh.

KEIGHTLEY: Now that, you know, I know that that gambling bit back in the late 40's.

SUCHANEK: Uh, huh.

KEIGHTLEY: As something that Adolph always regretted that ever, you know naturally, would ever happen and, and it wasn't, it was just a really a couple of those guys I think that were really, really into it big. Like you know like Wah Jones and he, no part of anything, knew nothing about it.

SUCHANEK: Uh, huh.

KEIGHTLEY: Ralph Beard would never, would never fix a game regardless of 32:00what anybody wants to think or say.

SUCHANEK: Uh, huh.

KEIGHTLEY: And, and Ralph you know he's still openly discusses it and but, the NCAA wasn't, wasn't hardly as rough at that time. But as time went on, it's kind of like, you know, John Wooden out at UCLA for the first twenty years, John Wooden was a, was a .500 coach and all of a sudden they got this fellow by the name of Gilbert, the big, the big construction tycoon that built all of the highways in California. He got involved and of course you know that record of Coach Wooden's improved drastically.

SUCHANEK: (Laughter). They weren't checking to see what kind of cars

KEIGHTLEY: They didn't, hey they didn't.

SUCHANEK: Their athletes were driving, did they?

KEIGHTLEY: I'm, I'm you know I'm sure that, that Lewis as, as he always called 33:00him Alcindor (laughter).

SUCHANEK: Laughter.

KEIGHTLEY: He went all the way from Power High School in New York to UCLA.

SUCHANEK: And you don't think he just did it for the weather as such.

KEIGHTLEY: I, I don't, not to drive on that good highway (laughter).

SUCHANEK: (Laughter).

KEIGHTLEY: (Laughter). Yes, but then, you know he was followed by, by Bill Walton and scads of other good players.

SOIAH: Uh, huh.

KEIGHTLEY: All of them fell in love with UCLA.

SUCHANEK: (Laughter), imagine that.

KEIGHTLEY: Imagine that. Where they got summer jobs as working in, in Hollywood that's where most of them worked making more money than probably, let's see, that would have been back in the '60's.

SUCHANEK: (Laughter).

KEIGHTLEY: They were making more money in a week than most families in 34:00the state of Kentucky could make in a year.

SUCHANEK: Yeah, if they were going just for the weather, San Diego State would have been a powerhouse wouldn't it? (Laughter)

KEIGHTLEY: Yeah, it would have been (laughter). That's right. Well, it's but yeah I, I'm, I'm proud of our athletic directors and you know old, old Cliff is still a real close buddy of mine as is C. M. Of course they're the only two that's still alive other than Mitch of course.

SUCHANEK: Uh, huh. Let me ask you this as far as the athletic department goes. The disparity between the success of the football team and the basketball team, why do you think that, that disparity has existed and exists to this day? Is it an 35:00emphasis by athletic directors or is it something else?

KEIGHTLEY: No, I think every athletic director that we have had has tried desperately to bring the football situation up to the same level as basketball. Now I, I think the, the biggest difference between our program and other programs in the southeast is the fact Kentucky is not a populace state. We do not, we do not develop many division one football players each year. We are very, very limited on the talent. Unlike Ohio who has, where we have basically a little over 200 schools playing football 36:00the state of Ohio has over 1,300.

SUCHANEK: Uh, huh.

KEIGHTLEY: So and, and that you know that odd that's the odds surrounding us any anywhere you go even Tennessee is a more, much more populace state than, than Kentucky. And then of course, you get down in Mississippi, you have all these fine African American athletes that we, we just don't, you know we just don't have the numbers in the state of Kentucky.

SUCHANEK: And now Florida.

KEIGHTLEY: And Florida, yes.

SUCHANEK: Uh, huh.

KEIGHTLEY: Yeah and Florida and they, you know they have quite a few Hispanics on, on their football teams.

SUCHANEK: Uh, huh.

KEIGHTLEY: You know Florida is kind of a, a melting pot for, for the people in 37:00America.

SUCHANEK: Uh, huh.

KEIGHTLEY: And they, so it's difficult to, to compete. It's, it's difficult for us to compete because we gotta go into these states where these schools such as Georgia, Tennessee, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi to recruit. Whereas they can have a lot of, of fine athletes from their own state and we could only maybe get seven or eight a year.

SUCHANEK: Yeah, I was going to say you know you're talking about the number of high schools in Ohio. I'll bet you in some years you know Maselin High School in Ohio had more division one prospects than maybe the state of Kentucky.

KEIGHTLEY: Oh, I'll, I'll, I'll bet you you're right yeah, or Moeller High School in 38:00Cincinnati.

SUCHANEK: Exactly, uh, huh.

KEIGHTLEY: Yes. Yes. I so it's difficult to go out of the state and drag these top prospects in.

SUCHANEK: Uh, huh.

KEIGHTLEY: So what we get if we go into Florida about the best we can hope to get would be, I'd say a third string player because they're either going to Florida or Florida State.

SUCHANEK: Or Miami.

KEIGHTLEY: Or well, wait a minute, fourth string maybe.

SUCHANEK: Or Georgia (laughter) you know yeah.

KEIGHTLEY: Yeah, and, and yeah you got, yes Georgia.

SUCHANEK: So were getting the players they don't want.

KEIGHTLEY: Yeah, that we just can't they going to get the cream,

SUCHANEK: Uh, huh.

KEIGHTLEY: And since we don't, not able to produce the players in this state it's just hard to bring 'em in here and compete on the level that these other schools.

SUCHANEK: Without bending the rules, right (laughter).

KEIGHTLEY: That's absolutely right.

39:00

SUCHANEK: (Laughter).

KEIGHTLEY: You know even (laughter) you know Mississippi State got pretty good there for two or three years (laughter).

SUCHANEK: (Laughter) under Jackie Sherrill right.

KEIGHTLEY: But that, come to, that's right, but that came to an end so yeah it's.

SUCHANEK: Well you know LSU has a, I don't know what the population of Louisiana is but they've, they've got always a pretty good football team.

KEIGHTLEY: Ah they've got most of the, hey they're, they're most of theirs are home grown.

SUCHANEK: Uh, huh.

KEIGHTLEY: They really are, but you know population has, has a lot to do with the football situation here because in basketball you can get one or two really good, good players and you can be competitive, but in football you gotta have, you gotta have.

SUCHANEK: You gotta have twenty-two.

KEIGHTLEY: You gotta have twenty-two for certain.

SUCHANEK: Uh, huh.

KEIGHTLEY: Yes, good ones.

SUCHANEK: Exactly and Florida's got sixty-six.

40:00

KEIGHTLEY: Yeah, that's right (laughter). They got sixty-six.

SUCHANEK: (Laughter), we're lucky if we get ten.

KEIGHTLEY: (Laughter), yeah. You know we bring in this one kid this year Micah Johnson and I guess he's you know he's a, he's a man-child. You, you just eye him. I don't think I have ever seen a better looking prospect.

SUCHANEK: Uh, huh.

KEIGHTLEY: But back when, talking about football in the, in the, what they want to say, "The Golden Era" here was back in the years of Bear Bryant.

SUCHANEK: Right.

KEIGHTLEY: But there's something to be said about that one. Bear Bryant wasn't, wasn't coaching your normal high school athlete. He was coaching guys that had been in.

SUCHANEK: The service.

KEIGHTLEY: Yes, Normandy, Iwo Jima.

SUCHANEK: Uh, huh.

KEIGHTLEY: Guadalcanal, these were men when they came here.

41:00

SUCHANEK: Uh, huh.

KEIGHTLEY: And it's not like trying to take a fuzzy face eighteen-year-old and run him out there on the field, and then of course Bear. Football was probably the best in this state really right, right after World War II.

SUCHANEK: Uh, huh.

KEIGHTLEY: Probably now I, I, I don't, can't give any, you know solid reasoning for that, but.

SUCHANEK: Well of course recruiting at that time wasn't nationwide as much as it is now either so.

KEIGHTLEY: No, no, no, no, no you, you did, you know Bear recruited out of West Virginia.

SUCHANEK: Uh, huh.

KEIGHTLEY: Like and,

SUCHANEK: Of course Florida didn't have the population it has today.

KEIGHTLEY: No, no, no it did not.

SUCHANEK: Uh, huh.

KEIGHTLEY: But Bear recruited some in southern Ohio and West Virginia and 42:00he grabbed one or two out of Tennessee and, and then another thing that really I think maybe has hurt football a little bit in this state is the, the fact that we've had consolidation of all these schools. I think I even talked about that with you.

SUCHANEK: Right.

KEIGHTLEY: In basketball, but you, you got a lot of kids that don't have an opportunity to play now.

SUCHANEK: Uh, huh.

KEIGHTLEY: That back in the '40's, and '50's, and '60's, they played football in their own little community.

SUCHANEK: Right.

KEIGHTLEY: We had just a lot more high schools playing football than we do today.

SUCHANEK: That's right.

SUCHANEK: Well you know even in, in, in basketball, you had a lot of those small schools winning the state championships like Cuba's Clowns and,

KEIGHTLEY: Oh, yeah.

SUCHANEK: Remember that team?

KEIGHTLEY: Yeah, yes, yeah, yeah you had a lot of you had (unintelligible), 43:00Cuba and, and.

SUCHANEK: Just a lot of them.

KEIGHTLEY: Yeah and then you had little villages like Rineyville, Caneyville.

SUCHANEK: Uh, huh.

KEIGHTLEY: Flat Gap, I'm trying to think of where Billy Ray Cassady went to school, but Joe yeah there was just a lot more schools participating and so he had a lot more kids had an opportunity to develop.

SUCHANEK: Right.

KEIGHTLEY: Than they do now.

SUCHANEK: Uh, huh.

KEIGHTLEY: Because up in the mountains a lot of kids can't go out for football cause they have no way to get home.

SUCHANEK: Uh, huh.

KEIGHTLEY: But it used to be they would stay right in their little lien camp or 44:00some place like that.

SUCHANEK: And walk home.

KEIGHTLEY: Yeah, and walk home.

SUCHANEK: Uh, huh.

KEIGHTLEY: But see that, that no longer exists.

SUCHANEK: Right. Well you know given the realities of today, as you, as you look into the future now, you know occasionally the football team has a, has a good season, do you think that's probably the future of U.K. football, just occasionally you have a good season, but it's going to be a struggle most of the time?

KEIGHTLEY: I tell you, you know Jeff yes I'd probably now at my age since I've lived through all of this, I, I, would see occasionally yes, we'll, we'll have a good team. You know it's a bit really like Vanderbilt. You know I mean it's a tough school academically and occasionally Vanderbilt has a good team such as last year; they, they were very competitive.

SUCHANEK: Uh, huh.

KEIGHTLEY: But year in and year out, you just can't go against the Georgia's, 45:00the Tennessee's, and the Florida's and the Alabama's.

SUCHANEK: Uh, huh.

KEIGHTLEY: I mean it's almost, you almost know the outcome before you start.

SUCHANEK: Uh, huh. It's not like Kentucky doesn't produce good players, we do.

KEIGHTLEY: No, but not enough of them.

SUCHANEK: Exactly, we have had plenty of players in the NFL.

KEIGHTLEY: That's right. Yes, yes.

SUCHANEK: Come from Kentucky.

KEIGHTLEY: Plenty.

SUCHANEK: Dermontti Dawson for one.

KEIGHTLEY: Well yeah, you've got.

SUCHANEK: But you know a lot, but there is just not enough.

KEIGHTLEY: No we just don't have enough. It's, it's a numbers game and we don't have the numbers.

SUCHANEK: You know it really just points out how good that pro scouting must be because you, you have such sometimes terrible teams, and yet they can still spot the talent.

KEIGHTLEY: Yeah, they can. That's right.

SUCHANEK: Uh, huh.

KEIGHTLEY: Yeah, I, I remember when Blanton Collier was here one year. We 46:00went one and nine. The only game we won was against Tennessee (laughter).

SUCHANEK: (Laughter) well that made the season, didn't it.

KEIGHTLEY: Yeah, but, but we had, you know, we had a, an All-American player, Lou Michaels.

SUCHANEK: Uh, huh, kicker.

KEIGHTLEY: And he you know he went on to the pros and had a fine career.

SUCHANEK: Now he was a defensive lineman too, wasn't he?

KEIGHTLEY: Yes, yes.

SUCHANEK: And a kicker.

KEIGHTLEY: Yes.

SUCHANEK: Yeah, uh, huh.

KEIGHTLEY: Yes and then of course in the early years we went into Pennsylvania and picked Bob Gain off.

SUCHANEK: Uh, huh.

KEIGHTLEY: And then we got Steve Meidinger and I don't know where Steve came from, but he lives in Lexington now. But you know all those guys had a, had great pro career.

47:00

SUCHANEK: Uh, huh, uh, huh there would have been a lot of them.

KEIGHTLEY: Yes, yes a lot of them.

SUCHANEK: Okay, we've gone almost an hour so I'm going to, I'm going to stop and I swear the next time we talk, we'll start talking about players again (laughter).

KEIGHTLEY: Okay.

SUCHANEK: Alright.

KEIGHTLEY: We'll do it. Yes sir.

Search This Transcript
SearchClear