Vaught's Views: Daughter defends Kentucky coach

November 07, 2003|LARRY VAUGHT

Rich Brooks knows better than to scan Internet message boards to see what fans are saying about him, or his University of Kentucky football team.

Even if he wanted to sneak a peek at what others are saying, he doesn't have time. He's too busy trying to figure out a way for Kentucky to win at least two of its remaining games against Vanderbilt, Georgia and Tennessee so that it can be bowl-eligible.

So it's really no surprise Brooks had no clue about an Internet rumor that had him ready to give up at Kentucky because the rebuilding job was harder than he imagined and that former Florida coach Steve Spurrier, now the head coach of the Washington Redskins, was already being wooed by Kentucky.

However, one of Brooks' daughters, Kerri, does have more than enough time to check the message boards and when she took a look at, she didn't like the rumor she saw being spread about her father.


She posted several passionate messages supporting her father. At first, many questioned whether she really was Brooks' daughter even if her message certainly sounded like a loyal daughter defending her father.

"He is not unhappy. He is not leaving. The idea that he is going to step aside is a crock. He is dedicated to the kids he is recruiting, his coaching staff, the administration and the fans who support the program," Brooks' daughter, who lives in Atlanta, wrote. "He is stressed out because he wants to win, but is not unhappy about being at Kentucky."

She went on to confirm that her father did turn down an offer to coach the San Francisco 49ers after he accepted the UK job.

Brooks was somewhat surprised when asked not only about the rumor, but also his daughter's defense of him. After he got a chance to read the copy of her first post, he could only smile and shake his head.

"My family has never had a problem voicing their opinions. They are just like me," the Kentucky coach said.

Apparently he was accurate because not long after I questioned him, this post appeared on

"I just got a phone call from none other than Coach Brooks (my dad). I am now absolutely certain that people on radio shows check these sites out for scuttlebutt. Why? Because a newspaper reporter just called to ask him about my comments on this site," Brooks' daughter wrote. "I can never stay out of trouble. It was one of those phone calls like, 'What have you done now?'"

She verified her father's commitment to Kentucky

What she did was basically verify the commitment her father has to Kentucky. No way would I expect Brooks to walk away from this challenge. His team is 4-5, but could easily be 6-3 if it had not blown a big lead against Florida and could have made one defensive stop in the seven-overtime loss to Arkansas.

"Anybody who has been around me would laugh at that (rumor he would quit because the job was too hard)," Brooks said. "I have no comprehension where that could have come from. Maybe somebody from another school that doesn't want us to get many recruits started it.

"There is progress being made. People that know football can see that. They can also look at the Arkansas game and see the size and speed differential of the two teams. We just have to get more good players in here to go with the ones we have."

Does that sound like a coach who feels overwhelmed? Does that sound like a coach ready to quit because the task is too difficult? It doesn't to me, and it doesn't take an Internet message post by his daughter to verify that.

Brooks might be disappointed with his team's record, but it has not diminished his competitive fire.

"I am still an impatient guy. Moral victories are fine and wonderful for some people, but not for me. I want wins and I want this senior class to leave with a bowl game under their belt," Brooks said.

What if that doesn't happen? What if UK finishes 5-6, or 4-7? Would Brooks bail on UK?

"They might fire me, but they are not going to run me off," Brooks said. "I made a commitment to Kentucky. I knew this would not be an easy job, but we're moving forward and no matter what anyone says, I'm not going anywhere."

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