“There are a lot of weekends where you are working,” she said. “But even though I am not still playing sports, I am around people in sports and I have enjoyed that while learning so much.
“I was never really a UK fan before, but seeing the passion Kentucky fans have has been cool to be part of. They have made me a fan and Joker is really cool to work with.”
Menard couldn’t resist showing other clinic workers Centre College, and took her own trip to memory lane when she had lunch at Melton’s on Deli Monday.
“Then Jay (Hoffman), my soccer coach at Centre, walked in and (Centre men’s basketball coach) Greg Mason came in. It was like my own homecoming,” she said.
Learning: Many youngsters came to Monday’s clinic just to see Phillips or receive the free UK gear being handed out. However, 12-year-old Ray Bradshaw of Danville, who will be an eighth-grader at Bate Middle School, had a different purpose.
“I want to learn how to be a better football player,” Bradshaw, a running back, said. “It’s a chance to see and meet Joker, but I am really both a Kentucky and Louisville fan. For me, it’s more about football and having a chance to have a college head coach tell me things that might make me better.”
Bradshaw had several other Bate players with him.
“I have played football since second grade and I think I will eventually be able to help Danville,” Bradshaw said. “That’s why even though I have never done anything like this, I wanted to come and see what Joker would tell me.”
Looking: Phillips and several other UK staff members joked they were looking for the “Chuck Smith statue” around Boyle County High School. Smith, a former UK linebacker who is now UK’s recruiting coordinator and linebackers coach, led Boyle to five state championships before leaving to join the Wildcats.
“Where is the statue anyway? There needs to be one. I tell you that,” Phillips said.
He says there’s “no doubt” Smith has what it takes to be a Division I head coach.
“Chuck carries himself like a head coach because he was a head coach for a long time (in high school). He is very thorough about making sure details are taken care of, and he’s a good coach,” Phillips said.
While Phillips worked at various colleges before becoming a head coach, Smith spent his career on the high school level before coming to UK.
“I don’t think that will hurt him. He has moved also,” Phillips joked. “He was at Allen County, Campbellsville and Boyle County. Those count as moving around, too.”
Missing: Phillips confirmed that two players — redshirt freshman defensive tackle Myron Walker and sophomore center Osaze Idumwonyi — have elected to leave the team and transfer to other schools.