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Former All-SEC, University of Kentucky football athlete, Joey Couch, dies at age 49 in Paintsville

By Mark Maynard
Kentucky Today

Joey Couch, a former All-SEC nose guard at Kentucky and a legendary high school athlete at Paintsville High School, died Friday at the age of 49.
Couch died from an acute cardiac event, according to the Johnson County coroner. His wife, Angel, said in a Facebook post that he passed at 7:45 p.m.

“Please keep myself and his boys, Tyler Couch and Braxton Couch, and his brother, David Couch, and his sweet mom Jane Calhoun Couch in your prayers,” Angel Couch’s post said.

Joey Couch played for the University of Kentucky from 1988-1991 and was serving as an assistant football coach at Paintsville High School where he starred in football and basketball.

He was a member of the Tigers’ basketball team that captured three consecutive 15th Region titles from 1985 to 1987, culminating with a trip to the state semifinals his senior year along with Mr. Basketball and UK “Unforgettable” John Pelphrey.

Couch was a Kentucky All-Star in basketball, but he was an even better player in football where the All-State linebacker signed to play with the Wildcats and made an immediate impact.

Kash Daniel, a current UK linebacker and former star at Paintsville, tweeted: “Remember if I can do it, you can too. I’ll never forget those words coach. You taught me a lot. You were a big inspiration to many people including me.”

Freddie Maggard, who was Couch’s college roommate, tweeted: “Rest in Sweet Peace to my teammate, college roomie, and friend Joey Couch. Legend.”

Couch, who was working as an insurance agent in Pikeville before his death, played at Kentucky for Jerry Claiborne and Bill Curry.

Couch’s visitation is Monday at the Paintsville High School gym from 4 to 9 p.m. The funeral is Tuesday at 1 p.m.

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