A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Billy Reed: Still reeling from mob at Capitol and thinking of those who make a difference

Here at the start, I must admit that I am still reeling at what I saw happen Wednesday afternoon in our nation’s Capitol building. I will never get over the sight of Americans fighting other Americans for control of our revered temple of freedom. It was sad beyond belief. But it also renewed my resolve to use any forum I have to speak to my fellow Americans, especially the young people, about the...

Billy Reed: Happy New Year (truly!); we remember weird stuff as we leave 2020, some good too

Happy new year to everyone, and I mean that with more sincerity than ever. Last year was such a disaster, due to all the worldwide havoc caused by the Coronavirus pandemic that even to mention 2020 is the same as using a curse. The world of sports was hardly immune to the crisis. At both the college and pro levels, so many games were canceled or postponed, and so many teams decimated by players who...

Billy Reed: In the merry spirit of Christmas, I can only say the UK-UL game was only a bit better than I expected

Staying in the merry spirit of Christmas, I am determined to write something nice about the Kentucky-Louisville game in the KFC Yum! Center. So here it is: It was better than I expected. Not by much, mind you, but it a bit. The Cardinals won, 62-59, because it was better-coached and has a guard combination, sophomore David Johnson of Louisville Trinity High and Carlik Jones, a transfer from Radford,...

Billy Reed: UK basketball is no longer must-watch TV for me (back to National Lampoon’s Christmas)

The last time the Kentucky men’s team opened the basketball season with a 1-5 record was 1926-’27. I was not around then, believe it or not, but neither was Dick Vitale, March Madness, and the dunk. Adolph Rupp was in Kansas, three years away from coming to UK and revolutionizing the game. I mention this to give you some perspective on the current team, which dropped to 1-5 yesterday with a 75-63...

Billy Reed: Please send me your ideas for who should be Kentucky Sportsperson of the Year

Since its first year of publication in 1954, Sports Illustrated magazine has selected a Sportsman (now Sportsperson) of the Year. The first winner was English runner Roger Bannister, the first man to crack the four-minute barrier in the mile. Since then, the award has gone to individuals, or teams, from every major sport. It has included foreign athletes like Bannister, black and whites, men and women...

Billy Reed: Johnny Oldham, dead at 90, was one of college basketball’s historically important coaches

The death of one of college basketball’s most historically important coaches on Nov. 23 received scant attention outside Bowling Green, Ky., and that would have been fine with Johnny Oldham, a quiet and modest man who had no ego that could be seen with the naked eye. From 1964-’71, Oldham, who was 90 when he passed away, won 78 per cent of his games at Western Kentucky University. He put together...

Billy Reed: Sports world must get over entitlement, protect fans and players by taking virus seriously

At this very moment, my younger granddaughter is in Richmond, Va., participating in a field-hockey tournament. I kid you not. Why in the world this thing wasn’t postponed is beyond me. I was sort of hoping she would use the Coronavirus as an excuse not to go. But she loves to play the sport and she didn’t want to let her teammates down. I have to applaud her for that. When you’re on a team, you...

Billy Reed: November 22, 1963, a day that changed world and a reminder not to give up on democracy

As I was driving my 1957 black Chevy convertible past Lexington’s Blue Grass Field, I was feeling good. Only 19, I already was covering high school sports for The Leader, the city’s afternoon newspaper, and I was on the way to Princeton, in deep western Kentucky, to cover a playoff game between Lafayette High, a team I had covered all season, and Caldwell County, led by Kerry Curling, a two-way...

Billy Reed: Rest in peace, Paul Hornung, and thanks for the fond memories — and two good books

Paul Hornung called me early in 2004 to ask if I would be interested in doing a book with him. As somebody who had followed him since his days at Louisville Flaget High (now defunct) and written much about his iconic career with Notre Dame and the Green Bay Packers of Vince Lombardi, I quickly agreed and we set up a meeting to go over the details. I found out later that Paul had received an advance...

Billy Reed: Going home to old friend, as Bellarmine University will play basketball in big Freedom Hall

While almost every college and university that plays basketball in NCAA Division I is anticipating severe attendance and revenue drops due to the Coronavirus pandemic, Bellarmine University of Louisville, is looking forward to expanded attendance and revenue in its first season as a member of the sport’s highest division. Impossible? Ridiculous? Not if you’re ready to welcome an old friend, Freedom...

Billy Reed: Sports management program is a good idea, but the timing just doesn’t seem quite right

My alma mater, Transylvania University, has begun the process of starting a sports management program. I like the idea, even suggested it a while back, but now I have to wonder if the timing is right. For one thing, money is tight at most colleges and universities. Depending on the magnitude of their problem, many have eliminated positions, slashed budgets, instituted hiring freezes, and cut salaries. This...

Billy Reed: Coming off a long lay-off, the happy golfer is back — for big laughs and great memories shared

Last week the most exciting sports story in my Coronavirus-shrunken world was that played nine holes of golf, the first time in more than two years that I had swung at a Titleist. I use the term “played” advisedly because I’m sure that good players would recognize my hacking as being anywhere close to the same game they play. Yet the record will show that my next-door neighbor Ed Zellers and...

Billy Reed: Joe Morgan, first of Big Red Machine to pass away, was ‘manager on the field,’ likeable guy

And then there were seven. The starting eight players for the Cincinnati Reds’ back-to-back World Series champions of 1975 and ’76 – the “Big Red Machine” – are still revered as legends 44 years later. The Reds still sell paraphernalia with their names on it. It’s almost as if time stopped for the Reds when the last out was made in their ’76 World Series sweep on the New York Yankees. Every...

Billy Reed: The ‘fellowship of the miserable’ is watching to see what’s next for Stoops

After the Kentucky Wildcats posted another of their signature come-from-ahead losses a week ago yesterday, this time a 42-41 overtime defeat to an Ole Miss team they led by 14 in the third quarter, the fan base spent the week moaning, groaning, finger-pointing, whining, and lamenting their historic bad luck. But I liked the Wildcat fan who found a silver lining in the debacle. He said he didn’t mind...

Billy Reed: Remembering Lexington native and former Los Angeles Dodger Lou Johnson

Although I hadn’t seen Lou Johnson for years, I still considered him a friend, mostly because we shared a special time in our lives. This would have been the mid-1960s, when Lou was playing baseball for the Los Angeles Dodgers and I was an aspiring sportswriter in his hometown of Lexington. I made sure he got properly recognized by the afternoon Lexington Leader. Apparently his family never forgot...

Billy Reed: This true fan is grateful to baseball (and to Reds) for providing a link to our previous normalcy

During World War II, President Roosevelt allowed professional baseball to continue as usual because he felt it was a way of boosting morale both at home and with our troops overseas. It also was a way of thumbing our nose at our enemies. Now, more than ever, I appreciate FDR’s wisdom. Here in the age of Trumpism and the Coronavirus, baseball has again provided us with a link to our previous normalcy....

Billy Reed: Just when I was thinking some people had good sense, we find out it really is about the money

Yes, that was heartfelt applause you heard coming from this corner when two of the country’s major college sports conferences, the Big Ten and the Pac-12, announced their teams would not play football this fall due to concerns about the coronavirus. Finally, I thought, we have some universities who put the health and welfare of their athletes above the money that football generates. Finally, I thought,...

Billy Reed: When my high school granddaughter is playing field hockey, I won’t promise not to worry

This fall my younger granddaughter is playing field hockey at Assumption High School in Louisville. She loves the sport so much that she transferred to Assumption so she could play on one of the state’s best teams. So far, so good. Her parents, my older daughter and her husband, assure me she is happy and doing well in her new environment. That’s good enough for me because I so much admire them...

Billy Reed: Strange Derby is over; maybe next year can be normal; Baffert sets record with Authentic

All you horse-racing fans who have been waiting to exhale no longer have to hold your breaths. On a lovely late-summer day at Churchill Downs, the 146th Kentucky Derby was run without a hitch before a “crowd” of around 200. Nobody was beaten and nothing was set on fire. The protesters outside the track grounds were mostly peaceful. In fact, the only guy who got knocked down was Bob Baffert, who...

Billy Reed: We should all stand (or take a knee) against racism in sports and life — it needs to end

I was thrilled last week when several NBA teams boycotted their playoff games to show solidarity against racism. Black lives matter. The murders of innocent African-Americans by trigger-happy white cops must stop. That was the message, and they sure got plenty of media time to express their anger and demands for change. I must admit that I thought, “Where have you been?” But I quickly stifled that....