“Paul ‘Bear’ Bryant was hired as head football coach at Kentucky in 1946 after showing promise as one of the top young coaches in the country at the University of Maryland.
“Bryant went on to lead the UK football team to 8 consecutive winning seasons, including 4 bowl games and claiming their first SEC championship in 1950. In the 1950 Sugar Bowl, Kentucky beat defending national champion Oklahoma 13-7 and broke the Sooners’ 31-game winning streak.
“Bryant continued to coach at UK for a number of seasons. Despite the tremendous success, Bryant finally chose to leave Kentucky after the 1953 season for a position at Texas A & M. He left Lexington with nine years remaining on his contract. Bryant later moved to the University of Alabama where he cemented his position as a football coaching legend. His UK record of 60-23-5 remains a record at the school for wins.
“As mentioned, there were likely many additional reasons that could be looked at as to why Coach Bear Bryant left the Kentucky football program.
“The 1951 basketball scandal which rocked the basketball program led to increased scrutiny and recruiting restrictions (such as limits on recruiting out-of-state players) on not only the basketball program, but other athletics at the school including football.
“In an article by Atlanta Journal and Constitution sports columnist (and UK alum) Ed Danforth, the overemphasis of the basketball program by the school and the after-effects of the scandal were prime reasons in Bryant’s decision.
“Reportedly wrote Danforth in a column, “Kentucky is basketball crazy, devoted to perpetuating the whims of an embittered coach, Adolph Rupp, and in so doing has maneuvered itself into a position of disfavor with the NCAA and with its sister colleges.” Danforth went on to say that Bryant is “running into backfires from the basketball scandal, the price the university paid for overemphasizing the sport.” (“Bryant Irked by Cage Situation ?,” Lincoln Nebraska Journal and Star February 7, 1954.)
“To add the the football recruiting dilemma, “the NCAA had been investigating the UK football program at the time for questionable recruiting practices, but by NCAA Executive Director Walter Byers’ own admission (in his book Unsportsmanlike Conduct) they were preoccupied so much with the Kentucky basketball program that the football program got by relatively unscathed. [Bear Bryant and Rupp – http://www.bigbluehistory.net/bb/bearbryant.html Kentucky Basketball, Jon Scott 1996 ]
“Under a backdrop of revelations of the 1951 University of Kentucky Basketball point shaving and dumping games coming out of New York, the NCAA in January of 1952 authorized a Membership Committee which examined complaints and a subcommittee (the Subcommittee on Infractions) to investigate as warranted. The findings of investigations would be reported to the NCAA Council which had the power to suspend or place members on probation.
“Walter Byers was installed as the NCAA first Executive Director, the news of Kentucky’s involvement became public through Judge Streit’s rebuke of the University. Kentucky became Case Report No. 1 for Byers and the NCAA.
“The reputation of the fledgling NCAA organization and it’s new subcommittee would be put to a test with the case against Kentucky. Failure would have left the organization and it’s new structure still-born. In light of the failure of the ‘Sanity Code’ ability to regulate college sport participation, this could have proven the death knell of the organization itself.
“The 1951 Scandal marked the ascendancy of the NCAA as an organization for the most part capable of policing itself. In the years leading up to the Scandal, the organization had adopted the “Sanity Code” under which the respective schools policed themselves. The “Sanity Code” was an attempt to limit the burgeoning athletic enterprises that were growing up around the country, by defining and limiting recruiting, athletic scholarships and academic requirements.
“Wrote Byers in his memoirs: “Had they (UK) fought us on the technical, legal grounds so many university-hired lawyers used in later years, Kentucky probably would have carried the day at the convention in January 1953. Instead, their decision to accept the penalty erased the haunting failure of the Sanity Code. It gave a new and needed legitimacy to the NCAA’s fledgling effort to police big-time college sports.”(Unsportsmanlike Conduct, pp. 60-61.)
As mentioned by Byers himself, Kentucky’s decision to abide by the NCAA’s ruling without appeal gave the NCAA (and by extension Byers and his office) needed credibility. This set the stage for the continued growth and authority of the NCAA which we see today, for better or worse. [Kentucky Basketball Schedule (1952-1953) Final Record: Won: 0; Lost: 0 Played no schedule, Jon Scott Last Updated January 26, 2011, http://www.bigbluehistory.net/bb/statistics/1952-53.html ]
[Kentucky Football: The Blanton Collier Years (Part One and Two) 1954 -1961 By Hank Rippetoe Jun 17, 2013]
“It took a few years for the ‘only-5-out-of-state-scholarship-limit’ to take hold, but take hold it did. The UK scholarship limit began in 1953, following the 1951 UK Basketball scandal and lasted until football recruitment began for the class of Fall 1961. The limit was effective about 8 years total, 1953-1961.
“Blanton Collier was Fall Guy number one. The university has always seemed to get away with blaming the coaches.
“So for years, UK could get away with a failure to provide resources for the top athletic revenue provider as long as the fans didn’t complain too much.
At Kentucky, Collier was the last coach to leave with a winning record (41-36-3). His best record was in his first season (1954) when he finished 7-2. He was fired at the end of the 1961 season.
“Kentucky’s football program was overshadowed by its successful basketball program during Coach Collier’s Football tenure.
“Collier was also criticized for his poor recruiting skills.
“Several future star coaches served as assistants under Collier at Kentucky, including Don Shula, Chuck Knox, Howard Schnellenberger and Bill Arnsparger.
“It seems that no one wanted to remember the ‘5-out-of-state-scholarship-limit’ that carried over from Paul “Bear” Bryant’s regime.
The ‘Bear Bryant Curse’ was a curse placed on several UK head coaches to some degree by the University of Kentucky under then University of Kentucky President Herman Donovan’s watch, particularly basketball.
“ In 1974, Sports Illustrated had this to say in its People section about Collier: University of Kentucky football fans were unhappy with Coach Blanton Collier in 1959, and they wrote a lot of letters complaining and asking that he and his incompetent aides be gone. The staff was gone by 1961.”
“Of the eight coaches, exactly eight went on to success in pro football, five of them becoming NFL head coaches.
· Ed Rutledge, an NFL scout;
· Howie Schnellenberger, head coach at Baltimore;
· Ermal Allen, assistant coach at Dallas; Collier, who succeeded Paul Brown at Cleveland and won an NFL championship;
· Don Shula, of whom you may have heard;
· John North, head coach of New Orleans;
· Bob Cummings, his assistant;
· and Bill Arnsparger, who is taking over the New York Giants. Another Collier assistant,
· Chuck Knox, was on the staff in 1961 but not in 1959. He was just named Coach of the Year following his first season with the Los Angeles Rams.
Many had forgotten the recruiting restrictions placed on Bryant and Collier.
“Paul Brown hired Collier coached the Cleveland Browns, who guide the Browns to an NFL championship and the ‘glory years of Browns football. Collier retired in 1970
“Paul Bryant’s last team (1953) had 34 scholarship players on his final roster, according toFanbase.com. 21 of those were from Kentucky and 13 were out of state players.
“The attrition was slow. Collier’s third season (1956) still had 12 out of state players on the roster.
“Football in those days had fewer players on the rosters because most played on both offense and defense.
“In 1957 the UK football Wildcats finished 3-7. That’s when the rumbling from the fans began. Going into the Tennessee game, the Cats were 2-7. The Vols left Lexington with a 20-6 loss. That game probably lessened the complaining from the fans.
“1958 brought a 5-4-1 record for Collier, but the Wildcats beat Tennessee again in Knoxville 6-2.
“Beating Tennessee probably kept Blanton Collier’s job until the very end. In 1959, Collier finished 4-6, but managed to beat Tennessee again in Lexington 20-0.
“Another 5-4-1 season followed in 1960. Collier’s final season was 5-5.
UT beat the Cats 26-16. That was the end for Blanton Collier.
First, Schnellenberger believes you can win with Kentucky kids. With only 17 to 20 kids a year signing with Division I schools, that’s just not true. You can’t even reach the 85 scholarship limit over four years if all you sign are Kentucky kids.”
“In fact, in Kay Collier McLaughlin’s book, Blanton Collier wrote a letter to his AD stating that Kentucky doesn’t produce enough players to compete in the SEC, which can be read above in the Mark Story interview with Collier’s daughter.
“There is a hint about the recruiting restrictions in his letter. Blanton Collier was a great coach and it was a shame he had to work with one hand tied behind his back. He had some of the best NFL coaches in the business as assistants during his tenure.
“He started off well until the Bryant players graduated and the ‘5-out-of-state-scholarship-limit’ began to affect the roster talent.
“To accuse Coach Collier of not being able to recruit was a travesty.
“An article on the UK Coach Charlie Bradshaw years is in the works. It is perhaps the darkest tale of all in UK football history. [Kentucky Football: The Blanton Collier Years (Part One and Two) 1954 -1961 By Hank Rippetoe Jun 17, 2013]
Bradshaw and his brutal, abusive commando style ‘assistants’ single handily reduced our UK 1961 freshmen football squad from January 1, 1962, the beginning of indoor ‘workouts’, to the first Fall game September 1962 from 48 to 13 Athletes, and reduced the entire team from 88 to 30 Football Athletes, according to UK football program.
Bradshaw was UK head football Coach for 7 seasons between 1962 to 1969.
The ‘only-5-out-of-state-scholarship-limit’, applied to the entire athletic program following the 1951 UK basketball ‘point shaving scandal’ was in effect about 8 years total, 1953-1961.
Consequently, UK football’s reputation, recruiting and winning record were negatively impacted for ~16 consecutive years, from 1953 until 1969, during the beginning of the Modern Era of College Football, following:
- the dominance over UK football by the UK basketball Coach Adolph Rupp, who was head UK basketball Coach from 1930 to 1972 winning 876 and loosing 190 (82.2%)
- the departure of UK football Coach Bear Bryant to Texas A&M in 1953
- the hindered recruiting of football Coach Blanton Collier by NCAA sanction of ‘only-5-out-of-state-scholarship-limit’ from 1953 to 1961
- and the brutal, abusive commando style football tragedy of Coach Charlie Bradshaw for 7 seasons 1962 to 1969
It takes a long time for a College or University Football Program to recover, if ever they can recover, from such consecutive casualties.
This journalist, advocate prefers his conclusion that the Modern Era of College Football is the 1960’s, when two-platoon football began by LSU Coach Paul Dietzel, whose defensive team was termed “the Chinese Bandits” and The TV Era is the 1980’s, more wide-open, complicated offenses evolved and TV exposure exploded.
A poll conducted by SBNation asked, “When did the Modern Era of College football Begin?” Results were 65% for the 1960’s, when two-platoon football began and 22% for the 1980’s, when more wide-open, complicated offenses evolved and TV exposure exploded [Just What is the Modern Era of College Football? by Husker Mike Aug 29, 2012, SBNation]
“Cleveland Browns fans remember Collier’s tenure as a ‘Golden Age of Browns football’. The team was not shut out in any game, and Cleveland Stadium sold out for almost every game played during Collier’s stint in Cleveland.” [Football’s Gentle Giant: the Blanton Collier Story, the biography of her father , Coach Blanton Collier. by Dr. Kay Collier McLaughlin ] [Wikijpedia.]
Our 1961 University of Kentucky Fall football class committed to Coach Blanton Collier and his staff and had no idea that Coach Collier was on the ‘hot seat’ and there had been in effect ‘5-out-of-state-scholarship-limit’. 1961 was in the ‘old days’ of college football. Nowadays, in the electronic era, everyone would instantaneously know as soon as the ‘word hit the fan’.
Our 1961 class was the 1st year the ‘5-out-of-state-scholarship-limit’ was terminated. Our class was about 48 football athletes, said to have included many High School All-State, 8 High School All-America and many out of state recruits. Ours was a very talented football class.
“At the time of Coach Collier’s termination our UK team was poised for greatness and prepared to make a run at the SEC Championship in 1962. We were very deep at each position before the annihilation and total destruction of our team by the UK administration and Bradshaw. Their decisions, destroyed that possibility, ruined our team and our chances for success. Bradshaw rank amateur who had no previous experience as a head football coach.
Bradshaw and some of his assistants were coach abusers who practiced verbal harassment, physical assault, and manipulation. We players were handed off to a tyrant. Bradshaw and some of his assistants were Bully-Boys who did not fully understand the art of coaching football. They did not possess the knowledge of winning coaches. Not included in that group were the coaches, who were left over from Coach Collier, who were desperately seeking other coaching employment. They moved on as soon as possible. Most of the players (30 out of 88 players began the 1962 season) were forced to leave the UK football program because of the horrific conditions.
Leaving a corrupt football program was not quitting for us. Leaving was a form of self preservation enabling us to play at the next level, LIFE. Remaining with that corrupt football program was not believing in Bradshaw and his system. Remaining was the only choice for some teammates. They had no way out. Some of the former assistants of Coach Collier experienced the same condition. They had no other job. They did not buy into the system either.
Unethical, dishonest, immoral behavior should not be tolerated for the sake of winning. Bradshaw’s record reveals that he only won 38.6% of his games during his brief 7 season tenure as head coach at UK.
He and some of his assistants obviously did not know what they were doing. After UK he did not move on to greatness, like Coach Collier.
Some experts estimate that Bradshaw and the administration set the UK football program back 10 years. The Bradshaw Era was a UK football tragedy. We UK football players did not celebrate a Golden Age after the recklessness. Not only were we players, who left the program, robbed of our football careers, we were forced to give up our Grant-in Aide Scholarships that would pay our tuition, room , board, and books during our college educations. Because of their misrepresentations, we were fraudulently forced to sign illegal waivers giving up our scholarships. I paid all my way through med school at UK after I left the Bradshaw program. We players signed Grant-in Aide Scholarships to play football at UK under Coach Collier and his able assistants.
We invested our football careers, education and lives with UK. Because of the administration’s decision to make a coaching change we received no return on our investment with UK. Instead we players were subjected to severe mistreatments and crimes.
Grim, commando, win at all costs football that is coached by Bully Boys, who severely mistreat their players, has no place in football on any level. Bear Bryant had the decency to apologize to the Junction Boys for his mistreatments of them at Texas A&M. The admiinistration and Bradshaw never apologized for Bradshaw’s Bully Boy mistreatments, NCAA violations and crimes against our UK football players and team.
The 1961 Fall season, the SEC did not allow freshmen to participate in varsity football. Each SEC team had freshmen teams with their own football schedule.
The Lexington Herald Leader newspaper reported, “Shining most brightly among the UK freshmen yearling stars were Mike Minix, Bill Jenkins, Dale Lindsey, Phil Branson, Claude Hoffmeyer and Phil Pickett.
“Minix the Paintsville High School All-State halfback was switched to quarterback and paced the frosh in total offense, passing, punting and interceptions.”….
“He established himself as a fine T-quarterback option runner” under Coach Collier. The trend in that era was an option running QB, who could pass and punt. 6.
“The Missile” was captain of the 1961 Freshman Team and President of freshman football Lodge. He had a 3.1 over all in Pre-Med his first semester under Coach Blanton Collier and a 3.3 the second semester and always on the 110% indoor workout and Spring Practice list, except for 2 injury days, under Charlie Bradshaw. He was doing what both coaches and UK pre-med academics required.
“Mike worked hard at both his pre-med studies and football. Because of his switch to QB, he remained after most regulation practices in 1961 and individually worked on QB techniques with both Coach Leaman Bennett and Coach Collier. Bennett, a native of Paducah, Kentucky, was an assistant under Collier and then joined Bradshaw, when Collier was fired. Bennett graduated from the University of Kentucky and later became head coach of the Atlanta Falcons and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. 7. [6. [Minix Paced UK Freshmen in Offense for Season, Lexington Herald Leader, Nov 16, 1961] [7. [Pro-Football Reference.com]
During the 1961 Fall season, the SEC did not allow freshmen to participate in varsity football games. Each SEC team had freshmen teams with their own football schedule.
During the information gathering period prior to the June 14, 2008 University of Kentucky 1961 Football Class Reunion, teammates remarked about the lack of preparation for our own schedule of games our team had prior to each UK freshman football game.
The 3 UK Freshmen Football games were disappointing.
The varsity team was short handed, due to recruiting restrictions, as explained above, and the varsity needed our excellent freshmen players to scrimmage and practice against.
Kentucky Freshmen Game vs Tennessee [THE KENTUCKY KERNEL, Thursday, Nov. 6, 1961 By Girl Modecki L. i]
“”>The uniforms were the same; the game was the same; only the names were different.
The Tennessee Freshmen wore their orange and white uniforms and Kentucky was in white. ‘
The game must have been the same, because it seemed every time Kentucky had the ball and the scoreboard read “3 DOWN” there was a player dropping back to punt.
We kept looking for Blanton Collier, but couldn’t find him. We are sure he would have enjoyed seeing the freshmen punt on third down three times in the first half.
Several frosh for both teams stood out in Fridays game, we must give our nod to Jimmy Sullivan of the Vols as the most outstanding player. 180 pounder from Signal Mountain, ‘Sullivan is a Tenn. Sullivan runs out of the fullback slot in the Tennessee Single wing. Don’t be surpiised when he crops up on the team in a year or two. but all-SL-
Other standouts were UK freshman Mike Minix and Crosby Bright.
The football coaching staff of Tennessee did an extensive re cruitlng job last fall. Of the 50 members on the Baby Vol traveling squad only 24 come from Tennessee. [Image 6 of The Kentucky Kernel, November 16, 1961]””<
The Score of UT Freshmen vs UK cannot be found to date. Research will continue.
‘Kentucky Football Frosh Defeat Cincinnati 20 -15 ‘ by Joe Lybik, University of Cincinnati news, Oct 26, 1961Series BF 1 Z552. Vol. XLVII, No.5·
“”>The Bearkittens of Cincinnati tried’ to make it’ two ,straight Friday afternoon against the University of Kentucky, but the squad from’ Lexington proved too much, The final score was Kentucky20 Cin 15.
The Bearkittens struck first and, with surprising speed’, They took the opening kickoff, on their 37 and marched 63 yards in six plays for the touchdown. Chuck Grigas scored the TO’ by running 30..yards off ‘his Ieft tackle, a power play and high-stepping into the end zone. Tom Soliolewski ‘kicked the extra point and the score was 7-0. .
After an exchange, of. punts, Kenfucky took ,over the ball on the 44-yard litle of UC. Phill Pickett set up the, series, with his 3!- yard punt return. After two running plays Mike’ Minix’ found .Claude Hoffmeyer wide open in, the left flat.”
Hoffmeyer took Minix’s pass and raced’ for the end zone untouched. Charles Young kicked the PAT and the score was tied 7-7.
In the second quarter KY took advantage of a Baearkitten fumble on their 24 and moved the ball to the five. A delay of game penalty put the ball on at the 10 and Minix, running the pass option, hit Phil Pickett in the end zone. Young kicked the PAT At the half the score was 14-7.
In the third quarter Errol Prisby took a pitch-out and ran 10 yeards int the end zone for the last score. . Fuller ran the extroa point and Cincy led 15-14.
A blocked Cincy punt set up the (continued on page 15)
Kentucky had a managed to move the bvall against the right defensive side of Cincy all during the game. So with this opportunity and the ball on the 16 of the Bearkittens, they ground out the last score with Phil Branson hitting that weakened side for the final five yards and the TD.
Cincy had a chance to strike back when nom Soboiewski recovered a KY fumble on the 38 of Cincy. Cincy took to the air but Minix intercepted a Don Thomas Pass, thus shutting the door against the Bearkittens. <“”
[The Courier-Journal from Louisville, Kentucky · Page 20
UK Football Freshmen vs Vanderbilt 1961. “This year’s UK freshmen football team suffered a 7-0 loss to Vanderbilt’s Freshmen Commodores.”
U. K. Frosh Lose 7-0 To Vandv Nashville, Tenn., Sept. 29 .
“Quarterback Jerry Shuford passed Vanderbilt’s freshmen to a 7-0 upset victory over the Kentucky freshmen here Friday. It was the first football triumph by Commodore frosh in three years.
“Shuford, a poised 200-pounder from Chattanooga, hit end Rich Hudson of Chamblee, Ga., with an 11-yard scoring toss in the third quarter after Vanderbilt defenses had kept the Wildcats bottled in their own territory throughout the first half.
“Vanderbilt had not won a freshman football game since j a 6-0 decision over Tennessee in 1958. Shuford hit four of 13 passes for 73 yards and threw two long home run pitches which 1 narrowly missed their intended ! receivers.
“The Commodores piled up 13 first downs to Kentucky’s 9 ; and 245 yards total offense 104 passing to 188 total by the Wildcats. Vanderbilt V passing yardage included 31 contributed by a Kentucky native, Dave Malonc of Maytieltl, who completed two of five attempts.
“Kentucky managed only 30 yards rushing the first half, but warmed up after intermission to drive for 128 on the ground. Quarterback Mike Minix of Paintsvillc. Ky., proved the ‘Wildcats’ leading hall carrier with 37 yards in 11 attempts.
Vanderbilt 0 0 7 07 Kentucky 0 0 0 o 0