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February 6, 2013

Legendary Coach Schnellenberger Thinks Kentucky has Opportunity to be as Good as Alabama, Ohio State

by Sam Ranard

In an interview featured on Courts & Sports, John and I spoke with legendary football coach, Howard Schnellenberger.

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Coach Schnellenberger has an impressive resume which includes head coaching positions with Oklahoma, Louisville, Miami (where he won a national championship), and the Baltimore Colts. He was also on the coaching staff of the undefeated 1972 Miami Dolphins.

Oh, and remember that guy Joe Namath? Schnellenberger recruited him while working as an assistant coach under Bear Bryant. Needless to say, Coach Schnellenberger is one of the greatest football minds to ever live. Which is why you may find it interesting that Schnellenberger believes that the University of Kentucky football program has (almost) everything it needs to compete with powerhouses like Alabama, Notre Dame, and OSU.

The interview took place in November, in the height of the UK coaching search. John asked Schnellenberger, “If the University of Kentucky comes calling are you going to get back into coaching?” Schnellenberger replied, “No. I don’t think so but I’ll try to give them all of the help I can give them.” It certainly couldn’t hurt UK’s chances with a little help from Schnelleberger.

“There are as many assets there (Kentucky) as there are in Alabama or Notre Dame or Ohio State or anywhere.” Schnellenberger said. “And to Figure out what they are doing wrong. Become optimistic about who they are and what they can do…. And it wouldn’t be long before they could go back to the glory years of Kentucky when (Bear) Bryant was there… Bryant had it going at Kentucky in probably worse conditions than there are now. It can be done, it’s just a matter of people. Facilities don’t make the difference, climate doesn’t make the difference, conference doesn’t make the difference, people make the difference.”

I was in shock. As a Kentucky fan, I have not heard that optimistic of an outlook on Kentucky football since Woodson was hitting Jacob Tamme on outs and Stevie Johnson deep. As I told Schnellenberger that it has been a long while since Kentucky and Alabama were compared to one another not as the best and the worst, but as potential equivalents, Schnellenberger cut me off with an emphatic, “Why not? Why not? Why not!”

So college football fans, what do you think? Will Kentucky ever be as good of a program as Alabama? In 5 years? 15 years? Ever?

Check out the interview here (The Coach Schnellenberger interview comes on in the last third of the show)

Read more from Laugh., Learn.

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