Catching up with Kentucky football Hall of Famers

June 29, 2013

Leftovers from Friday’s Kentucky Pro Football Hall of Fame and the four living inductees …

CHAD BRATZKE (Eastern Kentucky University) said a highlight of his week was sharing memories with his extended football family. Such as?

“Coach (Jack) Harbaugh,” Bratzke said. “So, Western Kentucky-Eastern Kentucky. Big rivalry. We’re playing, I think it was a Thursday night game, and I made a good play. The quarterback scrambled, I ran him down from behind and I hit him out right at the sidelines. I mean, I really clobbered him. And before I even got a chance to pick myself up, Coach Harbaugh grabbed me and yanked me off his quarterback, and he smacked me on the rear and said, ‘son, that was a heck of a play.’ You don’t remember everything in life, but certain moments – I’ll never forget that. That meant a lot to me.

“I told him the story, and he smiled and he listened to it. And he said, ‘you know what? I know because I’ve told everybody that story and I used to use that all the time in speeches and talks, about determination.’ It’s kind of neat that he remembered that, too.”

IRV GOODE (Boone County, University of Kentucky) was dazzled by his company earlier in the day: “It was amazing today, riding to the golf course. I was riding with (Howard) Schnellenberger and Babe (Parilli), and they were talking football. It was unbelievable. It was like a fantasy land. Two of the great people in sports.”

OTIS WILSON (University of Louisville) was dazzled by his new bling, and the weekend overall: “The ring is cool. The cause that’s attached to it, that’s great – spinal cord injury. Seeing guys that you played with and guys around the league, you hang out, play golf and tell stories. That’s really what it’s all about, to give back to the old guys. And really have UK and U of L come together. Normally, that’s not the case. It’s always ‘I’m from U of L.’ They say that ‘other thing’ over there. But this is a great moment.”

ROMAN OBEN (U of L) talked about the program at his alma mater: “I’d been told by NFL scouts two years ago that they’re really a year ahead. I think what Charlie Strong has done is tremendous. But now you’ve created a position where 9-2, 8-3 is a bad season. So the expectations have been raised a little bit higher as well. Which is all good, and that’s why he’s here. But again, you turn down a job like Tennessee, he wants to be here. And you’re seeing high school kids on these selection shows where they off their hat, put on a U of L hat, turning down Floridas and Oklahomas. That’s when you know the football program’s headed in the right direction.”


Kentucky Pro Football Hall of Fame adds 5

February 1, 2013

The Kentucky Pro Football Hall of Fame announced the names of
this year’s five inductees Friday during a press conference at the Brown Hotel in Louisville.

The five are Irv Goode, Coy Bacon, Otis Wilson, Chad Bratzke and Roman Oben.

In addition, the Kentucky Hall plans a new approach to the induction activities on Friday, June 28. Included will be a ring ceremony, Game Day Live Preview at Fourth Street Live – a free, public event on June 27 that will offer a taste of Game Day Spectacular, the official induction ceremony for this year’s honorees, to be held at the Louisville Palace. The induction ceremony will also feature a presentation of the Blanton Collier Award to brother/head coaches John (Baltimore Ravens) and Jim (San Francisco 49ers) Harbaugh, and their father Jack.

Tickets for the ceremony will cost $25, $50 and $75 and will be available online at a future date.

The Kentucky Spinal Cord Injury Research Center at the University of Louisville was chosen as this year’s beneficiary. Over the years, numerous football players have sustained spine and brain injuries, making the choice of the organization a natural fit as well as a personal one, according to Frank Minnifield, executive director of the Kentucky Pro Football Hall of Fame.

This year, Kentucky Pro Football Hall of Fame member George McAfee will also be honored during the Game Day Spectacular induction ceremony. McAfee was born in Corbin and played college football at Duke. He played running back for the Chicago Bears (1940-1941, 1945-1950). Nicknamed “One-Play McAfee” he was known for explosive speed.  He died in 2009.

Louisville head football coach Charlie Strong and Kentucky counterpart Mark Stoops will serve as event co-chairs.

Also, the 2012 All Commonwealth Collegiate Team was announced at the press conference, including Defensive Player of the Year Zack Autenrieb, and Offensive Players of the Year Teddy Bridgewater of Louisville, and Larry Warford of Kentucky.

The 2013 inductees to the Kentucky Pro Football Hall of Fame:

Irv Goode
Goode was born in Newport and played college football for Kentucky. Drafted into the NFL in the first round in 1962, he played guard for the St. Louis Cardinals (1962-1971), Buffalo Bills (1972) and the Miami Dolphins (1973-1974). He was a Super Bowl champion with the Dolphins in 1973.

Lander McCoy (Coy) Bacon
Bacon was born in Cadiz and played defensive line at Jackson State. Drafted into the NFL in 1968, he played for the Los Angeles Rams (1968-1975), San Diego Chargers (1973-1975), Cincinnati Bengals (1976-1977), Washington Redskins (1978-1981) and the USFL’s Washington Federals (1983). He was selected for the Pro Bowl in 1972, 1976 and 1977.  Bacon was inducted into the American Football Association’s Semi Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1986. He is being inducted into the Kentucky Pro Football Hall of Fame posthumously.

Otis Wilson
Wilson played linebacker for Louisville after transferring from Syracuse. He was drafted in the first round of the 1980 NFL draft and played for the Chicago Bears (1980-1987) and Los Angeles Raiders (1989). He won a Super Bowl as a member of the 1985 Bears. That same year, he made the only Pro Bowl selection of his career, and was a featured soloist of the “Shuffling Crew” in the Bears video “The Super Bowl Shuffle.” He is the father of former Cincinnati Bengals running back Quincy Wilson. Otis Wilson was born in Brooklyn, N.Y.

Chad Bratzke  
Bratzke played for Eastern Kentucky University. He was named Ohio Valley Conference Defensive Player of the Year and Kodak All-American.  Selected in the fifth round of the 1994 draft, he played 10 seasons in the NFL, five for the New York Giants (1994-1998) and five for the Indianapolis Colts (1999-2003). He signed as unrestricted free agent for the Giants on March 1, 1999. He was born in Waukegan, Ill.

Roman Dissake Oben
Oben played offensive tackle for Louisville, and was also a three-year letterman in track and field. He was picked in the third round of the 1996 NFL draft, and played for the New York Giants (1996-1999). He went on to play for the Cleveland Browns (2000-2003), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2002-2003) and San Diego Chargers (2004-2007). He was the starting left tackle on Tampa Bay’s 2002 Super Bowl  champion team. Oben has been inducted to the Athletic Hall of Fames at Gonzaga College High School, Fork Union Military Academy and the University of Louisville.