Turnovers … by Alan B. Gibson

Posted June 7, 2018 at 10:59 am

UK 1951 team 1.psd

Summer means it time for camp – football camp is first

Spring was short and summer came in with some nice heat, so maybe the lack of any spring weather will just mean a longer summer run this time – we can only hope.

With the arrival of summer – at least summer vacation for our students, comes the start of the summer camp season.

The first on your radar should be the youth football day camp slated for this Saturday.

The camp will be held Saturday, June 9, at the Clinton County High School football field and gets underway at 8:00 a.m. and will last until 1:00 p.m.

It’s for students who will be in grades 1-8 and the camp cost is $30. Applications can be turned in the day of camp and more information may be learned by contacting Judith Dyer at 688-2494.

Kentucky lost a sport legend with C.M Newton’s death

Although it wasn’t unexpected news with recent reports of his failing health in the past couple of weeks, news on Monday that Kentucky sports legend C.M. Newton had passed away at age 88, was still saddening news for most Kentucky and UK sports fans older than 40.

His list of accomplishments was long and storied, but for the most part he was best known for his involvement in sports within the UK world – at least around here.

He had served as head coach at Lexington’s Transylvania, as well as the SEC’s Alabama and Vandy, won more than 500 games and was named coach of the year several times.

But it was his connection with UK – first as a player on the hardwood as well as on the baseball diamond, then later as the school’s Athletic Director, that fans in Kentucky knew him.

I had a handful of interactions with the man, and they all ended positively.

There was a Clinton County connection with Newton that everyone wasn’t aware of – he and long-time Clinton County High School basketball coach Lindle Castle were teammates at UK and both were on the 1951 NCAA Championship team and remained steadfast friends throughout their adult lives.

My first contact with Newton was during his Athletic Director stint with UK, when I was charged with inviting him to a “roast” honoring Coach Castle that some of his former players were planning.

A phone call to his office and an explanation to his secretary of my request resulted in a return call from the legend a couple of days later in which he first accused me of lying to his secretary about the purpose of my call.

It wasn’t until a few seconds later that I realized his accusation was a joke on his part, when he followed up the “you’re lying to me, right”, with the comment “I can’t believe that many of you think enough of the old SOB to want to do something nice for him” he followed with a cackling laugh.

He ended the call by telling me how much he thought of “Lindle” and to convey those thoughts, but his obligation at the SEC meeting that same night would prevent him from coming.

My most memorable interaction with Newton came after that while he was still Athletic Director at UK, when he answered a Turnovers column in 1997 in which I offered up an application to become the head coach for the Wildcats after the resignation of Rick Pitino.

In a letter from Newton that I still treasure, he explained that he felt Tubby Smith was the man for the job, but he would keep my application letter on file.

I later learned through news reports when Thurman Jerome Hamlin filed suit against UK for turning his application down for “age discrimination”, that Hamlin and I had been the only two people to have submitted applications for the job.

I last ran into Newton a few years ago when I was covering the reunion of the 1972 Olympic team in Georgetown that included Wayne County native Kenny Davis.

He remembered my application column, let out that famous cackling laugh, and then quickly asked me about his “dear old friend” Lindle Castle.

After a brief exchange, he instructed me to be sure to send his well wishes home to my former coach, and we parted with a handshake.

Yes, Kentucky lost a sports legend with Monday’s passing of C.M. Newton, but what I will remember most about him is that he was a genuine man who always had time for a chat – and a laugh.

Al's CM Newton Letter.psd

The 1951 University of Kentucky NCAA Championship team with Lindle Castle (front row) and C.M. Newton (second row).