Vaught’s note: My younger cousin, David White of Shelbyville, says reading my list of my top 10 UK basketball memories in a story I wrote for Cameron Mills at http://cameronmillsradio.com brought back a Joe B. Hall memory for him. Enjoy his story and maybe he will take a little lingering sting out of Tuesday’s loss at Tennessee.
By DAVID WHITE
In early 1981 I was a senior at Shelby County High School and Coach Hall came to a Shelby County basketball game I think to scout a kid from Bryan Station.
Back then, cable TV was literally in it’s infancy. Only one subdivision in Shelbyville had cable TV and the guy who owned the company used to “broadcast” the home games on the local access channel the next day. He was the producer, director, camera operator, and about everything else for those games. He was strapped for help and somehow myself and two other fellow seniors ended “working” the games. One guy did play-by-play, one did color, and I was off camera doing the stats.
We knew Coach Hall was at the game that night, and someone asked if he would agree to an interview after the game. To our surprise, he said “sure.” That triggered a substantial amount of panic for our “crew.” The owner/camera guy started shaking even before Joe arrived. The play-by-play guy said he couldn’t do the interview because he was a huge U of L fan. The color guy just turned pale and froze up. So I said, ‘Heck, I’ll do it.
By the time the game was over and Joe B. made his way up into the rafters where we were set up, I was ready — microphone in hand, earphones on. Joe shook hands with everyone and we thanked him for sharing his time with us and staying late to talk to us. He sat down and I started the interview.
I asked about the team that year, the upcoming game, and especially about fellow Shelby County Rocket Charles Hurt who was on the 1980/81 team. I hadn’t noticed the owner/producer/director/camera guy trying to get my attention. Finally he just interrupted and stepped in and said, “You forgot to turn your mic on. We didn’t get anything!”
I was mortified. Here is the KENTUCKY BASKETBALL COACH sitting beside me and we both now realized I had just wasted his time. I felt like I was going to barf. I guess I just sat there looking stupid for a couple of seconds.
Then Joe leaned over and patted me on the back and said, “That’s okay kid — Cawood (Ledford) does that all the time.”
Wow. What a perfect thing to say to a Kentucky kid that used to keep stats by listening to Cawood. I turned the mic on, asked the same questions and Joe smiled and answered each one again. I’ll never forget his patience and kindness that night.
What a class gentleman he has always been.