By LARRY VAUGHT
After Kentucky finished the 1976 football season with a 21-0 win over North Carolina in the Peach Bowl to complete an 8-4 season, linebacker Jim Kovach never thought that would go down as one of the best seasons ever for UK.
He missed the 1977 season with an injury when UK went 10-1 before finishing his collegiate career in 1978 when UK dipped to 4-6-1.
Kovach admits he never thought the 1976-77 seasons would be the banner years for UK football 40 years later.
“I think we had a couple of recruiting classes that were pretty special. We had a tough year my sophomore year, 2-8-1, and then we got it going,” Kovach said. “I think it is a part of the awesomeness of the SEC and that is something even when I was playing and now looking back at how awesome the SEC has been for the last 40 years and it is very hard to do what we are trying to do.
“It is just the reality of life. I think it is all about talent and coaching technique, but you have got to get talent in and I am looking forward to this year for Kentucky. I think they are getting the talent it takes to win consistently.”
He stays in touch with some teammates from his years at UK under coach Fran Curci. He says the coaches and others have developed Curci’s Cats to help the former teammates stay in touch with each other.
“We have huge email string to stay in touch and come back (to UK) in amazing numbers, especially on periodic visits. This is the 40th anniversary of the Peach Bowl, so a lot of us are going to be coming back this October,” Kovach, who also had a successful NFL career, said.
“That is the thing about playing like that. You can be gone for two, three or four years and see someone and it is just like you never left. That is a special thing about this particular group.”