Share your thoughts/memories on Oscar Combs

By LARRY VAUGHT

If you are a Kentucky basketball or football fan, you know Oscar Combs. How could you not?

After 40 years as an integral part of the UK football and basketball scene and 20 years on the UK Radio Network pregame show, Combs announced Thursday that he was stepping down from his role on the radio network. He joined about the same time he sold The Cats’ Pause, a weekly magazine on UK sports he started in 1976.

It’s hard to imagine  how many UK athletes he has written or talked about since 1976. Certainly anyone who has coached at UK from 1976 until now has drawn attention from Combs.

As a way to honor him, take time to post your thoughts and/or memories about Big O here and then I will make sure to share them.

He’s a special guy and UK fan, but the one thing I admired is that he never sugar-coated anything when it came to UK athletics. If UK was wrong or needed a scolding, Combs said so. But if someone like a Dan Dakich tried to bully UK fans or players, Combs was there leading the charge to defend the player or fans.

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  1. I remember I worked at a printing plant in Elizabethtown that printed The Cats Pause.
    One particular time I had to deliver them all over Lexington. I saw Oscar at The Cats Pause office. He invited me back to his desk and we talked at length about all things Kentucky.
    I left his office thinking what a great guy. Now most everyone in Kentucky can tell you their favorite stories about Big Blue, but Oscar invited this sweaty young guy to talk UK sports with.
    That was over 25 years ago but I will always remember that.

    I rank him up there with Cawood Ledford in being great ambassadors to UK.

    1. What a great comparison!!! Oscar has been a great ambassador and deserves to mentioned in the same breath with Cawood. I feel sorry for the young fans who are growing up without ever hearing a game described in the way that only Cawood could. In the same way, we will miss having Oscar giving us the scoop and information in our pregame broadcasts.

    2. What we need to do is have a Mt. Rushmore of UK ambassadors. My nominations for it would be Cawood Ledford, Oscar Combs, BIll Keightly, and Joe B. Hall in no particular order.

      1. I wouldn’t put Joe B on this Mt. Rushmore, he belongs in anther category.
        I agree with Bill Kieghttly, the fourth person would be a tough pick. Absolutely not Matt Jones even though KSR is a great outlet/source for many UK fans.
        My pick for the fourth would be Larry Vaught. He brings angles that other media do not.
        The UK Ambassador Mt Rushmore would be Cawood, Oscar, Mr K, and Larry.

        1. My pick for fourth would be Claude Sullivan, but Larry V is fine with me too. I agree John, Joe B. belongs in another category.

          1. Great thoughts on Oscar, but he’s in class by himself like Cawood and Mr. Wildcat.
            I love all these memories

  2. I ave known Oscar since 1976 as a former UK Basketball Manager he was always around and a pleasant guy to talk to.In 1986 when UK went to Hawaii he and Donna were on thebus leaving the Honolulu Arena and his little Daughter Amy fell asleep on my lap.She is all grown up now.
    I wish only the best for Oscar He is a Gentleman and a true legend in UK sports.His efforts will never be forgotten.Godspeed to him

  3. Oscar the great. It will not seem right without him. I wish him and his family the very best.

  4. Well wishes to Oscar, he’ll be miss not hearing his insight on the cats.!!!

  5. Oscar started a tradition that set the state on fire for many years. Ask any mailman what it was like when The Cat’s Pause didn’t show up exactly on time. People would be waiting at the mailbox for their next copy. It was amazing how much dedication he built so fast. By 1980 every UK fan in the state knew about his magazine and a whole lot of them were dedicated subscribers. It was as amazing as anything I’ve ever seen in the media. He was the first to give UK fans year round coverage of recruiting and all the things we talk about in the off season. The people you see on pages like Larry’s in the summer months can almost be traced directly back to Oscar. It’s not like there was no coverage before but it was spotty at best and relied on media outlets that weren’t always UK supporters. Oscar changed all that in a big way and he reaped tremendous respect and adoration for his efforts. Oscar was truly one of a kind. I won’t say he built the BBN but he expanded it in ways. He gave the UK crazy fans exactly what they wanted and they loved him for it.

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