By LARRY VAUGHT
Former Miss Kentucky USA Maria Montgomery of Danville will join Tim Estes and myself on WPBK (102.9 FM) Thursday from 7:30-8 a.m. to talk about her new job as on-court host for festivities at Rupp Arena during Kentucky men’s basketball games.
Montgomery and and former UK player Ravi Moss will be at every UK home basketball game this year interacting with fans, conducting prize contests and relaying useful information to add to the Rupp Arena experience.
“With the new big screen at midcourt, they (UK officials) just wanted more excitement, more involvement with the crowd during timeouts and things to make it like a NBA or hockey game. There will be some interviews, but mainly just fan interaction,” said Montgomery, who now works primarily as a model.
“We actually sat on the bench for Madness. It was so funny because for a little bit of the scrimmage I was right behind coach Cal. Never in a million years did I think that would ever happen. All Kentucky idolizes these people and I was right behind them and then John Wall came up. It was just so unexpected.”
She’s done some TV work, but would welcome the opportunity to do more and hopes this might be a start toward that. She’s been in music videos with Tim McGraw and Josh Groban, worked as a Kentucky Derby Red Carpet interview host, did a TV commercial for the University of Alabama and been in numerous other TV commercials. One of her judges at the Miss USA pageant was CBS-TV reporter Allie LaForce, Miss Teen USA in 2005.
Montgomery and Moss have worked together at UK’s two exhibition game and will be back on the court Friday night when UK opens regular-season play against Stephen F. Austin.
“I was raised a UK fan and to do this is so special,” she said. “This is one of my favorite jobs ever.”
She does have one fantasy about this season.
“I would be pretty excited if coach Cal knew my name by the time the year ended,” she said. “I met him at the Kentucky Derby when it was his first year coaching at UK and my year as Miss Kentucky. It would be so great to just think he knew who I was.”
Montgomery will also join me on The Leach Report on WLAP (630 AM) when I host that show from 9-10 a.m. on Nov. 15 for Tom Leach while he is in New York getting ready for the UK-Michigan State game.
On Thursday night from 6-7 at Mallard’s on the Danville Bypass I will be joined by former UK center David Hopewell and Estes, a former head coach at Lincoln County, to discuss UK football on Cat Calls, our weekly show during the football season.
We’ll talk about the narrow loss to Georgia, the upcoming game Saturday at Tennessee and what possible bowl projections for the Cats could be.