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By LARRY VAUGHT
He played in 124 games at Kentucky and shot a remarkable 59.3 percent from the field, the best mark ever at the time at UK when his playing career ended in 1983.
However, even though he scored 786 points, grabbed 496 rebounds and had 104 assists playing for coach Joe B. Hall, Charles Hurt has never been back to a game in Rupp Arena since leaving UK.
“Kentucky basketball was a big part of my life, but that was years ago. I eventually hope to go back, but that is just the way it has worked out,” said Hurt. “You get a family, and that becomes a priority. I remember all the guys and that’s great, but I just moved on. When I left there I left with a smile on my face and a thank you in my heart, but I’ve just never been back.
“I think most every time I was in Kentucky it was probably during the offseason. I still follow them as much as I can. I know when I was deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan, we got the feeds of some UK games and I would have my blue on supporting the Cats. I know some players may not come back for a particular reason, but I have no reason. I love UK. They gave me more in my four years than I ever gave them. I love the University of Kentucky. Always have, always will.”
Hurt, a Shelby County native now living in Louisville, enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1987 and became a career military man. He lived in Germany, Kuwait and Korea during his tour and became an information systems chief.
Hurt, 51, is now retired and ready to embark on a new career as an assistant basketball coach at Shelby County under first-year coach Jeff Couch.
“They approached me and I had thought about something like this for quite a while. The timing was never right when I was approached before. But now it is. My daughter is a senior in high school, I am back in Kentucky and it seemed like a good way to give back. Basically, it’s where I got my start and that community was great to me,” he said.
Next: Hurt’s salary will not be what the normal coach might expect.