By LARRY VAUGHT
Paintsville’s John Pelphrey was one of “The Unforgettables” at Kentucky that lost that memorable 1992 NCAA Tournament game to Duke on Christian Laettner’s buzzer-beating shot in overtime in 1992 that propelled the Blue Devils to the national title and denied coach Rick Pitino and his Cats a chance to win a championship. Now Pelphrey is back at Florida as an assistant coach to Billy Donovan after a stint as a head coach. The Gators won the Southeastern Conference regular-season title and beat LSU here Friday to advance to the SEC tourney semifinals.
Pelphrey shared a few UK memories based on questions UK fans submitted for him on Twitter.
Question: Do you dread or enjoy coming back to Rupp Arena as a coach of an opposing team?
Pelphrey: “I would say it is a different feeling. Obviously, it is a very difficult place to play, but a lot of memories come flooding back to me when we get to the parking lot and are walking into the arena. It is probably for me just a real unique experience. Most of the time when you walk into an arena, you are very focused on what is going on but I do have some stuff that goes on with me. I did play there for five years.”
Question: Have you been around a better Rupp Arena crowd than the one to end the season when UK upset Florida?
Pelphrey: “It was awesome. It really was. I think a lot of times it is a different perspective when you are sitting over there and playing on the other side. I probably am not the best guy to judge on that because you miss a lot as somebody in the battle. But it was a great crowd. Nod doubt about that.”
Question: Do you want to be a head coach again?
Pelphrey: “I am enjoying what I am doing, but I have aspirations certainly of being a head coach again. There is a lot I like. I am still passionate about the game and having relationships with young people and enjoying the challenges.”
Question: Will you ever be back living or coaching in Kentucky?
Pelphrey: “I don’t know. I don’t have a crystal ball.”
Question: Do you still consider yourself a Wildcat?
Pelphrey: “Absolutely. That will never change.”
Question: Do you still think about that NCAA game with Duke, especially each March?
Pelphrey: “It shows up enough (on TV) to where I see enough to where you get reminded about it. And I have a lot of responsibilities to take care. I have a family and job, so it doesn’t bother me to the point that it used to.”
Question: Do you miss Paintsville?
Pelphrey: “It is always going to be home. Will always miss is.”
Question: How is your golf game?
Pelphrey: “Not bad. I haven’t played a whole lot. I did get a chance to go Pebble Beach last August and I fired a little 79. So that’s not bad.”