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By LARRY VAUGHT
Kentucky offensive coordinator Neal Brown grew up a Kentucky basketball fan and even went to the Final Four in Houston in 2011 when he was coaching at Texas Tech and UK lost to Connecticut. He says UK coach John Calipari has been a big asset for football.
“Kentucky basketball is cool. It is hip. You have (rapper) Drake as a fan. Cal has made basketball really popular among the young people,” Brown said.
He revealed he’s constantly asked if having a premier basketball program is a plus or minus for football.
“I think it is a huge plus. We scheduled official visits around home basketball games,” Brown said. “Cal has been super supportive. Any time we ask for help, he does. We have the same vision (for football) Cal has for basketball program, and it had lost some of that before he came. That is what we are trying to do on the football side, too.”
He says “passionate” fans are huge help to football as well.
“I talk to recruits a lot about this. There are no professional sports in Kentucky. There are two universities with most of the fan base. But this is a blue state. I don’t think anybody can argue that,” Brown said. “People here (at UK), you are on a big stage. A kid in Atlanta, there is a major pro franchise or two, two major colleges. There are a lot of people stealing the limelight. Here in Kentucky, there’s nothing. Fans show up at events and are loud. There is a lot of presence on Twitter, and that goes back to Cal, too.”