Most Recent Posts
- Calipari says Cats will press more, foul more, bump and grind, hip-check next season
- Caldwell County sophomore Elijah Sindelar special QB but also has big-time baseball options
- Stoops believes he has special understanding of high school coaches
- Video: UK offensive coordinator Neal Brown talks about working with head coach Mark Stoops
- Dallas Prime Prep will bring marquee players Mudiay, Thomas, Ferguson to Marshall County Hoop Fest
- Father had biggest impact on Mark Stoops’ coaching career and life
- UK coach John Calipari has no regrets about giving certain players more than one chance last year even when it hurt the team
- Florida forward Will Yeguete likes Cauley-Stein’s athleticism and way he plays the game
By LARRY VAUGHT
WDKY-TV news anchor Jennifer Palumbo got her start as a sports reporter and remains an avid University of Kentucky football and basketball fan despite a not so pleasant incident not long after she was hired at WKYT-TV in 1995.
When Kentucky won the 1996 national championship under Rick Pitino in 1996 for its first title since 1978, Palumbo says she was the “low man” on the staff and drew the fan celebration assignemnt. She got hit on the head with a beer bottle thrown by a fan on top of a pay telephone booth.
“It kind of hurt. I leaned forward and there was blood running down my face,” said Palumbo. “Someone gave me a towel. I walked to a fire station around the corner, but there was so much chaose going on. The fire fighters said I was out of luck getting an ambulance, so I called the station and then sent someone to pick me up.
“But 99 percent of the fans are one who love Kentucky and have all those shared memories, good and bad. The reason we come back for more is we always want to be thre. Kentucky fans are the best in the country. I can say that because I was not born one. I grew up in Ohio, didn’t go to Kentucky. I married a UK graduate from Lexington, so I married into the UK family. Kentucky fans are everywhere and I really believe there are more UK fans who didn’t graduate from UK than did. We are a big group united by our passion to see the Big Blue do well. Where else do TV stations send reporters to cover fans watching games. Not a sports reporter, but a fan reporter.”
She was also the “fan reporter” when UK and quarterback Tim Couch went to the 1999 Outback Bowl.
“I’ve been to amazing football games. At the time of the Outback Bowl, I was single and no one else wanted to be gone for two weeks. I went to Florida,” Palumbo said. “I always wanted to be a sports anchor. It did not happen because I was told I was needed as a news anchor more. But I love being able to cover fans and their stories.”
Palumbo and her husband are friends with UK coach John Calipari and his wife, Ellen. If Palumbo is not working at a basketball game, she has lower arena season tickets behind the UK bench and sat with actress Ashley Judd behind the UK bench for a game at Vanderbilt last season thanks to tickets from Calipari in Nashville.
“My husband got to know coach Calipari through a mutual friend. It has been really neat to get to know him as a person,” she said. “We have never asked him for anything. In fact, we rarely talk basketball with him or Ellen.
“He is someone who gets it. He loves it here, but he loves his family that much more. You don’t see his wife much, but that’s how she wants it. She is not a coach’s wife who wants to be out there on TV. She is all about raising her children. They have two older daughters and a son in high school who is a wonderful golfer and plays basketball. They are just a wonderful family. The children do not try to capitalize on their dad being coach Calipari.”
Want an example?
“One daughter started out at UK but transferred. The final straw came when a boy came into class, pulled up shirt and had a Calipari tattoo,” Palumbo said.
She has gone to the fund-raising gala for the V Foundation put on by Dick Vitale the last two years with Calipari.
“Last year he was one of the three coaches honored after he had just lost his mom to cancer,” she said. “It was neat to be there and be part of that experience for him to pay tribute to his mom’s memory. This year was so much fun, too. There are so many great people there and so many great stories to share and tell. I love Dick Vitale and what he does and being part of that with coach Calipari has really been fun and emotional, too.”