While many of you were sleeping in or relaxing on a beautiful (but hot!) Saturday morning, I was up bright and early for this year’s UK Football Women’s Clinic. It was my first time covering the event, and it definitely exceeded expectations. From the location — the luxurious Woodford Reserve Club inside Kroger Field — to interactions with players and coaches, it was the ultimate fan experience. Over 200 women were able to listen to presentations by several coaches, including Mark Stoops, Vince Marrow, Eddie Gran and Matt House, as well as tour the top-notch facilities and show off their skills on the field. So let’s get started with some of my favorite moments from the day.
Coaches get down to business
Mark Stoops took the floor first to tell the ladies how excited he is for the upcoming season. His enthusiasm and confidence was contagious, which was exactly what we all needed at 8 a.m. on a Saturday morning in the summer.
“The football team is really nice to build on that positive momentum. Our players and our coaches really took that straight into the offseason,” Stoops said. “Our players have worked extremely hard… you’ll be so proud.”
Next, he touched on the difficult schedule waiting for them come September.
“The schedule is always difficult, but we embrace that - we like that. That’s the world we live in in the SEC, so it makes it fun.”
Of course, Stoops had to bring up one of last season’s shinning moments — winning the Governor’s Cup. In fact, If there was one common theme throughout all of the presentations, it was mentioning last season’s thrilling win over Louisville. You can hear Coach Stoops mention the victory in the video below, where he says “of course that last game over Louisville wasn’t bad either.”
Offensive Coordinator Eddie Gran began his speech by mocking his own ill-fated joke from last year’s women’s camp, saying he knew it “didn’t go over too well.” Luckily, he made a much better impression this year. His presentation was organized and informative while still being light-hearted and interesting. Most importantly, while showing the ladies game highlights from last season, he frequently used footage from the UofL matchup.
Marrow works his magic
At least in my opinion, Coach Vince Marrow won the title “fan favorite of the day” after graciously taking pictures with dozens of fans and giving us his best Bob Barker impressions during the raffle drawings.
But perhaps his best moment of the day came after being asked to recreate a typical recruiting visit. Marrow happily obliged, even going so far as to bring Coach Lamar Thomas and one of the clinic attendees onstage to act as the recruit and his mom, respectively. I’ll let you watch the video for yourself, but some of my favorite quotes from the re-enactment include “For 90% of the recruits, it’s a female that’s going to make the decision” and “I pull up in my nice car that’s got the UK plates on it so they know we’re living good down here.”
An Unforgettable Fashion Show
The fashion show has become a staple for the women’s clinic in recent years, and although this was my first time attending, I can’t imagine there have been any previous shows quite like this one.
Senior wide receiver Charles Walker acted as the host, ushering players onto the platform one at a time. Each player styled a different outfit, beginning with Walker modeling the (minimal) clothing players wear under their uniform, which got quite a cheer from the ladies. Boogie Watson displayed the warm-up ensemble, Tavin Richardson wore the white uniform and Denzil Ware sported the blue uniform. Next, Lamar Thomas joined in on the fun. Watch the video below for a look at the outfits displayed in the show.
A Day in the Life
Another fun part of the day came when Kentucky kicker Austin MacGinnis walked the women through one of his typical day. The fifth-year senior has already earned his finance degree, but he's sticking around for one more year of kicking while earning his master’s degree.
Obviously, his schedule is hectic. Throughout the summer, MacGinnis wakes up at 5 a.m. to get a quick training session in before his classes begin for the day, followed by another workout, dinner and study time. I'm tired just thinking about it.
One of the best parts of his presentation came when discussing the emotion surrounding the Louisville game. After his successful field goal, he remembers his teammates going crazy, while the Louisville side “just went silent.” And the locker room after the game? “It was like a rage in there… like Jersey Shore.”
The ladies put in work
Attendees also had the chance to earn a spot on the team (just kidding) by participating in drills with some of the staff members. Here are some of my favorite pictures from the day showcasing the ladies killing it.
The women could also pose for a picture with a player's jersey, gloves and helmet. Here's KSR's own Kindsey Bernhard and her mom, Denise, rocking the look.
I can't say enough about the facilities
As a first-time visitor of the renovated Nutter Field House, I was completely blown away by the glamour and comfort of the facility. Yes, the retina display feature was cool, but the entire complex was spectacular. From the state-of-the-art weight room to the cold pool to the barber shop, these guys really do have it all. I'm sure everyone has seen plenty of pictures of the area, but trust me when I say photos don't do it justice (or I would be including some in this post). If you have the chance to go on a tour, definitely take it.
Better yet, if you have the opportunity to experience the women's clinic next summer, definitely sign up to attend. It was one of the most fun events I've been to through UK athletics, and it deserves to be on every female UK fan's bucket list.
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