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Sonny Collins’s Tuesday News and Views

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If you listen to the radio show, you know that the only topic I have focused more on in the last couple of days than Bill Lamb is the saga of Kentucky’s all-time leading rusher, Sonny Collins. Ask anyone who was around while Sonny walked the UK campus and they will tell you one thing…he was one of the coolest football players to ever put on the cleats. His picture with the large afro is one of the more famous UK shots ever and he was known as quite the man about town in Lexington. But over the last couple of days, I have learned much more about Sonny. First, the afro was actually a wig, a fact that only makes the fact that he sported it even more awesome. Second, like Demarcus Cousins nearly 25 years later, Sonny liked to have fun with the media, coming to press conferences in feather boas and wearing shoes with goldfish in the heels. He was known to run with the “horse crowd” in Lexington and even makes an appearance in the “Bluegrass Conspiracy.” But we also found out that he was part of one of the more mysterious incidents in UK football history. Collins found himself in the middle of an bizarre kidnapping/murder/point shaving incident detailed in Sports Illustrated article from 1975. Collins was never charged with any wrongdoing, but the entire story is one of the more fascinating (and to me unknown) incidents in UK football history. Now, no one knows what has happened to Sonny. Some say he lives in the Atlanta area, but no record of his whereabouts has yet been found. He is one of the greats to ever play football at UK, and I find myself wanting to know more and more. And if nothing else, we must appreciate his fashion sense, one that has yet to be replicated since.

Some notes on a surprisingly busy news day:

ALEX POYTHRESS: Tis the season for recruits to cut down their list and earlier this week, the player that John Calipari covets, Alex Poythress said that his list was down to Kentucky, Duke, Memphis, Vandy and Florida. Many of those around the Lexington area believe that Poythress is a strong candidate to be part of the UK class and after his visit to Lexington, he had nothing but praise for Kentucky and Calipari. Jeff Borzello of Blood of CBSSports.com tweeted out earlier today that Duke and Vanderbilt were Poythress’s two favorite schools, an assumption that I found somewhat puzzling. But Poythress came out late tonight and said that was incorrect and he had no leader. While one never says never, I would venture to suggest that Poythress to Vandy is highly unlikely, regardless of the home state connection. He will go to Kentucky or Duke, and that decision might partially be influenced by another player pulling the trigger for either school first. As I said last night, there is no way to no for certain, but I like the chances of Poythress to UK as much as almost anyone in this class.

DEREK ANDERSON: The day of depressing news began this morning with the report that former UK star Derek Anderson has been implicated in a cocaine drug ring in Louisville. An individual who is part of a current federal case has apparently testified that Anderson is the financier of a large amount of drug trafficking in Louisville and testified that it was widely known that he was never seen at the sight of a deal. While we know little else about this story beyond these preliminary facts, it is unfortunate to hear as Anderson is one of the most beloved Kentucky players and a guy that was loved during his time in Lexington. Hopefully things will change as the story develops, but it looks as if things could get ugly before they will get better for DA.

BILLY GILLISPIE: In the “this is a surprise to no one” realm, Billy Clyde has been causing problems already at his new gig in Lubbock, Texas. According to SportsbyBrooks.com, Gillispie has caused huge problems with the Texas Tech administration, had two secretaries quit due to his treatment and got into a physical altercation with one of his Assistant coaches. The coach has quit the staff and now damage control is taking place at Texas Tech. For anyone around UK during the Billy Clyde years, this is not a shock in the least. Gillispie was awful with his staff in Lexington and problems existed with them well before the problems with the team became public. We wish Billy well and want him to succeed, but if these problems continue to plague him, it is hard to imagine all going well.

The SportsbyBrooks story also included the picture below, which was the “contract” in which Gillispie gave $2 million to the Ponzi scheme, that he later lost. Seriously Billy? The two line contract and 65% interest didn’t seem fishy? A sucker truly must be born every day:

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AWFUL DAY IN TENNESSEE: It was a terrible day to be a Vol fan as two depressing stories hit within an hour of each other this afternoon. Most importantly, Pat Summit announced she has early stage dementia. The longtime women’s coach will continue coaching this year and says she is not planning to quit and wants no “pity party” from the Tennessee fans. But it is hard not to both feel sorry for and celebrate Summit, who has been remarkable at Tennessee for nearly 30 years. She is a tremendous person who is respected by all in the profession and is one of the greatest basketball coaches on any level. We wish she and her family nothing but the best as she courageously lives publicly with a disease that effects so many.

On a more trivial note, Bruce Pearl is likely to receive a three year “show cause” ban from coaching in the NCAA on Wednesday, as the organization hands down its punishment after an investigation of the athletic department. Early reports suggest that Pearl will be the big loser as the football team will receive little punishment and the basketball team’s grade is yet to be determined. Pearl will practically be unable to coach for three years and the list of those who have received such bans in the past suggests he may have a hard time ever coaching again. Pearl is a guy UK fans love to hate, but personally I always had a soft spot for him. College basketball is better when Pearl is involved, but his desire to skirt the rules and then lie about it, may mean we never see him on a major college sideline again.

UK FOOTBALL SCRIMMAGE: Finally, UK scrimmaged today and gave the players a chance to play in a stadium with lights and wearing the new uniforms they will debut versus Western Kentucky. Joker said the usual “we played hard but need to execute speech” and we know little about how the team actually looked. We did find out that defensive lineman Mark Crawford will likely miss the Western Kentucky game as he still faces the effect of punishments from the offseason. Crawford looked like he conservatively weighed 850 pounds on media day and while he has shed some of that weight, he still has much to do to get in shape. Joker Phillips speaks to the media and fans in Louisville at noon on Wednesday at the UK football kickoff luncheon.

If you missed it today, we went at a reporter on the radio (making him squirm for calling UK fans ‘Big Blue lunatics), talked about the LSU fight and debated why we need to study for a new Rupp Arena (just build it). It was great fun and we will be joined on the radio by EVAN DANIELS OF SCOUT.COM from 10-11 am on Wednesday. So don’t miss it. More later….

Article written by Matt Jones

44 Comments for Sonny Collins’s Tuesday News and Views



  1. Bernie Madoff
    11:32 pm August 23, 2011 Permalink

    I did pretty good but I wish I could have found some more fish as dumb as Billy Gillispie. “I’ll pay you 65% interest and you can have your principle back whenever you want it.” Hahahahaha.



  2. New Bold Sub-Headlines
    11:41 pm August 23, 2011 Permalink

    Good idea Matt.



  3. JeffC
    11:51 pm August 23, 2011 Permalink

    Check out Sonny Collins’ Facebook page. Just do a search on Facebook….Sonny Collins. Cool shot of Sonny on his bike. According to his page, he lives in Fayetteville, GA. He’s retired, married, has children, and still looks fit.



  4. Chris Thomas
    12:04 am August 24, 2011 Permalink

    The two line contract….WITH HIS NAME SPELLED WRONG. BCG fail.



  5. ol blue
    12:20 am August 24, 2011 Permalink

    For anyone interested in the Sonny Collins SI story:

    http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1090581/1/index.htm



  6. Mutt
    1:08 am August 24, 2011 Permalink

    Back in the mid to late 90’s, I used to play ALOT of basketball in the Seaton Center at UK. (It’s not even called that now, is it?) Every once in a while, Sonny Collins would come in there to play with us. To be honest, I had no idea who he was…just a cool older guy who was in great shape and mixed it up with us early-to-mid-twenties guys. Great athlete, super nice guy. But then I got home and told my dad I played basketball with Sonny Collins. YOU PLAYED WITH WHO?!?!?! Kinda like if I came home today and told my 17 year old I played with some guy I never heard of name Lebron or something like that…..



  7. Tim in Korea
    2:57 am August 24, 2011 Permalink

    Rick Redding must also be suffering from early stage dementia. Please keep him in your thoughts.



  8. Munk
    3:18 am August 24, 2011 Permalink

    Favored by 4 against Auburn and 3 vs LSU. Are you kidding me?



  9. mlvei
    4:54 am August 24, 2011 Permalink

    I suggest anyone interested in the time period Sonny Collins played here – read a book named “The Bluegrass Conspiricy”. Sonny is kind of incidently mentioned in this interesting piece about how the Lexington police and local society used to be!



  10. BigBlueSkyDog
    5:49 am August 24, 2011 Permalink

    Billy Clyde is really a strange guy. Usually jerks like him are more shrewd with their money. This guy can’t throw it away fast enough. Dave Ramsey would be catatonic if he knew.



  11. pccatsfan
    6:16 am August 24, 2011 Permalink

    Why would you continue to wish Billy well? Do I want bad things to happen to him? No, but he is a sorry excuse for a human being and deserves no support or sympathy for his continued bad behavior toward staff, alumni, etc. It only enforces that his bad behaviors are somehow to be overlooked or accepted. As in, aw gee shucks, it’s just Billy being Billy. Bull.



  12. Sonny Says
    6:22 am August 24, 2011 Permalink

    Can you remember?? ” Good Morning!!!!! – Freedom!!!!!!!!! This was the TV song slogan during the Sonny Collins era when the Cats Coaches show was on….. and others! Sonny was something…. No fooling, my brother was actually the one who testified in Sonny’s Court Case. Bad stuff goings on is all I should say!



  13. SalemCat
    7:02 am August 24, 2011 Permalink

    Note to self: Whenever 65% interest is involved, walk away. How dumb do you have to be to fall for that?



  14. SalemCat
    7:04 am August 24, 2011 Permalink

    Note to self: Whenever 65% interest is involved, walk away. How dumb do you have to be to fall for that? I’m sure BCG also sent all his gold in a envelope and waited for his huge amounts of cash to be sent back.



  15. billy
    7:08 am August 24, 2011 Permalink

    Why oh why do you wish Billy Clyde well???????????? He is a monster. Do you wish all monsters well?????????????? No. 11 is correct. By the way why can’t some people forget about Billy Clyde? Can’t you just let it go? Same with Tubby.



  16. Ben
    7:50 am August 24, 2011 Permalink

    Sonny Collins was at UK when I was there! I remember seeing him at the Library (not the school one). He wore a wig because he had a disease where he had no hair on his body. He was so good because his upper body was well developed and he had absolutely no hips what so ever. When defenders would try to tackle him, they would just slip off like a greased pig. He was always hanging out with shady type people, but nothing ever seemed to stick to him. He was well like all over campus about like Walls and Cousins were. A real bigger than life type character.



  17. Hoss
    7:50 am August 24, 2011 Permalink

    Man, what really sucks is that you can see where he’d originally written 1mm, then changed it to 2mm.



  18. manbearpig
    7:52 am August 24, 2011 Permalink

    Sonny was the bouncer at the Library right?



  19. Billy Clyde
    8:00 am August 24, 2011 Permalink

    I wish everyone would chill. I got this. Look, I’m just having a little fun. So what if I fire a couple secretaries, fight with an assistant coach, lock a player in a bathroom stall, bang some skank sorority girls, get naked in water fountains, not sign ‘real’ contracts, get REALLY drunk and fool around with some equally drunk UK Pike guys… It’s all good people.



  20. Kevin
    8:01 am August 24, 2011 Permalink

    I loved to watch Sonny play football but what impressed me most was that he always took time to talk to fans and other students off the field. You could find him at the Student Center a lot of evenings talking to people in his soft-spoken way, always dressed to the hilt. He was a good guy.



  21. Mr Schwump
    8:05 am August 24, 2011 Permalink

    Who is Pat Summitt, I forgot.



  22. ukfaninohio
    8:36 am August 24, 2011 Permalink

    There are a lot of people i wish well people i dont even like.Gillispie is not one of those people.



  23. Don
    8:47 am August 24, 2011 Permalink

    You wish Billy Clyde well? He’s a jerk and a drunk and if not for Coach Cal the Uk program would be who knows where.



  24. GOD
    8:50 am August 24, 2011 Permalink

    #21 – THAT WAS NOT FUNNY. YOU ARE BETTER THAN THAT, TRY HARDER. I AM WATCHING YOU. I STILL LOVE YOU.



  25. Don
    9:10 am August 24, 2011 Permalink

    #21 lmao..not nice, but I laughed.



  26. Hoss
    9:11 am August 24, 2011 Permalink

    The host of the wazoo show has the oratory skills of a retarded mule fart.



  27. bluesince66
    9:16 am August 24, 2011 Permalink

    Thanks 24 I thought it was stupid, or ignorant take your pick.



  28. UKScott
    9:42 am August 24, 2011 Permalink

    I played football for Madisonville(and 1 year for Middlesboro, Matt) and Sonny and John were both around alot. I would assume he is still in the madisonville area. He’s old and skinny now and alot or rumors swirled around him and why he was so skinny, but i can always remember him hanging around. He played H.S. ball with our running backs coach, Larry “Mud” Jones and they seemed to still be pretty good friends.



  29. Karen Harris
    9:55 am August 24, 2011 Permalink

    I have often said that nothing surprises me in this day and age but if DA is involved in any way with a cocaine operation, I will have to say that NOTHING will ever surprise me again. I have read a lot about him, attended a charitable function for his worthy causes and he was a great kid and seemed to have grown into a man who examplified what it meant to give back and make a difference … in a big way. I sure hope this is bad information.



  30. Carl
    10:00 am August 24, 2011 Permalink

    Who was it that said: “I fool and his money are soon parted.” 65% interest, yeah right…..geez. What an ultra-maroon.



  31. BernardMadoff
    10:16 am August 24, 2011 Permalink

    My ponzi schemes make upwards of 500% to 750%. 65% aint’s $#!+!



  32. tzuzaki
    10:45 am August 24, 2011 Permalink

    “no record of his whereabouts has yet been found.”

    “Check out Sonny Collins’ Facebook page. Just do a search on Facebook….Sonny Collins. Cool shot of Sonny on his bike. According to his page, he lives in Fayetteville, GA. He’s retired, married, has children, and still looks fit.”

    lol.



  33. Gurney Norman
    10:47 am August 24, 2011 Permalink

    Sonny played for Madisonville in HS and was at UK when I was there. He had an uncanny ability to hit the hole and his snake-hips (mentioned above) were just bizarre. I worked at a sporting goods store at the time the Bluegrass Conspiracy was playing out and knew several of those “characters”. They bought a lot of climbing and camping gear in the late 70’s.



  34. owesco
    10:51 am August 24, 2011 Permalink

    Sonny does live in the Atlanta area….here is his facebook page:
    http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001647274032



  35. mtpunchout
    11:02 am August 24, 2011 Permalink

    I think it says something about you when people who were able to tolerate working for/with Bob Knight quit now due to being treated poorly. Billy you are impressive.



  36. George Pack
    11:49 am August 24, 2011 Permalink

    Re: Sonny Collins

    I’ve got two words for you true blue fans: Touchdown Sunshine!

    He’s my favorite UK athlete of all-time.



  37. Crackerhillbilly
    12:00 pm August 24, 2011 Permalink

    Sonny Collins competed as a sprinter in the Masters division at the Mason Dixon Games in Louisville in 2010 (not sure about last year). Believe me, he can still scoot and not just for a man his age! The fro’s gone though.



  38. Crackerhillbilly
    12:03 pm August 24, 2011 Permalink

    Sonny competed as a sprinter in the Masters division at the Mason Dixon Games in Louisville back in 2010 (not sure about this year). He can still scoot and not just for a man his age! The fro’s gone though.



  39. Dr. Dick Fitzenbutts
    12:04 pm August 24, 2011 Permalink

    I know it’s ridiculous, but “Jeff Borzello of Blood” makes me laugh a little bit every time I read it.



  40. cat fan
    5:51 pm August 24, 2011 Permalink

    Not something to poke fun. Brother-in-law has had alzeimers for 10+ years. I don’t really know the difference between the 2 but very hard on the family. Now BCG is a different matter. LOL



  41. BravoBigBlue
    5:54 pm August 24, 2011 Permalink

    Anybody who makes light of Pat Summitt’s condition is a complete jerk, UK fan or not. It just goes to show that every fanbase has its share of dimwits. I think somebody might need his ass kicked by the way. Dementia is a very personal issue for a lot of people. Not a joking matter. Hope I’ve made my point. If not, I’ll meet you at the UL game and kick your ass myself.



  42. tyrus
    6:33 pm August 24, 2011 Permalink

    18# He could have been but don’t remember Collins being a bouncer at the Library Lounge but that place was the mecca for drugs. Collins was probably a member of “The Company”. Basketball players and yes… band members also frequented L.L. Bluegrass Conspiracy good book but to be around during those times was a great experience. A good friend of mine, this short gorgeous blonde, dated Andrew Thornton and Leonard, the one who parachuted with Thornton, was my sensei for about three years. I worked for the Brown administration and my ……ahhh better just stop here. Feel fortunate to have experienced the 70’s when life was simpler.



  43. Gtfish
    7:16 pm August 24, 2011 Permalink

    Crackerhillbilly,
    How do you know it was “the” Sonny Collins? Sonny got hurt pretty back in a work accident a number of years ago and last I talked to him about it he was still in recovery and dealing with some mobility issue.



  44. Yabba Do
    11:30 pm August 24, 2011 Permalink

    Collins does live in Atlanta. I have a relative that’s good friends with him and they keep in touch. He came up last year for a football game.