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FATHER’S DAY: Dad Strength, UK Legacies and Daddy-Daughter Duos

Happy Father’s Day, everyone. We’ve had plenty of great Dad-centric content on the site throughout the day Sunday (including Nick Roush’s first mistake as a parent and a collection of heartfelt messages from past, present and future Wildcats).

Now, I’d like to take things one step further. Here are some of the most legendary fathers from the BBN:

Dad Strength

By now, the BBN should understand one of KSR’s favorite phrases: Dad Strength. In particular, Kentucky football has come to know and love this secret superpower; several Wildcats from the past few years have honed in on its ability to weaponize against opposing foes, at least on the football field. Our own Nick Roush even exudes it these days!

In recent years, one dad in particular comes to mind: Josh Allen. The former Wildcat used the birth of his first son, Wesley, as motivation throughout his incredible fourth and final year at Kentucky. In fact, it was one of the main reasons Allen decided to return for his senior season, rather than trying his hand at the NFL Draft a year before he was poised to become the No. 7 overall selection.

© Christopher Hanewinc | USATSI

“I could have left, but I had unfinished business. I had games to win. Records to go after. Streaks to break. I came back to get better. I came back to get better for myself, for my family, for my son, and my brothers. I came back to make Kentucky great. To leave a legacy,” Allen said in his announcement at the time.

Allen continues to use that dad strength (which is now multiplied thanks to the birth of his second baby boy in March) with the Jacksonville Jaguars in the NFL.

While Allen may be the most obvious example of “dad strength” from Kentucky’s recent rosters, he’s not alone. Just last season, Lynn Bowden’s son – Lynn Bowden III – became a familiar (and adorable) face around the program.

This season, there’s even more dad strength incoming. Quarterback Terry Wilson and his girlfriend are expecting a baby girl in August, and Yusuf Corker welcomed a baby girl about eight months ago.


Corker recently discussed fatherhood (especially when its happening during a global pandemic) with the UK Sports Network here:

UK Legacies

Something else the football team is becoming known for in recent years? Bringing in Kentucky legacies. Several former Wildcats are beginning to return to Lexington (and Commonwealth Stadium Kroger Field) in a new role: this time, they’re serving as parents in the stands, rather than as athletes on the field.

Such is the case for these three men: Bill Allen, Carlos Phillips and Maurice Douglass. The trio became the focus of a new video put out by the UK football twitter account on Father’s Day; the three men each recorded video messages for their sons – Andru Phillips, Beau Allen and Moses Douglass – who also left Father’s Day messages for their dads.

Take a look:

Although these young men are currently on Kentucky’s roster, they aren’t the first ones to follow in their father’s footsteps. Another one that comes to mind? Big Bill and Little Bill, as their family knows them – also known as Bill Ransdell II and III. The elder Ransdell played under head coach Blanton Collier, while the younger Ransdell was the team’s quarterback in the mid-1980s under head coach Jerry Claiborne. For years, “little Bill” was the last Kentucky quarterback to win a bowl game (1984-2006), to beat Tennessee (1984-2011) and to beat Florida (1986-2018).

“That ‘last one’ kind of thing, it doesn’t do much for me,” Ransdell told the Herald Leader in 2017. “To me, there’s no record to that. It’s not like you had the all-time most rushing (yards) or the all-time most receiving yards.”

Ransdell II died earlier this month at the age of 80. More about his life and legacy – which includes leading Elizabethtown High School’s football team to an undefeated season, marching with Martin Luther King Jr., and volunteering in New York after 9/11 – is available here.

Daddy-Daughter Duos

Anthony and Makayla Epps

The Epps duo is one of the greatest family stories in UK sports history. Anthony Epps, who played for four years under Rick Pitino, scored 881 career points between 1993-97. He was named to the All-Regional Team during UK’s run to a National Title in 1996, but his basketball legacy in the Bluegrass is not complete yet. He’s currently leading the boys basketball team at Campbellsville High School.

His senior night photo from 1997 is one of my favorites. Makayla was 21 months old.

photo via UK Athletics

At the time, the elder Epps had no idea that baby in his arms would go on to earn her own stripes at the University of Kentucky.

From 2013-17, Epps dominated SEC opponents and etched her name throughout UK’s record books under head coach Matthew Mitchell. She finished her collegiate career with 1,790 points, which ranks fifth most in program history. Her senior year was an All-American season for the Wildcats, and she became just the second player in program history to earn All-SEC First Team honors for three consecutive seasons. The Marion County native also stuck around during the program’s mass exodus of 2016, and she’s one of the main reasons why Kentucky Hoops is still a serious contender in the conference today.

John, Erin and Megan Calipari

This photo is a treasure; posted by Ellen Calipari on Instagram

Yes this one is a trio, but there couldn’t be a Father’s Day post (especially one with legendary daddy-daughter duos) without including the Caliparis.

Although Brad may have actually played for his father on the basketball court, there’s no question Erin and Megan hold a huge piece of his heart. That’s evident from this screenshot from the family group text on Sunday, right?

Although they’re usually known for trolling their old man and little brother on the internet, the ladies did have some kind words for their dad on Sunday. Megan wrote she wishes “more people saw the ‘regular dad’ side of him,” while Erin made sure to shoutout his ability to always do what is best, even when it doesn’t give him any positive publicity.

“I’m lucky to have a dad that’s actually a good person and uses all of his energy to do what he thinks is right – ignoring all of the rest. When people say negative stuff about him he never lets that change who he is or what he’s doing (even if it makes his job harder),” she wrote in a series of tweets. “Most of the charity work that [John Calipari] does you don’t hear about because he doesn’t do it for media attention, he does it to help people. He actually knows that he could tell people about this to improve his image but he specifically doesn’t because it isn’t about him.”

Corey and Leah Edmond

Leah Edmond was a fierce competitor for the UK volleyball program throughout the past four years, earning four All-American honors along the way. She owns the school’s record for all-time career kills, and she was tabbed as the SEC’s Player of the Year during her junior and senior seasons.

Meanwhile, her father Corey serves as the Kentucky football team’s director of performance in the strength and conditioning program. He’s been with the Wildcats since 2013, and – along with a team of coaches and nutritionists – he’s helped over a dozen Wildcats transform their bodies from high school standouts to professional athletes.

Josh Allen is a recent (and mind-blowing) example, but guys like Bud Dupree, Benny Snell, Za’Darius Smith and Avery Williamson also trained under Edmond.

You can learn more about Edmond in this video, originally published in 2013 by Kentucky Wildcats TV.

Now that’s a strong daddy-daughter duo.

My dad may not be part of the BBN, but I’d still like to wish him a happy Father’s Day. A Sunday in June is great, but a certain Saturday in December is usually even better (well, at least for me). Love you, Dad!

Article written by Maggie Davis

I love sports, podcasts, long walks on the beach and Twitter (@MaggieDavisKSR)