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Kentucky Great Bob Gain Passes Away at 87

(L to R) Babe Parilli, Bear Bryant and Bob Gain, via UK Athletics.

From left to right Babe Parilli, Bear Bryant and Bob Gain, via UK Athletics.

From left to right Babe Parilli, Bear Bryant and Bob Gain, via UK Athletics.

I’m sad to inform you that a legend has passed away.  Former University of Kentucky and Cleveland Browns offensive lineman Bob Gain passed away last night at the age of 87.

The word legend should not be thrown around loosely, but that’s the only way you can describe one of the best to ever wear a Kentucky uniform.

Gain was the meanest man to ever play for Bear Bryant.  A two-way star on the offensive and defensive line, he won the 1950 Outland Trophy for best offensive lineman in all of college football.  It’s the most prestigious award ever won by a Kentucky football player and is the first thing you see when you walk into the lobby of the new football training facility.

Gain finished his career at UK with back-to-back All-American honors at tackle for protecting quarterback Babe Parilli.  Bear’s best team went 11-1 in Gain’s final year to win the SEC.  Their only loss came against Tennessee 7-0, before ending No.1 Oklahoma’s 31-game winning streak in the Sugar Bowl.

Gain was the fifth overall pick in the 1951 NFL Draft but chose to play his first year in Canada.  He returned to play defense for the Cleveland Browns where he won three NFL Championships, started in five Pro Bowls and won an NFL Defensive MVP.  He retired in 1964 and is considered one of the ten best players to ever play for the Cleveland Browns.

I had the pleasure of meeting Gain two years ago on his 85th Birthday.  His sense of humor was striking.

Gain’s goal in 1950 was to make sure Kentucky’s Babe was untouchable, vowing to his QB that he would never hit the ground.  “The girls always ‘ohed and ahd’ at him in his clean, white uniform,” Gain said.  “The only time it ever got dirty was because he slipped.  Even then, all he got was a little grass stain on his knee.”

The University of Kentucky would not be the same without Mr. Gain.  May he rest in peace.

Article written by Nick Roush

"Look upon the doughnut, and not upon the hole." @RoushKSR

1 Comment for Kentucky Great Bob Gain Passes Away at 87



  1. runningunnin.454
    8:58 am November 15, 2016 Permalink

    Nice article and picture ……History.