The Story Behind UK Football’s “First Down Kentucky!”

The Story Behind UK Football’s “First Down Kentucky!”

First Down Kentucky! Interesting story. Actually,
my predecessor doing public address announcing, Doug Bruce, who ended up doing basketball
for eighteen years, he did football for eight years through the late 80s through the ’96
season. And then I was selected after a tryout and then the following spring game to take
his place when he had announced that he was stepping down after that. And Doug actually,
as I get the story, back when David Roselle was president in the late 80s, it was kind
of dull in the stadium and the team wasn’t doing so well, and Roselle stepped into the
booth, as I get the story, and says to Doug, ‘Hey can you do anything to fire up this crowd?
It’s too quiet in here,’ and Doug actually is the one credited with coming up with the
phrase ‘First Down Kentucky.’ So he started using that and that stuck for his tenure as
he PA announcer. When I was selected, C.M. Newtown was the athletics director, and his
message was clear, ‘Hey we want it played straight, down the middle,’ kind of matter
of fact. Which is basically what I did, with natural enthusiasm as well, but the first
two years I didn’t have anything like that. And then, one or two games into the ’99 season,
I got a call from Kyle Moats, who was the head of athletics marketing at the time and
said, ‘Hey, what do you think about First Down Kentucky?’ I said, ‘Whatever you want,’
and so we started and it’s been a tradition ever since

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