...'cause a Rich Brooks party don't stop! Until November or December of this year, at least. Most of the college football world greeted the news of Rich Brooks hiring at Kentucky with a unanimous what-the-fuck, raising a number of questions at the time, like "Who?", "He's still alive?", and "Was Woody Widenhofer too busy or something?" Naysayers--those paying attention to the sleeping midget that is Kentucky football, at least--abounded, but positive types shushed people with "He helped build Oregon," "He's a former pro guy, he'll get NFL caliber recruits," and "His hair dye will make Spurrier's seem natural by comparison."
Rich Brooks, dry-heaving from excitement at Kentucky's performance.
As it turns out, both crowds have been wrong--Brooks' tenure, while a professional failure and a football nightmare--has made for excellent performance art. Already blessed with the brilliant Pillsbury Throwboy, Jared Lorenzen, the Kentucky team took a bold leap into the absurd under Rich Brooks, surpassing even their past heights under the gifted Dadaist Hal Mumme. (Remember them never punting in bounds? Or going for it half the time on fourth down? Brooks has been even better than that, in his own, beaky-nosed old guy kind of way.)
Brooks' 7-19 record--and their epic collapse against a dead-in-the-water and thoroughly Zooked Florida team in 2003--have been the notable on the field landmarks of his tenure at Kentucky. What's been overlooked is Brooks' near-suicidal press conferences where Brooks comes off as a cross between Red from That '70s Show and Eeyore jacked on half a bottle of Scotch.
Rich Brooks wants to know why you're looking at him, you idiot.
Check out this fine example from some of Brooks' most recent work in front of the mike.
On facing Florida this weekend, a team the Cats haven't beaten since 1986:
"Gonna have fun now, guys," he said. (...over the sound of ice cubes jostling in a tumbler...)
That's stunning work. In a school where people cared, the AD would step in with a folding chair, brain the drunken, desperate coach in public view, and bump up a wide-eyed grad assistant to flounder out the season and take his licks before picking up a newbie when the coaching carousel cranks up in November. But at Kentucky, football means something more: art. Rich Brooks' latest grumpypants display will take place at Lexington this Saturday, where Brooks will fiddle with his headset, kick grass poignantly, and spend the fourth quarter gazing longingly at Florida retirement brochures in full view of the press.