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Fran Curci (and his flip), Cris Collinsworth, Wayne Peace & Chuck Smith- November 1980


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One of my best memories with my Dad was the cold November day we saw a great game between the Wildcats & Gators at Commonwealth Stadium.


I was a sophomore in HS. Our football team had been selling something.... I think M & M's. I sold the most M & M's and the first place prize was Coach French's tickets to the UK-Florida game.


It was freezing cold, but a great game. My Dad and I sat in the south endzone. Back then, that is where many of the coaches tickets were for KY HS football coaches. In the old days, every KY head football coach was mailed a book of two tickets to all the UK home games. That was a great perk, and there were not many perks!


As it turns out, one of my best friends is on the field. Chuck Smith, former Boyle HFC, is playing linebacker for Charlie Bailey's Wildcat defense. I didn't know it at the time, but Coach Bailey's defense would be the foundation for our defense when Chuck came to Mercer County in 1983. Subsequently, Bailey's defense became the blueprint for our defense at Paris, Mason County, Mercer County and so many programs across the state of Kentucky that were connected to Larry French and Chuck Smith.


UK has played a great game and winning, 15-14, late in the 4th quarter. Wayne Peace is the Quarterback for Florida and his top WR is Cris Collinsworth. Florida is driving the ball into the endzone where I am sitting with my Dad. The UK bench is to our left.


The play I will never forget.... Peace throws a pass to Collinsworth right in front of the UK bench. It looks like he is out of bounds. Coach Fran Curci sure thought he was out of bounds. He was so mad that he did a flip on the sideline. I know.... it sounds insane. But, I have had others tell me the same thing. If he didn't do a flip, it sure looked like it enough that others have told me that yes, Fran Curci did a flip on the sideline in protest of that official's call.


The Florida drive continues. The Gators kick a field goal and win 17-15.


It wasn't the outcome we wanted, but my Dad and I had enjoyed a great football game and the time we had together that cold November Saturday.


Curci and his flip, Collinsworth, Peace & Chuck Smith... four guys I'll never forget.

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