Veteran Football Wildcats Lead Media on Tour of Refurbished Field House
Media members took a tour of the Nutter Field House, a place we’ve all visited hundreds of times. But it got a facelift, with new signage and photo images recently. The planning began a year ago; the actual installation took two weeks and was a surprise to the players when they returned for summer workouts on June 1. Final price tag: $158,000. Effect on recruits: Immeasurable.
It’s hard to believe, but there was nothing like this sign in the past that identified the building as the E.J. Nutter Training Facility.
The signage extended to the lobby of the field house, with the “Operation Win” theme beginning as soon as one walks through the main entrance.
Senior center Matt Smith and senior wide receiver La’Rod King were selected to lead the media on the tour. They nailed it.
They explained how the video, playing on an endless loop with a backdrop of a typical game day at Commonwealth Stadium, helps provide inspiration on their way to workouts. The over head signage is new as well.
King pointed out the updated, over-sized photos of current players, and the NFL helmet display, which includes names of past Wildcats who played in the league, as well as ex-UK players currently playing. King admitted he would love to see his own name on the Steelers’ plaque, Pittsburgh being his favorite team.
Smith presented the wall of life-sized photos of ex-Wildcats currently playing in the NFL, pointing out a few with whom he collided in practice in previous seasons.
The players explained that team photos in the Bowl History stretch of the hallway is directly across from the locker room door, so it’s the first thing they see on their way to the practice field.
Smith explained the significance of the Operation Win display (winning on the field, in the classroom and in the community); King told us that while bowls were nice, the one game he wanted to play in was the SEC Championship game. And all of it under the new “Operation Win” artwork at the end of the hall.
King showed off the exhibits the players see just before they enter the weight room: the “Beat Tennessee” and “Beat Louisville” walls. King, who played high school football at North Hardin High School in Radcliff, was recruited by U of L, and spoke extensively of how much he hates the Cardinals.
“Beating Louisville is like getting a good night’s sleep. You can just relax,” he said. King’s class had never lost to the Cards until last season.