For the last 40 years Rob Bromley has covered University of Kentucky sports — along with other things — for WKYT-TV (Channel 27) in Lexington. However, he announced last week he was retiring at the end of September.
I had been covering UK sports for about two years when Bromley started and never in 40 years have I heard him say anything bad about anyone or anyone say anything bad about one of the nicest men I’ve ever known. He’s also the most tenured television anchor on the air in Kentucky.
Cameron Mills, who now has a weekly radio show and his own sports website, played on the 1996 and 1998 teams that won national championships — two of four national title winners that Bromley covered for WKYT.
Mills called him the “classiest of the classiest,” a description I think many would agree describes Bromley perfectly.
Former UK quarterback Freddie Maggard, a football analyst for Kentucky Sports Radio and regular on the UK Radio Network during football, appreciated the way Bromley covered his career and has continued to cover UK.
“Rob Bromley is as UK as Adolph Rupp and Rich Brooks. I love Rob Bromley,” Maggard said. “His voice and gentlemanly demeanor have been a Lexington mainstay for the majority of my life. He’ll be missed, but never forgotten.”
WKYT producer/videographer Steve Moss probably knows Bromley as well as any media member. They have been together on the UK football and basketball beat for almost 30 years.
“I think immediately about the thousands of UK fans who grew up watching Rob during his time on the UK Network. He’s literally been a part of so many people’s lives all across the Big Blue Nation,” Moss said.
“He’s been the consummate professional since the day I first met him, back in 1988. It’s been an honor to work alongside someone who displays the kind of class and humility that Rob shows every single day. He certainly will be missed.”
Many UK fans will obviously feel the same way. But so do media members who have admired the way Bromley has done his job for 40 years.
I asked several of those who know Bromley for their thoughts on his retirement.
Mary Jo (Perino) Ford, co-host Dan and Mary Jo Show (ESPN Radio 1300 WLXG): “You probably won't get a variety of responses for this, because Rob has been the same guy to everyone. A pro's pro, a genuinely kind human being, and a Kentucky treasure. He is leaving on his own terms and going out as as a Hall of Famer and Sportscaster of the Year. There's no more fitting an ending to Rob's wonderful career than that.”
Ryan Lemond, Kentucky Sports Radio: “It's a very small fraternity of guys and gals that cover UK sports. Thats why it's been such an honor and pleasure to spend a lot of my time in this business working alongside Rob Bromley. We often spend more time with each other than we do our own family. I have watched Rob for years on and off camera, and I've learned not only how to be a better reporter, but more importantly, a better person.
“Rob is an idol and a legend for all of us. He oozes class. He is the epitome of what we all strive to be. One of my biggest regrets in this business is not being able to work side by side in the same department with Rob. After Rob was recently named Kentucky Sportscaster of the Year, I asked him what was his greatest achievement or best accomplishment. Without hesitation, he said, ‘The fact that I've not had to do one second of sports talk radio!’
“Touche' Mr Bromley! You're the best and a hero to all of us who strive one day to be just like you.”
Tom Leach, UK Radio Network/Leach Report: “I first started covering the Wildcats as a reporter in 1983 and as one of the new guys, it pays to observe other ‘pros’ and Rob was one of those people from whom I learned by watching how he did his job. He was always accurate, professional and classy. There’s more than one way to command respect and you could also see that Rob commanded the respect of the people he worked with and I think he achieved that through how hard he worked and how he treated people.
“It’s hard to imagine being at UK game this coming season and not seeing Rob in the press box or the press room at Rupp Arena or on the tournament trail. Ralph Hacker called him the most ‘genuine person’ he had encountered and I like that description of Rob.”
Mark Story, Lexington Herald-Leader columnist: “I was in school at UK in 1985 when Rob Bromley broke the story that Joe B. Hall was going to retire after Kentucky's run in that season's NCAA Tournament ended. That news, obviously, landed like a neutron bomb. But I remember listening to a talk show on WHAS radio after the story broke and Paul Rogers saying he knew Rob and if Rob was reporting it, there was every reason to believe it was true.
“That was fairly early in Rob's career, but he already had that level of credibility in this state. After all these years, he still has it, which is no small feat. Rob Bromley is a pro's pro and as classy a guy as there is in sports media anywhere."
Jeff Drummond, Publisher for Scout.com AllWildcats.com: “My earliest memories of UK sports on television will always be tied to Rob Bromley, particularly the weekly coaches' shows which included extensive highlights of the previous games back in the days when we didn't get to see each and every game on live TV. For a young fan, those were our lifeline to the Cats, and Rob was the warm, familiar voice sharing all of the highlights with us.”
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I thought Jarred Vanderbilt of Houston looked a lot better during practices for the McDonald’s All-American Game than he was when I watched him play five times as a junior but his numbers in the game did not show that.
However, at last week’s Nike Hoop Summit, the numbers were there in Team USA’s win.
He had 19 points, 10 rebounds, three assists and two blocks while playing just a bit more than half the game. After the game, Vanderbilt said not being able to play on last summer’s USA Under 17 world championship team due to an injury motivated him.
“It motivated me a lot. I felt like I had a chip on my shoulder, considering that I didn’t get to play last (summer),” Vanderbilt said. “Just being able to step back on the court with USA Basketball across my chest is a great feeling. It’s a very prestigious game, and I’m just thankful to be here.”
He’ll be playing in the Jordan Brand Classic Friday along with UK signees P.J. Washington, Nick Richards and Quade Green — unless a concussion he suffered at the Hoop Summit keeps him out.
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John Robic probably knows John Calipari as well as anyone. He was on his staff at Memphis and came with him to Kentucky.
New Morehead State University head coach Preston Spradlin spent five years on Calipari’s staff and worked closely with Robic on a daily basis.
“He was good to me and allowed me to get under his wing and learn all I could,” Spradlin said. “He has an unbelievable mind for basketball. He’s a great tactician. He’s unbelievable at scouting and game planning.
“He’s been with Coach (Calipari) forever. They came up together as young coaches. They have a great friendship and bond and trusts. But they also have the same philosophy and speak the same language. They’ve also had a great success rate with each other.”
Robic moved from assistant coach to special assistant this year. But Spradlin says Robic “loves his role” with Calipari.
“They are so good together,” Spradlin said. “I was lucky enough to get involved with so many things with coach Robic behind the scenes. I learned the ins and outs of holding a program together.”
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Freshman quarterback Walker Wood is still recovering from offseason surgery and unable to have contact during spring practice. The former Lexington Lafayette star enrolled at UK in January amid speculation that he would eventually land at another position.
Kentucky sophomore offensive lineman Landon Young, Wood’s teammate at Lafayette, says it would be a mistake to underestimate Wood.
“I definitely think he can play quarterback in the SEC. If you have actually spent time with that kid and played with that kid, you know he has the potential to do a lot more,” Young said. “He is an athlete. He has a heart and drive for football that you can’t match with any other kid.
“Anything he puts his mind to, he’s going to do. If that is playing quarterback, then he is going to come in here and compete.
He has an injury now but he will be back and ready in no time. I know because of the way that kid works.”
Young became a believer in Wood when the quarterback was a high school freshman and pressed into duty because of an injury to the starting quarterback.
“I saw him in the offseason and saw how he was working and throwing the ball. I knew he was going to be good and keep on progressing,” Young recalled. “I was excited for him as a freshman because I knew that gave him four years to get to be the best player he could be for Lafayette.”
So what is Wood like?
“He is a goofy kid. He really is. His will and his heart for the game are things that can’t be matched anywhere,” Young said. “He has a one track mind and he is going to get done what he sets forth to do. Unique character and heart and drive. He is humble and one of a kind kid. He’s going to be really good here.”
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Kentucky senior pitcher Shannon Smith first met UK coach Rachel Camp when she was 7 years old at a camp Lawson was working. Lawson said Smith was not the ideal camper.
“I didn’t really like her when I was 7 years old. She’s business. She is serious. When you are 7 years old, that is not something that appeals to you necessarily,” Smith said. “I was more about having fun and all that. She wasn’t and we sort of clashed a lot more.
“Now I value the business side of things and we work well together now, but not when I was 7.”
Lawson recalls that seemed to try and torment her at that camp.
“I honestly don’t remember too much of my time with her then,” Smith said. “I think I tried to torment everyone when I was a kid. That is just who I was. Overall I just liked being annoying to everyone.”
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Quote of the Week: “I was 5 years old and playing against 7 year olds. The first time I got the ball, I went 85 yards and was trying to hold my pants up the whole time. But I scored,” Kentucky football signee Lynn Bowden on his football background in Ohio.
Quote of the Week 2: “I am not a big camp goer. A camp at a college or a satellite camp is the only ones I will go to because coaches will be there. No disrespect to others but those recruiting service camps, there’s not a point behind them to make me go,” Kentucky commit Alex Reigelsperger on summer camps.
Quote of the Week 3: “You are responsible for everything short of world hunger sitting in that chair,” former Eastern Kentucky head coach and current UK assistant coach Dean Hood on pressure on head coaches.
Rob Bromley, left, tried to help promote DeMarcus Cousins for the NBA All-Star Game. The WKYT-TV sports anchor is retiring in after 40 years at the Lexington station. (Steve Moss Photo)