Coach Roy Kidd: The Legacy
Legacy comes in many forms and means different things to different people. It can be an overused term, but most would say it’s appropriate when talking about former Eastern Kentucky University Football Coach Roy Kidd. The 91-year-old coach, family man, mentor, and EKU ambassador died this week and the tributes came pouring in.
There’s a certain recognition that comes when a person leading an athletic team is fondly referred to as simply “Coach.” For many, that was the title given to Roy Kidd, a Corbin native, an exceptional athlete in high school and college, a standout high school coach and a hall of famer at EKU. His head coaching career at the Richmond school ran from 1964 until 2002. The stats are well known. Two national championships, two runner-up finishes, 16 OVC titles, and 314 wins. Here’s one of the big ones.
“Now the clock will tick down as the crowd will count it off…you can take a listen to it….three, two, one….and Eastern Kentucky has won the national championship in division one two A football as the players along with a lot of fans stream out on the field.”
The call by long-time Colonel play-by-play announcer Greg Stotelmyer. The first national title in 1979, a 30-7 victory over Lehigh in Orlando. And then a short time later, a talk with Coach.
“Coach Roy Kidd’s with me..I suppose win number 111 has to be greater than any other…I don’t know of a greater one..I guess it hasn’t hit me yet Greg but it was a great win and I’m so proud of our kids and proud of our coaching staff..they just did a super job …getting these young men ready to play and they went out there and executed very well. We didn’t make many mistakes and that’s a big thing.”
That was win 111. Another 203 wins would come including that second national championship. Coach Kidd praised his coaching staff. One of those assistants was Jim Tanara, who came to Eastern that year as a defensive down lineman coach, after 11 years on Bear Bryant’s Alabama staff. Jim Tanara remembers a conversation with Coach Bryant, who talked about Kidd.
“I tried to recruit Roy Kidd when he was at Corbin as a quarterback…but he wanted to play baseball…and we’re not gonna allow our quarterbacks to play baseball in the spring…He said I know him..he’s a winner.. He says you’ll go there and win. And he says if he offers you the job you take it..you understand that? I said yes sir.. I do. It was the best thing that ever happened to me when I took this job,” said Tanara.
Tanara along with a team of assistants stayed at Eastern for years. He was part of 228 Colonel wins and 17 playoff appearances and two national titles. Tanara said Coach Kidd expected his players to practice and play hard and if not, he’d let you know.
“They knew where they stood. It was just a great relationship because he was funny…he had a great personality…He’d joke with the kids and kids would joke with him all the time about the way he wore his shorts..I used to laugh…but it was some good stuff, you know,” said Tanara.
Skip Daugherty was on Kidd’s first team at Eastern. He was 18 and Kidd 32. Daugherty stayed at EKU for decades in various positions including student activities, development, alumni affairs, assistant to the president and cheerleader sponsor for years and lifelong friend to Coach.
“The man lived a good life, coach lived a great life. He was a great mentor. The character head, he was honest. He led by example. He didn’t put up with a lot of stuff, but he also understood a lot. There were a lot of second chances given to people..that people don’t even know about. And he wanted students to graduate and be successful in life. He always talked about that…being a man…and being a good person,” said Daugherty.
Daugherty said Kidd developed character, not preaching it, but teaching it. He remembers a trip back to Richmond after a victory over Marshall when EKU player Paul Hampton from Appalachia started the still-running tradition of singing “Cabin on the Hill” after each victory.
The tailgating was active this past Saturday in Lexington prior to the EKU-UK football game. Bundy McGinnis, an Eastern linebacker from the late 80’s early 90’s was there under the tent. He said Kidd’s impact was much more than x’s and o’s on the football field. McGinnis said there’s been contact with coach, 30 years now after college.
“Coach Kidd every time you’d see him. He knew who you were and you think about all the players he’s coached over the years and you think about the great players he’s coached…and you think about the average and then the not-so-average like me and it just meant a lot for him to be able to call you out by name..He remembered everybody and he was just a great, great man,” said McGinnis.
Of course, there was life off the football field too. And McGinnis says all that stressing of fundamentals and effort carry over, beyond playing days.
“Those are the things they’d preach every day in practice..do the little things..run to the football, every single play. Whether it’s 50 yards or five yards…you run to the football…every single play. And those little things add up…not only on the field, but they certainly add up off the field. And so, when you think about life and think about getting into business or doing whatever you’re doing..you think about the little things that not everybody does every day, it begins to separate you in life,” said McGinnis.
The knowledge of Coach Kidd extended well beyond his retirement more than 20 years ago. And the exuberance is still there. Here’s Sam Dolen at the tailgate party. She said he wasn’t coaching, but she knew she was in Roy Kidd Stadium.
“I …E…K…I went to Eastern from 2017 and I graduated in 2021…we’re all three siblings that went to EKU”
EKU President David McFaddin spent his college days, close to the football program. McFaddin worked as a student in the sports information department. And the current president draws a Kidd comparison with a former EKU president.
“So often in the presidential realm they talk about Bob Martin a lot and Dr. Martin and the things that he did…I think Coach Kidd is that for the institution…kind of the embodiment of the institution in a person for the better part of the last 50-60 years in a lot of ways,” said McFaddin.
McFaddin said Kidd raised the profile of the higher education institution by success on the football field.
Eastern Athletics Director Matt Roan moved to Richmond in 2013 about two months before his family joined him from Utah. He said it was in the fall, football season.
“Coach Kidd and Miss Sue were two of the first people that I met. A pregame event such as this one at the stadium at home. Just the kindness, the compassion, the generosity, the support, the advice, the mentorship that they’ve both given me in my role and Malory in her role, just second to none,” said Roan.
Coach Kidd and his health status were on the minds of many EKU supporters last weekend. Following a hard-fought loss to UK, Current Head Football Coach Walt Wells spoke about a team gathering with Kidd near his statue on the hill inside Roy Kidd Stadium.
“And I had a bunch of them ask me which one is Coach Kidd, you know..And I got the opportunity to share with them, who Coach was.. you know we’re right there by his statue..so they know he was successful..they figured that out. And just how much he meant to EKU…to Madison County…to Richmond..to me…to my family and to the state of Kentucky football,” said Wells.
Calling the game last Saturday for the 464 football broadcast was Greg Stotelmyer. A graduate of Western Kentucky University, the team, fair to say, Coach Kidd wanted to beat more than any other. Stotelmyer said they were both too busy to raise the issue.
I kidded him a long time ago…you know I was kind of a good luck charm, wasn’t I? He didn’t say anything….but I really don’t know how or when Roy Kidd found out where his new play-by-play announcer went to school?...but Sue knew,” said Stotelmyer.
Stotelmyer said Kidd’s wife Sue once told him, “don’t forget who you work for. You work for Eastern.” And Stotelmyer said he replied, “Yes mam,” adding he was loyal from the start.
Skip Daugherty said, quote, “Coach was family, football, and Eastern.” He said following games lots of family would come to the Kidd house. And he noted his physical absence now will be different.
“And you never thought of Coach not being here..there was never a thought cause he was always here. That’s the advantage of being here 39 years, staying on as an ambassador for Eastern and he stayed and helped with development. I mean he was still working up to a year or two ago, coming in, going to events and doing things on behalf of the University. Anywhere you go, it’s Roy Kidd,” said Daugherty.
Daugherty said members of the 1967 Grantland Rice Bowl championship team will gather this weekend in Richmond. Also the 1968 OVC championship team, Coach Kidd's fifth team at EKU and his first to go unbeaten and untied in OVC play, will be honored at halftime Saturday.
Daughtery says it will be different with Coach Kidd not here.
Visitation is scheduled Sunday from 4:00 until 7:00 at the EKU Center for the Arts. The funeral will be Monday at 11:00 also at the Center for the Arts.
Here are interview segments.
Skip Daugherty-Many positions at Eastern including two decades as the cheerleader sponsor:
Former Assistant Coach Jim Tanara:
Voice of the Colonels Greg Stotelmyer:
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