"Bear's Boys" Reunion This Weekend

June 19, 2009

LEXINGTON, Ky. – The “Bear's Boys,” former University of Kentucky football players under Coach Paul “Bear” Bryant, are having a reunion Friday and Saturday, June 19-20, in Lexington.

At least 30 of the Bear's Boys plan to attend the event, according to Dick Rushing and Bill Evans, who are helping coordinate the reunion. Among the returnees who have committed to participate are:

  • quarterback/placekicker George Blanda, who guided the Wildcats to their first bowl game (and win) in school history, and went on to the longest career in pro football history
  • All-America quarterback Babe Parilli, who led UK to consecutive appearances in the Orange, Sugar and Cotton bowls
  • UK football/basketball legend Wallace “Wah Wah” Jones, the only player to have his jersey retired in both sports

In addition to Blanda, Jones and Parilli, the tentative list of attendees includes Tommy Adkins, Chuck Bell, Jim Bowie, Bill Chambers, Bill Evans, Bob Fry, Ed Hamilton, Jim Hardin, Bob Holt, James Howe, Harry Jones, Lou Karibo, Joe Koch, Neil Lowry, Chet Lukowski, Ken Lutz, Dick Mitchell, Bill Mosley, Jim Proffitt, Harry Rogers, Dick Rushing, Frank Sadler, Millard Shirley, Lee Truman and Clayton Webb.

The group will have a reception on Friday, June 19, and a dinner on Saturday, June 20. The Bear's Boys have had reunions every two or three years since 1983.

Bryant was the head coach at Kentucky from 1946-53. UK compiled a 60-23-5 record during those eight seasons, including the Wildcats' first four bowl games. Kentucky won the first (and only) Great Lakes Bowl in 1947 and played in the Orange, Sugar and Cotton bowls following the 1949, 1950 and 1951 seasons, respectively. The Cats won the Sugar and Cotton bowl games.

Kentucky's best season under Bryant came in 1950. UK went 11-1, capped by a 13-7 win over Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl, ending the Sooners' 31-game winning streak. UK is one of four schools that have a claim on the 1950 national championship. At that time, national rankings were finalized before bowl games were played, but an analysis of the 1950 season by the Sagarin Computer Ratings lists UK as the No. 1 team for that season.