By LARRY VAUGHT
He’s been content to mention very little about his upcoming retirement, but Kentucky coach John Calipari wasn’t about to let WLEX-TV sports anchor fade away during his last game covering Kentucky basketball at Rupp Arena.
Cutler has been with LEX18 for over 33 years and will officially retire May 5 after covering the Kentucky Derby again.
As Calipari was near the end of his postgame press conference, Cutler was offered the chance to ask Calipari a closing question. But before Cutler could say anything, Calipari held up a pari of blue Nike tennis shoes for Cutler.
“Since you never chased me, I’m giving you a pair of shoes,” Calipari said after the 96-78 win over Ole Miss.
This was in reference to the time Cutler ran after then UK coach Billy Gillispie trying to get a comment from the coach about his reported firing.
Cutler is never at a loss for words. Never.
But he was this time. Earlier in the game LEX18 meteorologist Bill Meck was giving a weather update on the Rupp Arena big screen like he does every game. However, this time he included a farewell message for Cutler.
Cutler laughed and then Calipari said, “You can chase me at any point. I’ll let you come to practice. There’s no way you can run me down, but here, give those to him.”
Cutler wasn’t going to let Calipari get away with that.
“First practice, next year, I own you,” Cutler said.
“Yeah, you better train for a year, my man,” Calipari laughed and said.
Cutler thanked Calipari for the blue shoes, then the coach waited for a question.
“Last question? I’ve never seen this before. Put all the cameras on him, please. I mean you don’t have something to say?” Calipari said to Cutler.
“No, I’m not going to ask what I really want. Thank you, man,” Cutler said.
Calipari later offered to autograph the shoes if Cutler wanted, and Cutler took the offer. He also said he didn’t “freeze” on the last question but would ask the one he wanted at a later time.
Bottom line: Not a better way for Cutler to go out than getting this respect from Calipari who understands the time and sacrifices Cutler has put in doing his job.
It was also only fitting that for Cutler’s last game, sitting beside him was Rob Bromley. He retired in the fall after 40 years with WKYT-TV. They are two Lexington sports icons and count me as one who will miss watching those guys sitting together and working together at games going forward.