By LARRY VAUGHT
Claude Hoffmeyer was a three-sport standout at Danville (Ky.) High School before turning down scholarship offers to other schools — including several not in football — to come to Kentucky to play football for coach Charlie Bradshaw.
He was part of the “Thin Thirty” in 1962 when Bradshaw’s brutal practice reduced the team’s roster from 88 players to 30. The team finished only 3-5-2 but beat Tennessee 3-0 to end the season. The Cats also had three future NFL players — Tom Hutchinson, Dale Lindsey and Herschel Turner — on that team and two of the assistant coaches, Chuck Knox and Leeman Bennett, became NFL head coaches.
Hoffmeyer didn’t play against Florida — UK tied Florida State 0-0 to open the season — but he felt a special pleasure when Kentucky ended its 31-game losing streak to Florida Saturday night in Gainesville.
“When Tim Couch was quarterback in a game at Florida, he was knocked out on a play and the Gator fans all stood and cheered and roared with glee,” Hoffmeyer recalled.
“A few years later, Tim Tebow was knocked out on a play at Kentucky’s home game, and the stadium was quiet until Tim Tebow recovered and stood up and got an applause from the Kentucky fans.
“So when I saw the faces of the Florida fans after Kentucky beat them on their own field even though they were RANKED gave me a sense of satisfaction. The Big Blue Fans are the most knowledgeable and good sports.
“Thanks Big Blue Fans from #31 on the Thin Thirty.”