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“Thin Thirty” survivor got “sense of satisfaction” from UK win over Florida

Thin Thirty starters

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.”

1 comment

  1. The thin thirty was a tough bunch is all one can say if much of what was said and written about Bradshaw is accurate. I went to HS in Louisville with several UK players that were on Male’s 1961 State Championship team, and later were on that first Bradshaw team, and left the team because of the brutal practices under Charlie Bradshaw. Several of my 61 Male classmates who were on that infamous UK team, wound up at EKU playing for Glen Presnell as transfers for the 63 season. They have their stories about how it was practicing at UK under Bradshaw’s staff. I won’t pass judgement here on Bradshaw’s methods, he was a Bear Bryant disciple, (remember the Texas A&M stories) but his era did set UK back in many ways. I think it brought much negative attention to UK’s football program at the time. His coaching record at UK was pretty sad too, due to a lack of depth, even though he had some big wins. I think Bradshaw could have been very successful at UK, but he allowed his program too get out of control. He did have some success at Troy.

    To stay on the subject here, I have always found Florida football fans as arrogant and overbearing IMO, especially at the “SWAMP.” I lived in Florida for almost 20 years, and would follow UK football listening to Cawood call the games, many times in those day by long distance phone calls. The phone receiver in Kentucky at a relative’s house, laid down next to a radio tuned to the UK football network. No internet, no SEC network, not many games UK played in those days were on TV. The 1977 UK squad was the best UK football team I ever saw. There may never be another one like it either IMO.

    I was at the “SWAMP” in 1979, and saw the Cats beat the Gators 33-7. Their last win in Gainesville until Sept 8, 2018. The win by this current UK team this past Saturday night was a awesome thing to see as a UK football fan. UK is a marked team now in the 2018 season. They are for real IMO. They better come to play every game now with some fire in the belly. I believe they will.

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