By LARRY VAUGHT
News that Jon Sumrall was coming to Kentucky to coach linebackers for coach Mark Stoops really did not surprise me.
Sumrall is from Huntsville, Ala., but he played middle linebacker for the Cats from 2002-2004, led the team in tackles (72) his senior year, made the SEC Academic Honor Roll, was inducted into the Frank G. Ham Society of Character and was a graduate assistant coach for two years under Rich Brooks at UK.
He was coaching linebackers at Mississippi, a job he had for just one year, when Stoops made him an offer he could not refuse — once he made sure his wife, Ginny, was on board with another move.
“When we were dating we lived in San Diego but my wife is from Alabama as well. I used to give her a quiz saying could you live in Pocatello, Idaho and she said why and I told her that was where Idaho State was and I might coach there one day,” Sumrall said. “Any time you coachit is not a one-person decision. It is a lifestyle and players are part of your family, too, but you sign up to go where you have to be.”
The Sumralls also have four children and going from coaching at Troy to coaching at Mississippi to coaching at Kentucky in three years is not easy for a family. Yet Jon Sumrall knew he could not turn down a chance to join Stoops’ staff and work under new defensive coordinator Brad White.
“It was a little bit of a decision but this was a place I wanted to be and help build something really special. It would take something really special for me to want to leave here,” Sumrall said. “This is not something where I am looking for what is the next job. I am really fired up about the job I have got here. It’s great.
“This is something where this is kind of a calling to me. I feel having a chance to be called back to where I played is special.”
But what if a mind-boggling offer came his way after just one year at Kentucky? Could he turn it down?
“That is part of profession and you have got to be prepared for the next stop but I would like to be here as long as the foreseeable future will allow and I am so grateful to Coach (Stoops) for the opportunity. I really admire what Kentucky football has done under coach Stoops and his staff,” Sumrall said.
“My wife loves Lexington. The last couple of places we have lived — Oxford, Miss., and Troy, Ala. — there is a lot more to do here. No beach here like near Troy but lot better shopping. If she needs to go to Target for the kids, she can go. Oxford and Troy did not have much of that to offer.
‘We have loved it here. The transition here has been very smooth and everybody has been so kind and welcoming. My family has really enjoyed it and obviously so have I.”