Mark Story: Matthew McConaughey's dad played college football for ... Kentucky?

Herald-Leader Sports ColumnistFebruary 24, 2014 

Fast-break points from the Boeheim tirade meme:

21. Matthew McConaughey. In an appearance on the TV program Inside the Actors Studio, the Dallas Buyers Club and True Detective star told host James Lipton he has a direct family connection to University of Kentucky sports.

20. Dad played football for UK? The Academy Award nominee for Best Actor told Lipton that his father, Jim McConaughey, played football "for Bear Bryant at Kentucky." Now, I'm pretty good on my UK sports lore, but I had never heard that before.

19. Did not letter at Kentucky. When I checked the UK media guide, there is no record of a Jim McConaughey — or any McConaughey — earning a varsity football letter at Kentucky. However, when I went to the microfilm of 1949 newspaper stories, there is evidence that Jim McConaughey was a Kentucky Wildcats football player.

18. 'Looks good on defense.' A spring practice story on April 1, 1949, from the UK student newspaper, The Kentucky Kernel, reported that "Jim McConaughey looks good on defense."

17. Several Lexington Herald mentions. The April 2, 1949, Lexington Herald reported that "Charley Bentley or Jim McConnaughey" (sic) would start at right end for the Blue team in a spring scrimmage.

16. Played in '49 season opener. In the coverage of Kentucky's season-opening 71-7 win over Mississippi Southern, the Sept. 18, 1949, Lexington Herald listed Jim McConaughey among the UK sophomores who had made their varsity debuts.

15. Lettered twice at Houston. That 1949 season, in which sophomore quarterback Babe Parilli led UK to a 9-3 record that ended with an Orange Bowl loss to Santa Clara, was the only one Jim McConaughey spent with the Kentucky varsity. In 1951 and '52, he lettered at the University of Houston.

14. Drafted by Packers. In the 1953 NFL Draft, Jim McConaughey was selected in the 27th round, the 319th overall pick, by Green Bay.

13. A Big Blue Oscar. So if Matthew McConaughey wins the Academy Award on Sunday night, it will be a victory for the son of a former Kentucky Wildcats football player.

12. North Carolina fans rush the court. After UNC upset No. 5 Duke 74-66 last Thursday, excited Tar Heels backers, mostly students it appeared, stormed the Dean Dome court.

11. Backlash is harsh. The reaction to seeing fans of one of college basketball's blue-blooded programs so excited over a victory that they charged the floor was vast and adverse.

10. Dick Vitale. On the game telecast, the ESPN analyst said "I'm really surprised they are rushing the court. ... This is North Carolina. This is North Carolina, one of the elite programs in America."

9. Some UK fans rip Carolina. On one popular Kentucky Wildcats-oriented web site, words applied to Carolina backers' court storming included "shame," "pathetic" and "embarrassing."

8. Kentucky fans have rushed the court, too. The Rupp Arena floor has never been charged but Cats followers have not always held themselves above such things.

7. March 8, 1973. In Joe B. Hall's first season as UK head men's hoops coach, the Wildcats and Tennessee entered the final game of the regular season knowing the winner would claim the SEC championship.

6. High stakes. In those days, only the league champ made the NCAA Tournament and there was no SEC Tournament, so the regular-season title meant everything.

5. Cats win. That night, sophomores Kevin Grevey and Jimmy Dan Conner led Hall's Cats over the Volunteers, 86-81.

4. Wildcats backers stormed the court. The March 9, 1973, Lexington Herald had a front-page picture of UK fans, most of them appearing to be students, congregating on the playing court.

3. 'Madly celebrating.' In his game story, writer John A. McGill described "madly celebrating UK students" who "danced in the aisles, played on the court and tore the nets down."

2. Safety issue. If you are against court rushing because of concern someone could get trampled or because it may put visiting players in dangerous situations, those are valid worries.

1. Not for reasons of pomposity. However, if your contention is that it is somehow beneath your program to ever be so excited about a victory that you want to charge the floor, you're taking it too seriously.

Those North Carolina kids who rushed the court displayed the spirit of fun that college sports needs more of, not less.

Mark Story: (859) 231-3230.Email: Twitter: @markcstory. Blog:

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