Someone who actually played at Commonwealth Stadium will be a big part of putting synthetic turf down there for the first time in the venue's history.
Doug Vescio, a member of Kentucky's Southeastern Conference championship and Peach Bowl team of 1976, owns SportsFields, which won the bid to put in turf at the stadium once construction equipment is off the field.
The contract was won by Vescio's SportsFields to the tune of $672,500.
Marc Hill, UK's executive associate athletic director for internal operations, said the timeline — which is weather dependent — has turf work starting at Commonwealth Stadium after the massive cranes are off the field in April and May.
The contract, obtained by the Herald-Leader via an open records request, stipulates that work should be completed by the end of June.
Vescio's company has done work across the state for high schools and colleges, including multiple fields at UK like the soccer and softball fields as well as the Nutter Training fields, the baseball fields and the intramural fields. SportsFields also did the field for the Lexington Legends.
Now that the contract is set, UK officials and Coach Mark Stoops will get to work selecting some of the extras, including field designs, goal posts and other amenities.
"It's everything from blue end zones to white end zones, checker boards, I'm not even sure who has the final say," Hill said laughing. "Stoops will have an opinion, (Athletics Director) Mitch (Barnhart) will have an opinion."
A conference logo is required, but beyond that, there are endless options like whether or not to color the sidelines, similar to the ones at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium.
Kentucky uses single-post collapsible goal posts, but now that the team will be entering the field from the center of an end zone, there could be discussion about going to H-shaped posts like at Louisiana State and other places.
Hill said of the schools that come out of their end zones, 50 percent of them use an H-shaped goal post. But currently available H-shaped goal posts are not collapsible. The Nicholasville Road-side goal post will remain the same.
"I'd love to see the H things; I think it would be a neat look, but I'm just one vote," Hill said.
The decision to replace grass with turf was made last summer, with Stoops saying that he desired to practice more at the place where the Cats play their games.
But the grass field wasn't able to take the abuse that regular practices might inflict.
"Our grounds crew does a phenomenal job. They work their tails off, they do an incredible job, but the fact of the matter is we can't get on that field very much," Stoops said in July.
Kentucky would become one of just five Southeastern Conference programs to have a synthetic playing surface. The others are Arkansas, Ole Miss, Missouri and Vanderbilt.
Other UK housekeeping
No date has been set for the official ground breaking for Kentucky's new football practice facility, which will be next to Commonwealth Stadium.
But plenty of ground has been broken unofficially as some initial work is done on the $45 million facility, Marc Hill said.
Soil samples have been taken and lines have been painted to delineate future utility work. No concrete will be poured until spring.
The facility is expected to be completed in the spring or summer of 2016, officials have said previously.
■ A committee has been meeting regularly to discuss plans for Kentucky's first-ever Thursday night game at Commonwealth Stadium on Oct. 15.
Hill reported that UK is getting closer to settling on outlying parking lots that will help deal with the 5,000-plus vehicles that will have to be relocated because the game is on a weeknight.
Keeneland is trying to work out a deal with a Tigers motor home group to host them as well, Hill said.
Also, don't be surprised if Kentucky's Big Blue Madness ends up being held on the Saturday after that Thursday night game, which could make for an interesting few days in Lexington.
Not even church was safe
Turns out Lexington is a pesky little town.
As Kentucky recruiting coordinator and tight ends coach Vince Marrow tells it, he couldn't go anywhere for the few days he was being actively courted by Michigan without being asked the question.
Restaurants, stores, even at church, Lexington made it clear that it wanted Marrow to stay.
So while the raise (a second significant bump in pay in as many years) was nice, and getting to stay and continue to work for his childhood friend Mark Stoops was nice, feeling so wanted in his new home was even nicer, Marrow said.
"It was basically the community," he said when asked why he opted to stay. "I couldn't go anywhere without people saying something to me. We were in church and the guy doing the offering asked me, 'What are you going to do?' So that's how deep it got. So relationships played a big part."
Marrow couldn't even find refuge from the requests to stay when he pulled out his phone. Fans rallied on Twitter to convince him to stay at UK.
"It was a lot of responses from people in the community that were hoping I would stay," he said.
Till the battle is won?
Confidence isn't something Marrow is lacking. Twice the Cats' recruiting coordinator made references on Wednesday to UK winning recruiting battles.
First it was the ones against Michigan, which tried unsuccessfully to lure him away, and whether or not the presence of Jim Harbaugh with the Wolverines would hurt UK's recent success in Ohio, which has included landing 21 recruits from there (including nine four-stars) in Stoops' first three classes.
"I heard people say Michigan is going to hurt us in recruiting in Ohio," Marrow said. "Well, we live for the battles for that, so I think we're going to do fine in Ohio still."
When asked about new offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson, whom Marrow recruited against some in Ohio recently, he said: "He's a very personable guy, a go-getter. He recruited some in Ohio, too. We actually went to battle on a lot of the kids in Ohio, so he's happy to be on this side now."
As for what regions Dawson will be recruiting now that he's at Kentucky, Marrow said that hadn't been determined yet.