Up until a chilly day in Lexington in 1979, Kelly Dickey hadn’t paid much attention to sports or state rivalries. The sixth-grader simply needed a jacket for school, inheriting a hand-me-down from an older brother. That red windbreaker would wind up making a permanent connection for him with a certain athletic program.
“When I got to school, I noticed I was getting all these snarky comments about Louisville the city, Louisville the basketball team,” he recalls, noting the jacket had Louisville emblazoned on the back.
“They would ask me about ‘Loserville’ and ‘Blackbirds’. I thought to myself, ‘What’s going on, why all this hatred for Louisville?’ I became a UofL fan out of a civic pride for the city, having lived there a few years earlier.”
The youngster would start clipping UofL box scores from the newspaper and begin making spreadsheets in a spiral notebook shortly thereafter. He would be rewarded by his favorite team with the program’s first NCAA championship a few months later. “I was ecstatic,” he recalls. “The UK fans didn’t talk much after that.”
Not only would Kelly Dickey become a staunch UofL supporter but he would become one of the most knowledgeable people on the athletic program in the fan base. He is considered by many fans to be the last word, the go-to guy for factual information about Louisville football and basketball, from major events to the minuscule and the obscure.