By: Scott Springer
The Kingsgate Marriott was the host to Bearcat royalty Oct. 28 as the Legion of Excellence had their gathering and inductees into the James P. Kelly Athletic Hall of Fame were announced.
Among those going in were former Naismith Player of the Year Kenyon Martin and former UC quarterback Gino Guidugli. I was fortunate to cover the entire careers of both.
As for Martin, I first saw him in an AAU game at UC when he was a "man among boys" swatting shots down. He grew from a player that was somewhat shy around the media to a well-spoken senior by the time he left.
Sadly, I was in Memphis the afternoon he broke his leg and stood next to his locker after UC's conference tournament loss afterward when he knew his season was over. For a lesson in heart and soul, search for the UC/DePaul game in Chicago in 2000 and watch the final 10 minutes. I watched him live while covering Reds spring training in Sarasota and it still stands as one of the more improbable finishes ever.
As for Gino Guidugli, he easily is my favorite Bearcat from doing 14 years of football radio. From entering the game against Army in the second quarter in 2001 and pulling it out in his first college action, to walking off the field with him in Fort Worth in 2004 with his MVP trophy, he provided Bearcat fans with several memorable games.
Gino Guidugli's accomplishments were the building blocks for where the program stands now. Given a supporting cast, I would bet the ranch on him anytime in the final minutes of a game. Had he had access to some of the offenses that came after his career, it's hard to say what kind of numbers he would've posted.
Gino Guidugli in Brian Kelly's UC offense would probably have knocked out several lights in the scoreboard. I also was able to cover Ben Guidugli who continued the tradition of his brother in being a pleasurable interview.
It was a thrill and a half for me again be around guys that I covered in the peak of my career and it was fun seeing again so many folks that I don't get to see as much any more.
UC Hall of Fame Ceremony
By: Scott Springer
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