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    Saturday, December 29, 2007

    Bubbling Brooks

    Kentucky head coach Rich Brooks is a happy man. His Wildcat team is in its second straight bowl game and Kentucky fans are excited by more than just basketball in Lexington.

    His coaching career started as an assistant freshman coach while working on his master's degree at Oregon State. After receiving his master's degree, he moved to Sacramento, California where he accepted an assistant coaching job at North at Norte Del Rio High School. He returned to his alma mater as an assistant coach for the Beavers from 1965-1970.

    Brooks accepted his first head coaching position at Oregon in 1977. At his time at the University of Oregon, he won the Bear Bryant Award as the National Coach of the Year and was chosen the Pac-10 Coach of the Year. He also became the first coach in school history to take the Ducks to four bowl games.

    After reviving Oregon's football program, Brooks spent a few years in the National Football League, highlighted by two years as head coach of the rebuilding St. Louis Rams, in which the team went 13-19. After leaving St. Louis, Brooks spent four years on Dan Reeves' staff in Atlanta, and served as interim head coach for the final two games of the 1998 season, in which the Falcons went 14-2.

    After two years away from the game, Brooks was hired as head coach at the University of Kentucky prior to the 2003 season. Brooks inherited a team that was 7-5 in 2002, but was yet to feel the full effect of NCAA probation imposed because of recruiting violations committed by a prior Kentucky coaching staff. In Brooks' first three seasons his squads posted records of 4-8, 2-9 and 3-8 (9-25 overall, 4-20 in Southeastern Conference games).

    Brooks coached the 2006 Kentucky squad to a 7-5 regular season. The Wildcats earned their first bowl bid since 1999, a date with Clemson University in the Music City Bowl in Nashville, Tennessee where Brooks' Wildcats defeated the Tigers 28-20 for Kentucky's first bowl victory since 1984.

    Brooks is now set to see how his team will do against an FSU football program that is accustomed to playing in bowl games.

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