Tom Leach, the ‘Voice of the Big Blue’, shares his thoughts about the Kentucky Guard
FRANKFORT, KY (1 April 2011) — As the Kentucky Wildcats descend on Houston, Texas, to play the UConn Huskies in the Final Four NCAA Tournament, the Kentucky Guard public affairs office spent a few moments talking with Tom Leach, the ‘Voice of the Kentucky Wildcats’.
KYNG PAO: What do you think about the reaction to UK’s success this season, especially knowing that they are being celebrated on the other side of the world by our troops?
TOM LEACH: To any Kentuckian, either by birth or by choice, the University of Kentucky basketball team pulls us all together. ‘Fan’ is short for “fanatic”. Of course, ninety-nine percent of the Big Blue fans keep that passion in perspective. They realize that there are more important things going on in the world, like the job our troops are doing. But it’s kind of nice to have that diversion of throwing yourself heart and soul into a game or a team. It’s not often that the Cats can fly under the college basketball radar. I think that’s part of the appeal of this team. Many skeptics didn’t expect the Cats to make it to the Final Four.
KYNG PAO: Tell us about the role of resiliency in UK’s efforts in this tournament. How does it affect the individual teammates?
TOM LEACH: Resiliency is perhaps the best word to describe this particular Kentucky team. Seven of their eight losses came by a total of 20 points and they won only one of their first eight true road games. A mentally weaker team would have accepted that it just wasn’t their year. Listening to the players talk in recent interviews, the theme you hear is about buying into the team concept, sacrificing individual glory, trusting each other. And the stories of Josh Harrelson and Deandre Liggins are especially interesting. Nobody expected anything from Harrelson this season and now he’s become a folk hero. Liggins was a player that Calipari was told that he should cut, but the coach trusted his own instincts and has been rewarded with a player who now regular makes big plays for his team.
KYNG PAO: Given the importance of resilience in this tournament, what does it tell you about resiliency and how it could affect our Soldiers and Airmen as they deal with the challenges and struggles of military life?
TOM LEACH: I can’t speak from firsthand knowledge about the challenges Soldiers face, but I’m guessing their ups and downs are more dramatic than what most of us experience. The stakes are so high. Setbacks are inevitable, so I would guess “resiliency” is one of the more important qualities of a Soldier. As in sports, you are defined by how you handle adversity. Who wins and who loses matters, of course, but in order to win, you have to stay in the game. That’s a lot easier said than done for a Soldier or an athlete. Resiliency doesn’t guarantee success, but not having resiliency would guarantee failure.
KYNG PAO: Thank you, Tom, for your time and your continued support of the Kentucky National Guard.
Listen to Tom Leach’s coverage of the UK Wildcats at: http://www.tomleachky.com
As a high school senior, Tom listed his ultimate career goal “to become the next Voice of the Wildcats.” Almost every broadcaster in Kentucky wants that best seat in Rupp Arena, but the dream came true for Tom. Now, he follows in the footsteps of Cawood Ledford, Ralph Hacker, Claude Sullivan, Jim Host and the others who have called the games for the Cats.
Currently, Tom is assisting the Kentucky National Guard with its Resiliency Awareness Campaign and has developed the “Tom Leach All Resilient Team”. The “All-Resilient Team, powered by the Kentucky National Guard Community Outreach,” celebrates high school male and female student-athletes who overcome adversity on their path to success. It might be an injury, a disability, a difficult family or health circumstance–something that puts an obstacle in their path that might derail someone who is less resilient.
Follow this link to see the web page regarding the All-Resilient Team: