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Chasing 300

March 20, 2023  •  Leave a Comment

I’m really proud to have been part of the special alumni magazine that Eastern did on Coach Roy Kidd. Covering his career was definitely a highlight of my career. I even brought my pencil out of retirement and wrote a story about chasing his 300th victory at the end of the 2000 season and the beginning of the 2001 season. With over 300 wins and two national championships, Roy Kidd was undoubtedly one of the greatest to ever coach the game!

Chasing 300
By Tim Webb

At the beginning of the 2000 football season, as Coach Roy Kidd was inching closer to his 300th victory, I knew that moment would be the one photo that would define my career as Eastern’s university photographer. I could sense that it would be the one image that would still matter a hundred years from now. I just had to make sure I was there when it happened.

Leading up to 300, I did several photos with coach because I knew the university and media outlets would be needing images. One of my all-time favorite photos of him came from a portrait shoot that I was doing with coach and the four consecutive trophies that came from Eastern’s appearance in the national championship game, from 1979-1982. We were casually talking about him being a quarterback during his playing days at Corbin High School and Eastern, when out of the blue, he picked up a football and donned a left-handed quarterback pose with a big smile on his face. For a coach so meticulous in his planning, it was such an impromptu moment.

Counting my days as photo editor of The Eastern Progress, I had been covering Coach Kidd and the Colonels since 1991. During my time as a student at Eastern, players like Lorenzo Fields, Elroy Harris, and Tim Lester were lighting up the record books. I photographed the Colonels last great playoff run in the fall of 1991, that included a 14-3 win over Appalachian State in the rain and mud during Thanksgiving weekend in Richmond, and then a heartbreaking 14-7 loss in the semifinals to Marshall in Huntington.

IslBG

IslBG I was too young to remember the national championship years. But in a lot of ways, as time marched on and I went from a student photographer to the university photographer, I recognized that I was photographing the end of the golden age of the Kidd era. But I also saw it as an opportunity to document the end of Coach Kidd’s illustrious career, and it was an opportunity that I took seriously.

With the 2000 season drawing to a close and coach sitting on number 299, I gave up the opening morning of deer season with my family, to make the long trip to Charleston, Illinois, as the Colonels took on Eastern Illinois and future NFL quarterback and broadcaster Tony Romo. Eastern’s season came to an end that Saturday afternoon, and with it, the quest for 300 would have to wait another year. As I drove back to Richmond, I couldn’t help but be envious of all the deer hunters who were clad in orange, scattered across those Illinois corn fields. But another thought was also weighing on my mind, “Surely they will schedule a home game to open up the 2001 season so that Coach can get his milestone win at home.”

Nope. Chasing 300 wouldn’t be that easy. For me, the 2001 season kicked off with an even longer drive to Mount Pleasant, Michigan, to photograph the Colonels against the D1 Chippewas of Central Michigan University. While the Colonels took a lead into halftime, we left Mount Pleasant while still sitting on number 299. On a positive note, before leaving town, I ran into Walmart and bought a copy of ESPN the Magazine that had ran one of my sideline photos of Coach Kidd, previewing his march toward 300.

IslBG I knew that Coach Roy Kidd’s 300th win was a big deal to Eastern Kentucky University, but I was beginning to see the scope of just how big it was on a national level, as Coach Kidd was in the same conversation with coaches like Bobby Bowden of Florida State and Joe Paterno of Penn State, the only other active coaches at the time with more than 300 wins.

I knew that coach’s chances were going to be good the following Saturday when we were set to take on Liberty University back home in Richmond in the stadium that bore his name. What I didn’t realize on that long drive home in early September 2001, was that the long-awaited number 300 would happen less than 72 hours before the events of September 11th changed our world forever.

As expected, on a beautiful Saturday evening, September 8, 2001, the Colonels beat Liberty 30-7 to give Coach Roy Kidd his 300th career victory, solidifying him as one of the greatest college football coaches in the history of the game. As the sun fell and with the clock winding down, his players doused him with Gatorade, and then they hoisted him on their shoulders and carried him out onto the field.

For a few seconds I froze and didn’t know what to do because the clock was still running with about 30 seconds, and the game was still going on. I thought, “You can’t do that…you can’t do that…the game is still going on!” All I could think about was how I had driven so many miles and spent so many hours chasing 300. And now, here it was unfolding in my back yard, and I was about to miss it because I didn’t want to be a rule breaker.

Finally, I ran out onto the field and cut into the middle of the huddle as it was still moving. I popped up in front of Coach Kidd and was able to fire off two frames before stumbling backwards out of the huddle. I still didn’t know if I got the shot or not because although I had just converted from film to digital a few months earlier, I played it safe that night and took the money shot on color film. When I got the film back from a local lab on Monday morning, my heart sank when I looked at the first frame because one of the players who was holding coach’s leg was looking directly at me with his tongue stuck out. But thankfully, he had looked away and put his tongue back in mouth for the second frame. And that was the frame of film that will go down in Eastern Kentucky University history.

The celebration on the field that night was unlike anything I had ever experienced. You could tell there was a sense relief with Coach Kidd because the weight of number 299 had been resting on his shoulders for several months. You could see the sense of accomplishment on his face, along with a big smile, as he and Sue embraced on the field. It was as if everything they had worked for all those years culminated that night. And while Coach was celebrating with his family, the students were busy tearing down the goal posts. It warmed my heart to watch as they carried one of posts off of the field like an army of ants, down Kit Carsen Avenue to its final resting place in downtown Richmond at Madison Garden.

I realized that night as I was packing up my gear to go home, that Coach Kidd was never meant to win number 300 on the road. The opposing fans wouldn’t have appreciated it the way we did, and they certainly wouldn’t have torn the goal posts down. It was only fitting that number 300 was won at Roy Kidd Stadium in Richmond, making “Cabin on the Hill” that was sung that night extra special.

Chasing 300 and covering the last half of Roy Kidd’s storied career was an experience that I’ll cherish forever.

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Behind the Scenes With a Hurt Lineman

February 02, 2023  •  Leave a Comment

I love working with Wade Harris. Wade is a videographer with the Kentucky Electric Cooperatives, who spent years working for WHAS in Louisville. He got smart like the rest of us and moved over to the PR side of things. He always does a great job of recording behind-the-scenes as a I photograph stills for Kentucky Living Magazine. The only thing that I hate about working with Wade is that his camera adds about 40 pounds. Or at least it seems that way, HA! This is a video that he shot back in the summer while I was doing a cover shoot with Scott Spencer of Licking Valley RECC who fell off a pole during an ice storm because it had rotted beneath the ground and snapped while he was at the top of it. He somehow miraculously lived through it. 

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Bad Weather Makes for Good Photos

January 17, 2023  •  Leave a Comment

Former University of Kentucky and National Geographic photographer Sam Abell used to say that "bad weather makes good photos." Sam would know because he has travelled all over the world for the pages of National Geographic. I did a job for LinkBelt Cranes back in December that needed to be shot at night and needed to be a quick turnaround because it was for a trade magazine that wanted to put LinkBelt's new U3-AT model on the cover, and they were on a tight deadline. LinkBelt will be rolling this new model out at ConExpo in Las Vegas in March.

On the night that we were supposed to do the shoot, it started raining. It went between a misting rain and a light rain. To be honest, I was hoping they would call it off because I was being lazy and didn't want to get out in the rain. And I really didn't want to get my equipment out in it, because the weather had reached that fine line between using a towel and plastic bag to keep things dry, and having to go into full-blown camera rain gear mode. I've always joked that I have more money tied up in rain gear than most soccer mom's have invested in their cameras (not that I have anything against soccer moms). But using rain gear for your cameras is like taking a shower with a rain coat on. But on this night, I was able to get by with a hand towel. I was really proud of how the cover shot turned out because the rain and moisture in the atmosphere added another dimension to the color spectrum of a photo. Plus, we even used smoke bombs to add to the effect. The smoke is what caught the yellow light behind the crane. 

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Christmas Photo Ornaments

December 17, 2022  •  Leave a Comment

My wife Natalie has always done a great job collecting Christmas photo ornaments for me. Here are a few from our main tree in the foyer. 

Merry Christmas all!

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People Along the Way

November 27, 2022  •  Leave a Comment

One of the beauties of doing the type of photography that I do, is that I get to meet and photograph people. A lot of people! When I first came back to Eastern Kentucky University as the University Photographer in 1994, it was exactly two years after I had graduated. I wasn't much older than the students who were on campus at the time, and it was really hard for me to go into classrooms and work in front of people without feeling intimidated. But I soon got over it and learned that dealing with people was just part of my job. Needless to say, I've encountered a lot of people and made a lot of friends on many levels throughout my career. My kids roll their eyes when we go places because there aren't many places I can go without running into someone I know. It just comes with the turf. Here are a few people that I got to work with this year.

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Mary Beth Dennis is a phenomenal person and friend who has lead the Washington Youth Tour for the last four years, and is
now the Communications Director at Shelby Energy in Shelbyville. But one of her greatest attributes is that she married
into family from my hometown of Powell County. You can't beat that as a pedigree! 


Back in 2007, I started doing pro-bono work with an organization called Flashes of Hope. They coordinate professional photographers with major hospitals to create portraits of kids with cancer. We all volunteer for this. At the time, Jon Dubins ran the Louisville chapter at Kosair Children's Hospital. He was a UPS pilot who flew internationally, but he still found time to organize these photo shoots. Eventually, Kids Caner Alliance took over the program and created a chapter at UK Children's as well. I ran into Jon this summer at Kid Cancer Alliance's big fundraiser in Louisville. Fifteen years later, we were both still there for the cause!
   

Another pro-bono job that I do is the CASA Gala in Richmond. CASA serves Madison and Clark counties by advocating for neglected kids in court. I also had the pleasure of working with Stephanie Collinsworth Diaj, an old friend from Powell County, whom I charged a cold Ale-8 One in a tall bottle for working the event.


My good bubby Kevin Osbourn and I at the Korean War Memorial in Washington D.C.
during Honor Flight Kentucky in September. 


I've been working the Alltech ONE Conference with Donna Maloney for several years. A fun fact about Donna is that she used to serve as an administrative assistant in the White House for LBJ. When he chose not to seek the Democratic nomination for president in March of 1968, it was Donna who dictated his typed speech, as another person typed it into the teleprompter for the national television address later that evening. I get to work with so many interesting people.


I ran into Taylor Kennon while doing work for Transylvania University back in the spring. Taylor's parents Jared
and Julie Kennon are lifelong friends of mine.
  

I graduated the year-long Leadership Madison County program this summer.
 

Photo by Tim Webb     I randomly sat next to a woman named Ashley Hawkins on the airplane during Kentucky's first all-female Honor Flight in June. I was used to hearing men talk about war, but it was odd hearing two women talk about being 50-cal gunners in Afghanistan and Iraq. But it made sense because that was the first time women were active in combat. Hawkins was the first woman in U.S. history to receive the bronze star for valor, that came from a 2005 battle in Iraq, known as the Palm Sunday Ambush.


You know the Alltech ONE Conference is a top-shelf event when I hire "The Mark Cornelison" as a second shooter. 
 
Agriculture journalist Chuck Zimmerman at the Alltech ONE Conference.

Photo by Tim Webb
My son Nolan got to visit Spurlock Station, East Kentucky Power's Maysville power plant, and help me carry equipment in November. 

  Photographer Ed Roller at the Alltech ONE Conference. Ed's day-job is at Murphy's Camera in Lexington. He and I go way back.


One of my sons, who will remain anonymous, was arguing with me one day in September about the first name of Kentucky's senate president. I ran into Senator Robert Stivers later that evening at the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce's Annual Meeting in Louisville and thought this would be a great way to prove I was right, HA!

Photo by Tim Webb
In Louisville with my two favorite magazine editors, Anita Travis Richter and Shannon Brock of Kentucky Living Magazine, above. Anita, below, is ready to retire in a few days. She and I have been working together for more than 18 years. She's a dandy! I'm going to miss working with her.

*As an editor's note, if you notice the carpet in some of these photos you'll figure out that I'm at the Louisville Downtown Marriott several times a year. It's a great place to host an event. 

Photo by Tim Webb

 

 

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