Just putting up an unedited version of the column that will run in the C-J tomorrow. Initially, I was running my own thoughts on this whole Trent Guy situation, but I talked with U of L coach Steve Kragthorpe for a half hour or so, and thought his input on things would be of more interest. He’s the one talking to the players, so I focused more on how he’s handling things than what I think at this point.
Kragthorpe has spent upwards of five hours with Guy the past two days. Today, he said, Guy was a lot more responsive, is feeling better, and definitely believes he’s lucky to be alive.
There’s no headline on this. The desk will write one for the print and internet version.
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University of Louisville football coach Steve Kragthorpe sat down beside the hospital bed of Trent Guy yesterday and told the junior wide receiver, “Trent, man, I am so glad I am talking to you right now.”
Guy was shot outside a downtown Louisville nightclub early Saturday morning after an altercation inside. He had intervened when some guys were touching his girlfriend in what Guy thought was an inappropriate way, Kragthorpe said. Guy and others were ejected from the club. He was on his way to the parking garage. He was shot in the back.
The number of shots varies according to witnesses, but may reach into double digits.
“Four inches in a different direction, one more shot hits home, and today we’d be talking about a player’s funeral,” Kragthorpe said. “He is not out of the woods. But that he’s here and going to recover is a miracle.”
The natural thing to do would be to lump Guy in with some others who have gotten into trouble at U of L — or all over college football — in recent months.
That would be a mistake. Several people at U of L were so upset at derogatory comments on the courier-journal.com “Story Chat” feature that they were moved to contact me about him. These weren’t athletic department folks. They were students, administrators.
One of them was Student Government Association president Rudy Spencer, who had a communications class with Guy last year.
“He’s an overall stand-up guy,” Spencer said. “We had projects together, and he was always looking for ways to help. As SGA president, you meet the whole gamut of people. He’s one who is always congenial, always welcoming, just an uplifting kind of guy.”
After meeting him, Kragthorpe immediately made Guy a go-to guy when he brings recruits into town. He’s among the players who have put in the most hours in a Habitat for Humanity project the team has undertaken.
“He’s just a great kid,” Kragthorpe said. “An unselfish guy, a guy that cares about other people.”
But Kragthorpe had this message at a hastily-called team meeting on Saturday afternoon, and will reiterate it when the full roster meets again today: Just being a good guy isn’t enough.
“Even if you’re a good, good person, if you’re in the wrong place or wrong situation, bad things can happen,” Kragthorpe said.
Kragthorpe also said he has stiffened team rules in the wake of the incident. According to the football office, curfew is midnight from now on. Attendance at bars and clubs is now prohibited.
A look at college football headlines, even from the past month, shows that it’s an uphill battle. At Arkansas, Bobby Petrino had three defensive backs arrested this spring. Georgia, a favorite to win the national title by some, has had seven players arrested this year. At Alabama, Nick Saban has had 10 arrested since taking over last year.
“You see things in the news, but when it’s someone you know, it hits home,” Kragthorpe said. “I’ve got three sons at home and I feel like I’ve got 105 in this building.”
Yesterday he told them all that being a good person or player is not enough.
“You’ve got to make good decisions,” Kragthorpe said. “When you put yourself in those situations, the outcome can be even more severe than it was the other night.”