Kentucky is one of many SEC schools that has successfully invaded the state of Georgia to lure away some of the top high school football players.
Kentucky recently made a bold — and many call “brilliant” hiring — to further establish its popularity among Georgia’s high school coaches. The Wildcats recruited and signed up longtime LaGrange High coach Steve Pardue as an assistant.
Pardue will coach Kentucky’s running backs and, perhaps more importantly, help recruit players from Georgia. Pardue is well known in the state’s coaching circles after leading LaGrange to three state championships in 17 seasons. He voluntarily stepped down from the position last month and was quickly offered a college job.
“One thing that I wanted to do is hire someone that could recruit the southern part of Georgia and also had some Kentucky ties,” Kentucky coach Joker Phillips told ukathletics.com.
“Coach Pardue has been on the Georgia High School Coaches Association for a number of years and was a perfect fit for what we were looking for.
“We think that Georgia is really important for us and we wanted to branch out and get into the southern part of Georgia. He brings that to us and also has strong ties here in Kentucky being a high school player and coach here at Kentucky.”
It’s the first college job for Pardue, who was born in Kentucky. However, it may already feel a little like home with six former LaGrange football players on Kentucky’s current roster.
“I’m at a point in my career where I kind of felt like I needed a little recharge, to be honest with you,” Pardue told the website. “I had been doing high school football for 26 years. A lot of people thought, well, you ought to stay four more and you can retire. That was tempting, but my wife and I have been talking about this for about a year.
“My mom passed in January, which kind of clouded some things. This came along and I decided you only live once. It’s a chance to coach in the SEC and in my home state. That means a lot to me, the University of Kentucky does.”
Now it’s YOUR turn. What is your opinion of the hiring?