Neither rain, snow, sleet, sickness or travel distance have caused statistician Kevin Burkhead to miss a Campbellsville University football game.
His two spotters are nicknamed “The Governor” (James Rice) and “Doc” (Glen Atkinson), but Burkhead is the only person to see every Campbellsville University football game since junior varsity competition began in 1987. (Burk’s streak will reach 265 games Saturday when CU hosts Lindsey Wilson College for homecoming.)
Burkhead, a 1985 Campbellsville High School graduate who now teaches and coaches girls’ golf in the Nelson County school system, started keeping statistics by simply saying yes to Fighting Tigers’ Hall of Fame coach Ron Finley.
“What I’ll always remember about coach Finley was his love of CU and his loyalty,” Burkhead said recently. “Plain and simple, he was just a great man.”
Burkhead also reeled off, noting he did not want to leave anyone or any game out, some of “his” greats with CU football.
Greatest players: Timmy Mays, Joe Pangallo, Chris Gust, William Mulder, Jolly Genton, Tim Rogers, Rodney Turpin, Stan Warrenhuffman, Marques Cunningham (may have been the best), J.C. Savusak, Joe Don Looney, Herb Wiseman, Ron Sams, Donnie Johnson (greatest athlete, maybe could throw a baseball 90 mph), Demetrius Forney, Steve Lovelace, Greg Bridges, Mark Carroll, Greg Fountain, Calvin Bini, Ricky Gehres.
Best games: Belhaven (letting them score late to have a chance to win), first Georgetown win, Georgetown win when Timmy (Mays) ran over them in 1997 — conference championship, play-off win vs. St. Francis, Cumberlands game when Jeremy McGuire threw Hail Mary passes to beat them, Cumberland (Tenn.) U. game when (Marques) Cunningham could not be stopped and very first school win vs. Evansville in 1989 (the place went nuts).
“I also remember when we played Cumberland U. when they re-started football after Georgia Tech beat them 222-0 (in 1916),” Burkhead offered. “The game was down there with tons of people and The Today Show.
“The Union game without coach Finley was very eerie,” Burkhead continued. “The Shorter win for (coach) Perry (Thomas) on a Thursday night down there was neat.” (Burkhead and the Tigers have played games in at least 15 states.)
Best opponents: Georgetown (1991 and 2003) and the Lambuth teams in the 90s.
Top opposing players: Cory Hill, Jo Jo Jones, Eddie Eviston, Dane Damron, Cody Brown, Rod Dixon — awesome talents, all of them.