On Thursday, June 2, the Kentucky Athletic Hall of Fame welcomed the Class of 2016. The new inductees included 2005 NFL MVP Shaun Alexander, Western Kentucky and Kentucky Colonels sharpshooter Darel Carrier, Bellarmine Head Basketball Coach Scotty Davenport, former Oldham County and Tennessee star Kyra Elzy, Belfry High School Head Football Coach Philip Haywood, Kentucky Wesleyan play-by-play man Joel Utley and Lakeside Swim Club. They each will have a plaque on the concourse of Freedom Hall.
Is this about as good as it gets for you?
Scotty Davenport: As a personal honor, throughout the state of Kentucky, for someone who has coached at all levels â€“ high school to Division I â€“ it is the greatest honor as an individual that I could ever dream of.
Youâ€™ve read the plaques in Freedom Hall. Did it ever cross your mind that you could have your own?
Davenport: No, never. Iâ€™ve read them since I was 9 years old, and when you go through and you read them and you grow up reading them, you follow those people and you embrace what they stand for. No, you would never dream of this in your wildest dreams. You could be the most optimistic person in the world, but this is a dream come true.
Youâ€™ve had some honors (NFL MVP), and you were Alabamaâ€™s all-time leading rusher until recently. What does this honor mean to you?
Shaun Alexander: Itâ€™s always special to do anything back where you were raised. Iâ€™ve had such a wonderful time here just hanging out with high school friends and seeing my family. This is just special â€“ itâ€™s always good to come back to my old Kentucky home.
Does it take you back to Boone County where it all started?
Alexander: I got to play for a living legend in coach Owen Hauck, and he just passed a couple months ago. I saw some old teammates at his funeral, but to come back on a brighter moment, itâ€™s special.
After youâ€™ve been away from it for a few years and you look back on what you were able to accomplish, does it amaze you?
Alexander: I get the opportunity to share a story of a thankful person. Iâ€™ve got to be around so many great teammates, so many great coaches, so many great friends that are still friends today â€“ from high school to college to pros. Iâ€™m thankful. A lot of times, people have hard times looking back; I just donâ€™t because I get to smile and think about the people that I got to be around.
Derrrick Henry got the Heisman Trophy. Couldnâ€™t he have left the all-time rushing record to you? (Henry rushed for 3,591 yards, Alexander for 3,565 yards)
Alexander: He almost smashed every single one of them by the time he got done with that bowl game, but you know, I think at Alabama, itâ€™s just like in high school and in Seattle. You try to grow a team and you pass torches, and so itâ€™s never about what you do â€“ itâ€™s about what you do when you have the torch in your hand. I did all I could do to break every record and leave that place better than when I got there, and thatâ€™s what I did. Derrick had to do his job just like he did, and theyâ€™ve got a pretty sweet running back down there now from Kentucky. Heâ€™s going to get the opportunity to carry the torch.
In the big picture of things, where does this rank for you?
Kyra Elzy: I am so honored. I am just blessed, speechless. I cannot think of what I want to say â€“Â Iâ€™m going through so many emotions â€“Â but honored.
Itâ€™s not something that you think about or set as a goal, but does it hit you when you get that phone call?
Elzy: I was on vacation when I got the call. I was working out. I started screaming, calling my family, so weâ€™re over-the-top excited.
Who are the people that go through your mind when you think about the people who helped you get here?
Elzy: My Mom is No. 1. The Elzy family. It takes a village to raise a child. Iâ€™ve had a whole village and a great support system, including Coach Mark Evans, one of the best coaches in Kentucky.
When you look at the names that you join in the Kentucky Athletic Hall of Fame, is it a little overwhelming?
Elzy: I told one of my coworkers, I said, â€˜I canâ€™t believe that Iâ€™m actually going into a Hall of Fame, the same one that Muhammad Ali is in.â€™ Iâ€™m a girl that couldnâ€™t walk and chew bubblegum at the same time, so Iâ€™m thrilled. VT