University of Kentucky Wildcat Coach John Calipari came through with a big win, but it
wasn’t on the basketball court…
special in last week’s Times Journal included a feature story
on UK “superfan” Nell Ward, of Russell Springs.
Nell, who turned 99 last month, has spent decades cheering on the Cats, and
Citing her unwavering devotion, her family and friends set out to share Nell’s story, and
hopefully catch the attention of Coach Cal.
The Times Journal’s Lisa Coffey spent a couple of hours interviewing Nell, and poring
over her mammoth collection of UK Wildcat ephemera.
“I just love her,” Coffey said. “She was wonderful to meet and spend time with.”
As Nell’s story was about to go to press, Lesia Logdson, VP Reader Services with Jobe
Publishing, Inc., (Owner/Publisher of The Times Journal), noticed the front page story,
and had an idea.
Logsdon knew someone she could contact to…get the ball rolling.
By the time the newspaper came out, Nell had received a special package from the
University of Kentucky.
In it was a personal letter, and a signed, photograph to Nell from Coach Cal.
“It was brought to my attention that you recently celebrated your birthday,” the letter said
“I would like to take this opportunity to personally wish you a very Happy Birthday! I
know what a great, devoted fan you are. The team and I appreciate your loyal support.
It is fans like you that make Kentucky Basketball so special.”
The letter, on UK Men’s Basketball stationary and addressed “Dear Nell” was also
signed by Calipari.
Thrilled with the special recognition, Nell posed with the treasured photo and letter-and
toasted Coach Call with an Ensure drink so they can “both have more energy coaching
- EDITOR’S NOTE-One caveat to this ultimate, “feel good story”-we originally
published Nell started keeping stats on the Cats in 2003, when even more
amazingly, she actually began in 1978!
We’ll draw the foul on that one.