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Sweet memories 70 years in the making

March 17, 2016 FieldsColumn

Kenny Rice, left, with his dad Reginald.

Kenny Rice, left, with his dad Reginald.

BY MIKE FIELDS (March 17, 2016)

Reginald Rice saw his first Sweet Sixteen 70 years ago at the Louisville Armory when he was a student at Garrett High School in Floyd County. 

Since 1946, Rice has missed only a handful of state tournaments — usually when flooding causes havoc back home. The 87-year-old basketball fan was in his customary lower-arena, front-row seat Wednesday for the 99th renewal of the Greatest Show in Hoops. He was sitting with his son Kenny, a long-time sportscaster and, like his dad, a Sweet Sixteen junkie.

Father and son have been pretty much regulars at the state tournament since the mid-1960s. Kenny missed a few, most of them when he was working at WTVQ in Lexington and had to follow UK in the NCAA Tournament.

Reginald Rice said he loves the state tournament “atmosphere” and chatting up old friends and making new ones.

He played basketball for the Garrett Black Devils in the mid-1940s but they didn’t make the Sweet Sixteen until 1948, after he graduated.

Of course, he went to the state tournament that year to watch undefeated Brewers take the state title — the last time Kentucky has had an unbeaten boys’ champion.

Reginald Rice said his favorite memory of that Brewers team was Coach McCoy Tarry giving his players hot chocolate during timeouts.

That’s the charm of the Sweet Sixteen. Lifelong fans making memories for a lifetime.


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