Wednesday, February 07, 2001

Guidugli reviewing UK commitment

Other Highlands players stay true blue

By Tom Groeschen
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Jared Lorenzen is staying with the University of Kentucky football program, but Gino Guidugli is not sure.

        The two former Highlands High School quarterbacks were still trying to digest the news of UK coach Hal Mumme's resignation Tuesday night. The change, with assistant Guy Morriss taking over the program, came the day before high school players are allowed to sign letters of intent with college teams.

        Lorenzen, the starting quarterback last season as a resdhirt freshman, could not be reached for comment, but his father, Joe Lorenzen, said Jared intended to stay at UK. Jared Lorenzen set several NCAA freshman passing records last season, throwing for 3,687 yards for the 2-9 Wildcats.

        Guidugli, who orally committed to UK Monday, said his first reaction is to honor that commitment. Asked what could change his mind, Guidugli said, “Not unless something drastic would happen, if they fired the whole staff.”

        Guidugli's father, Dave, said the family might review Gino's options. Dave Guidugli, speaking Tuesday night several hours after his son spoke with The Enquirer, said Gino's first choice remains UK.

        “Gino's got people calling him,” Dave Guidugli said. “He wants to go to Kentucky, but we want to make sure that it's the right fit. We want to make sure they get an offensive coordinator he can work with. We want somebody who can run that West Coast offense.”

        Gino Guidugli (6-foot-4, 215 pounds) chose UK over the University of Cincinnati; North Carolina and Purdue were the other finalists. In his senior year, he threw for 4,367 yards and 53 touchdowns for the Class AAA state champion Bluebirds.

        Dave Guidugli said that by Tuesday night, Mississippi State had called Gino back, and North Carolina and UC were also back in the chase.

        UK figured that would happen.

        “Guy Morriss called already,” Dave Guidugli said. “He's a good guy. We like him better than we liked Mumme. He's really hurt the program. That's not going to hurt just for the next week. That could hurt for the next couple of years.”

        Dale Mueller, head coach at Highlands, said it was his understanding that Gino Guidugli and two other Highlands seniors, Brett Hamblen and Ben Scott, would still sign with UK.

        Former Highlands stars Lorenzen and Derek Smith, a tight end, are two of UK's top players.

        “I talked to Derek Smith today, who is a great Mumme supporter,” Mueller said. “He said he feels great about Coach Morriss. ... He said the players have a lot of respect for (Morriss).”

        Bob Schneider, Newport Central Catholic head coach, has sent three players to UK in his 35-year tenure — Rick Muench (1969-71), Mike Robinson (1985-87) and A.J. Simon (1997-99), with Simon making the team as a walk-on for Mumme.

        “We went down to his clinic since he's been there, and I was very impressed with him,” Schneider said of Mumme. “But what a setback for UK, which was trying to build a program. I think about (former UK athletic director) C.M. Newton, and how he went out on a limb to hire him since he wasn't from a Division I program.

        “I can't help but think C.M. feels betrayed, with (Mumme) leaving under cloudy circumstances.”

        Joe Lorenzen said he talked to Jared several times Tuesday via telephone. Jared Lorenzen was trying to keep a low profile regarding Mumme's resignation, his father said.

        “He'll definitely stay there,” Joe Lorenzen said. “You'll have the nucleus of the team back, I'm sure.”

        Contributing: Tim Sullivan, Terry Flynn, Mark Schmetzer.

SULLIVAN: Kids get caught in coaches' crises
Local fans: Mumme had to go
Complete UK coverage from Louisville Courier-Journal

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