VAUGHT: Begley, an exceptional young man

VAUGHT: Begley, an exceptional young man

Those who only know Taylor Begley for his numbers have missed knowing an exceptional young man. He might also be the first UK football player I've known who will have a special church service in his honor.

Every University of Kentucky football fan knows that Taylor Begley was an efficient placekicker for the Wildcats and had impressive numbers — 229 career points, 118 extra point conversion, 36 made field goals and 92 straight extra points. His 3.82 grade-point average in electrical engineering and even higher GPA in graduate school were nice numbers, too.

But those who only know Begley for his numbers have missed knowing an exceptional young man. He might also be the first UK football player I've known who will have a special church service in his honor.

Calvary Baptist Church in Danville is holding a Taylor Begley recognition service Feb. 11 to honor him for his athletic, academic and spiritual accomplishments.

"He epitomizes all that we are asking our young people to be and become. He has proven the value of hard work and dedication. He has maintained such a humble attitude. In a day when athletes are notorious for their on and off the field antics, here is a young man who has acted not only responsibly, but honorably throughout his career," said the Rev. Doug Wesley.

"He has carried himself with class and dignity and truly has made his pastor proud that he is a member of Calvary Baptist Church. Throughout, he has stayed close to the church. He is often found at our church on Sundays."

His mother, Mary, a die-hard UK fan, says she was overwhelmed that the church wanted to do something like this. "We are humbled by the fact that his performance, both on and off the field, is viewed to be worthy of such an honor. Our Calvary family has cheered, supported, encouraged and loved Taylor throughout his tenure as a Kentucky Wildcat. We are forever grateful for that!" she said.

One of the featured speakers at the service will be UK athletics director Mitch Barnhart. "Mitch Barnhart is a man who loves the Lord. I know he takes advantage of many opportunities to speak on behalf of the University of Kentucky and his commitment to Christianity. For him to take time away from his incredibly busy schedule to speak to our church is amazing. We are simply bowled over by this act," she said.

Me, too. It is a tremendous gesture by Barnhart, who immediately accepted the invitation when he was asked to speak.

All of us often overlook some of the good things that can come out of a bad season. Taylor Begley never got to play on a championship team or go to a bowl game at Kentucky. Yet there is no doubt he made a lasting impact on the program — and will continue to do so when UK coaches want to show a recruit how academics and athletics can go together at Kentucky — as well as the lives of many, many more in his hometown.

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