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Kentucky Football: Remembering Trent DiGiuro

It is said that time is like a river.  It carries us with it from place to place, from person to person, from adventure to adventure.  Sometimes, it moves quickly and frantically with powerful hydraulics and hidden dangers beneath a turbulent surface.  Others it is calm, languid and slow.

Like the water of which rivers are composed, time washes away memories as it moves us along.  Never completely, to be sure, but like old jeans that have faded with cleaning and use, the color is never quite the same, even if they are more comfortable.

Time has taken us comfortably away from the tragic events of July 17th, 1994, at 570 Woodland Avenue in sleepy Lexington.  At approximately 2:40 AM on that summer morning, while sitting in a leather recliner on the front porch of a house he was renting and right in front of friends celebrating his 21st birthday, Trent DiGiuro was killed by a bullet to the brain from the rifle of an unseen and cowardly sniper.

It is not within the scope of this article to discuss the subsequent accusations, the various trials, or revisit all the events before or after this sad affair.  Those who have forgotten or were not around may, with a simple Google or Bing search, find out all the information they want on the actors in this Shakespearean tragedy.  In the end, the result is the same -- a young student athlete was wrongfully and viciously killed on his 21st birthday in an easy chair on his front porch.  Trent's parents were deprived of their son, and his siblings their brother.  The world is a poorer and sadder place without him, and that is a fact.

DiGiuro's football legacy was one of hard work and sacrifice.  He was a walk-on at Kentucky, eschewing scholarship offers from smaller schools to play Division I football.  He worked his way up through the ranks of Bill Curry's Wildcats, eventually earning the starting right guard position in the spring for the 1994 season.  That summer, before suiting up as a starter in the fall, his life would be tragically ended by a sniper's cruel efficiency.

DiGiuro was not only a football player, but a student athlete in the truest sense of the word.  Unburdened by a scholarship, DiGiuro immersed himself in his studies and got good grades, achieving the honor of being named to the SEC All Academic Team in 1993.  His studies were in business and it is said that he had an eye on law school.  By any measurement, DiGiuro's time at Kentucky was a wonderful success story, the likes of which we all like, but too rarely have the opportunity, to hear about.

Hope often springs from the darkest seed, and in this case, DiGiuro's memory is kept forever alive and vibrant by the Foundation named after him.  The Trent DiGiuro Foundation was established soon after Trent's death, and since 1995 has been providing scholarships for deserving athletes at the University of Kentucky.  The foundation endows two separate scholarships, the Trent DiGiuro Memorial Scholarship which goes to a walk-on football player, or in case of an NCAA limitation, a student manager or trainer in the football program.  Since 1995, there have been 16 recipients of this scholarship, the most recent being Justin Luck, a current walk-on, who has exhausted his eligibility and is using the generous scholarship to complete his education.

The second scholarship endowed by the foundation is the Trent DiGiuro Student Athlete Scholarship.  It awards a graduating senior from Oldham County, North Oldham and South Oldham High Schools.  The scholarship has been awarded at South Oldham since 1996, Oldham County since 2000, and North Oldham since 2004.

Through this foundation, the memory of DiGiuro and the determined effort he brought to the University of Kentucky are continued in the work of the Trent DiGiuro Foundation and its beneficiaries.  Since 1995, deserving football walk-ons, student support staff, and graduating high-school seniors have received recognition and financial assistance for their own determined effort, a reflection of the namesake of the Foundation and the loving memory of its supporters.

In William Shakespeare's play Julius Caesar, Marcus Antonius said to the citizens of Rome after Caesar was slain by Marcus Brutus, "The evil that men do lives after them; the good is oft interred with their bones."  Thanks to the Trent DiGiuro Foundation, the good that was DiGiuro's life has not been buried, but lives on after him.  Memories of past tragedy may haunt us, but the good deeds of the present and the relentless passage of time keep those jeans faded, and comfortable.

But we must never let our memories fade too far.