Even though the Kentucky Wildcats have had a dream season on the gridiron, they have also learned about tragedy and giving back as well.
On January 23, 2018, a student at Marshall County High School opened fire on his classmates, killing two students and injuring nineteen others. The two students fatally shot were 15-year olds Preston Ryan Holt and Bailey Nicole Holt.
For the VRBO Citrus Bowl on Tuesday, the University of Kentucky honored Preston Cope, a diehard Cats fan, as well as his legacy by hosting his family in Orlando for the big game.
The UK Athletics department flew the Cope family down to Orlando to watch the Cats defeat Penn State 27-24. The family stayed with the players and coaching staff and enjoyed the same activities they did over the week.
In an interview with WPSD Local 6, the Cope family discussed their experience and what this opportunity meant to them.
“It’s a roller coaster. You are up one day and down the next,” said Brian Cope, Preston’s father. “We all felt that way yesterday.”
Among the high points of the trip was meeting UK star back Benny Snell and exchanging an autographed jersey for a bracelet labeled “#playlikePreston,” which Snell wore during the game and was visible in several pictures of Snell.
“The bracelet is not just a bracelet,” said Preston’s mother Teresa Cope. “It is a reminder of our son Preston and his faith and love and God, and sports, and UK.”
There is always a good time to do the right thing. The University of Kentucky and the Wildcat football program did it right. Nice job.