After being fired from his job two months ago, as head coach at New Mexico State, Hal Mumme's cruel winter took another agonizing turn, when it was revealed the former UK coach is suffering from prostate cancer.
Big Blue fans will recall Mumme's Wildcat offenses set school and national records, but when it was revealed that his program had run afoul of the NCAA, Mumme was forced out at UK on National Signing Day, 2001.
It's ironic then, that nearly eight years to the day, Mumme will be back in Lexington to address his health issues. On Tuesday, Mumme will conduct a press conference at UK's Markey Cancer Center, where it's expected he will announce publicly that he is battling prostrate cancer.
Wildcat fans have never forgiven Mumme for landing the school on probation. After all, his Air Raid offense produced Tim Couch, Craig Yeast, James Whalen and others, and helped the Cats play in their first New Year's Day bowl in 46 years. Despite losing to Penn State in the 2008 Outback Bowl, the Cats' offense had become one of the nation's best.
With so much going for him, why then, fans wondered, did Mumme allow the recruiting to become so sloppy? And, apparently, so crooked?
Despite the animosity, I'm sure Mumme is thankful to be back in the Bluegrass State, once again facing the UK fans. His wife, June, is a cancer survivor, having been treated at Markey during the Mummes' stay in Lexington. That the Mummes are returning is a credit to their family and the folks at Markey.
So in the name of closure, here's hoping the coach gets excellent treatment while he's here, and gets a clean bill of health, and that fans will finally forgive the man for his football sins.
Those are the highlights... Stay tuned.