LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - Will Stein has watched so many Kentucky
football games in Commonwealth Stadium that he can recall his
family's season ticket location without prompting: Section 128, Row
On Saturday he'll lead in-state rival Louisville against the
"Growing up I was a big UK fan," the junior quarterback said.
"My mom and dad both went there so this is definitely special to
me going back to Commonwealth. I spent a lot of games there."
That's an understatement.
His father, Matt Stein, said Will went to nearly every UK home
game from the time he was born until he entered college. Matt, who
has had season tickets since he graduated from UK in 1985,
estimates Will has seen 100 Kentucky games, including road trips to
bowl games and away contests.
But Will made it clear, that's all in the past.
"Obviously, now, I'm not for them. I haven't been, so don't get
the wrong impression," Will said. "I bleed red through and
Not that playing at Kentucky was ever really an option for Will.
Despite setting school records at Trinity High in Louisville -
he threw 54 touchdown passes in 2007 and led his team to another
state crown - the 5-foot-10 didn't get any Division I offers. Even
feelers for a walk-on spot at smaller schools were rebuffed.
So The Steins turned to the first family of Trinity and
University of Louisville football for their last hope.
Will had watched the youngest Brohm, Brian, lead Trinity to
three high school titles from 2001-03 as nation's top high school
player en route to a sterling collegiate career at Louisville.
Father Oscar Brohm, Trinity's quarterbacks coach, talked with his
older sons Greg and Jeff, then Louisville's director of football
operations and quarterbacks coach, respectively, about the
possibility of offering Stein a preferred walk-on spot.
"Really the only card - not trying to make a pun - left to play
was our connection with the Brohms and the local connection," Matt
said. "That was kind of the last straw."
The Brohm trio convinced then coach Steve Kragthorpe to give
Will an opportunity.
"This has been a blessing for me," he said. "The opportunity
that I have now to be in my hometown and leading the Cardinals in
Commonwealth, it's a dream come true. Even though I never would
have thought of this probably six or seven years ago, I'm so happy
where I'm at right now."
So is Matt Stein, even though he walked onto the Wildcats
football team his sophomore year and later earned a scholarship.
His 1982-84 playing career even coincided with that of then wide
receiver and now UK coach Joker Phillips.
"I would have considered him one of the stars on the team but
he never acted like a star. He didn't think he was better than
anybody," Matt said of Phillips.
Matt joked that the transition hasn't been easy. He had never
even owned a red shirt, let alone any Louisville gear, prior to his
"That first season, especially, it was hard to get used to
wearing UofL stuff," Matt said with a chuckle.
But it's never been hard for family to support Will.
Matt and Debbie will sit in the Louisville family section
Saturday at Commonwealth Stadium, not Section 128, Row 13. Matt
knows it will be an emotional evening for him, a mix of surreal and
"I don't think pride does the feeling justice," he said.