Bob Gain Biography
One of the best players ever to wear the Kentucky blue, Bob Gain starred at tackle four years, and was a co-captain on the 1950 team that won Kentucky’s first SEC Championship. 1950 saw Gain capture the Outland Trophy, which was a first not only in Kentucky history, but in the SEC as well. He was also named to his second straight All-America team. During his career, the Wildcats went 33-10-2, which was one of their most successful stretches in their football history. In particular, the 1949-51 teams went 28-8 and played in the Orange, Sugar and Cotton bowls, winning the latter two.
The 1950 season saw the Wildcats win their first SEC championship with a 10-1 regular-season record. Their reward was a match with defending national champion Oklahoma in the 1951 Sugar Bowl. Gain made a key play in the game, forcing a fumble that set up Kentucky's first touchdown, then kicked the extra point for a 7-0 lead. The Wildcats scored again later in the game and held off the Sooners, 13-7, breaking Oklahoma's 31-game winning streak which is currently the ninth-longest in NCAA history. The Louisville Courier-Journal described it as “The Kentucky’s greatest football triumph since it took up the game in 1881.”
The three-year All-SEC selection was chosen the best SEC lineman by the Atlanta Touchdown and Birmingham Quarterback Clubs, and was a member of the University of Kentucky’s 100th Anniversary Team.
One of Gain’s more memorable moments while at Kentucky was the day he was going to “Whip Coach Bryant’s Butt.” Gain said, “I started running off at the mouth about how I was going to challenge him to a fight and take out my frustration on him.”
Bryant recalled, “I was moving to the front door even before the door bell rang. I wasn’t sure what was going to happen, how I was going to deal with an unusual situation, but I was ready to teach him a lesson.”
“Fortunately, it didn’t get to that point and he taught me one valuable lesson. I am thankful for what Coach Bryant did for me at Kentucky. He made me a man and a better football player.”
After college, Gain became the first Kentucky player to be selected in the first round of the NFL Draft as he was taken fifth overall by the Green Bay Packers. After declining the Packers and choosing to go to Canada to play for the Ottawa RoughRiders of the Canadian Football League, he came back to the NFL the next year with the Cleveland Browns. He would stay in Cleveland for twelve years and play on six Browns teams that won the Eastern Conference Championship, and three NFL championships. He also started in five Pro Bowl games.
He was named to the West Virginia and the Cleveland Sports Hall of Fame. In 1980 he became the first Kentucky player to be inducted into the NFF College Football Hall of Fame.
We have named Bob Gain to our SEC All-Time All-Star Football Team. To learn more about Kentucky football, check out our current page Kentucky Wildcats Football. You can also read more about the Kentucky Wildcats Football History.
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