STEVE FLAIRTY: Ex-WKU Quarterback & Former UK Assistant David Armstrong Now "A Rock Star&qu
Editor's note: Steve Flairty's column first appeared in Lexington's KyForward.com.
No one should ever question David Armstrong (pictured with his family), former Western Kentucky Hilltopper quarterback, UK coaching staff member, and now a football recruiting scout’s willingness to pay his dues—and to be patient–in order to find eventual lasting success.
That practice started as a youngster growing up in his Brentwood neighborhood in Nashville, where David’s buddies were star-quality athletes who had a competitive nature, like him. He was no slouch in ability, either, but he understood that he could learn from others with more knowledge or talent.
“My best friend, Clay Whitehurst, got a scholarship to play at Alabama,” he said. “Right across the street from him was a guy who got a scholarship to Georgia, Jimmy Hockaday. My brother went to the Naval Academy and finished up at East Tennessee State as a quarterback.”
Competition brought out the best in them. “That’s how we got good at it,” Armstrong added.
He also was the son of a college football player and coach. His father played at Memphis State and coached for 12 years at Arkansas State, Southern Mississippi and Vanderbilt. David learned that mobility is often a necessary part of advancing a career, a practice he demonstrated later in his professional initiatives.
He became an all-state quarterback at Brentwood and was also recognized as a third-string mid-state basketball player. There was interest from colleges for his football services, though not overwhelming. He went on an official visit to the University of Cincinnati, a Division I school, but was not offered a scholarship.
“I didn’t quite have the height (only six feet) they wanted,” he said.
He also garnered a look from Vanderbilt, along with Division 1-A schools such as Middle Tennessee State and Tennessee Tech. When the smoke cleared, he landed on scholarship not far away from Nashville in the town of Bowling Green, at Western Kentucky, and it proved to be a wonderful experience for him.
“I loved WKU,” he said. “I developed lifetime friendships on the football team and was in a fraternity my last two years. My last two years there the team started coming back after it had been down for a while.”
But oh, that thing about paying dues and being patient.
“I red-shirted my freshman year and ended up being at Western for five years,” he explained. He had the challenge of playing behind an outstanding quarterback, Jeff Cesarone, and so he saw limited action until his senior year after Cesarone graduated, during the 1988 season.
He started that year—as a left-handed quarterback–and led the Hilltoppers to a 9-4 record and a spot in the Division 1-AA playoffs, where they were defeated by Eastern Kentucky.