top of page

SHANE SHACKLEFORD: Where Were You 30 Years Ago When Cats Attacked Florida Gators?

November 15, 1986: Through the Eyes of a 13-Year-Old Future Sports Writer

If you are a Kentucky football fan, I am sure you have heard by now about the Streak. For those of you that haven’t, no I'm not talking about a popular Ray Stevens song. I'm talking about the dominance that Florida has had on the Cats on the gridiron. How long is that streak you ask?

30 years. 30 long, exasperated years.

I guarantee some of you reading this article weren’t even born the last time the Wildcats defeated the Gators in football.

But some of us were.

The date of UK’s last win: November 15, 1986.

On that date, your trusty sports guy was a 13-year-old 8th grader at Harlan Jr. High. (No, we did not have a middle school back then.) I was about 6-3, 130 pounds and the starting center on the 8th grade basketball team. I also played tight end and long snapper for the 8th grade football team until it was clear that 1) I wasn’t an end in a passing offense so I wasn’t getting the ball and 2) I was a stick with shoulder pads out there, so I left the gridiron for my much stronger friends and played hoops and baseball. I also must mention I made the Honor Roll for once in a blue moon (hope Mom and Dad see this) and began my passion for writing (Thanks Miss Nolan, RIP.)

But let’s examine this question: Where were you on November 15, 1986?

Some folks may remember. Some folks may not, some it might even be a blur and you don’t have a clue. But once again, I’m here to help.

I thought it would be great or at least fun to reminisce what was happening on that pristine date that the Cats sent the Gators home from Commonwealth Stadium (remember when it was named that) with a loss. Let’s go back, shall we?

To do this, I am going to present November 15, 1986 in groups of five. Enjoy the walk down memory lane!


  • Super Bowl XXI Champs: NY Giants. LT. Remember him? Baaaddd man.

  • NCAA Champs: Penn State beat the “camo” Canes from Miami.

  • NBA Champs: Boston. Larry’s last run through greatness.

  • NCAA Champs: Louisville. Remember when the Cards were clean and we still hated them? I do too.

  • World Series: NY Mets. The night Buckner missed the ground ball. Oh the misery in Beantown.


  • Space Shuttle Challenger explodes in flight. Remember watching this live in 8th Grade science. Awful.

  • Chernobyl Nuclear Reactor melts down. We were all in fear on nuclear fallout in America.

  • The Iran-Contra conspiracy. We as 8th graders thought Contra was a great army game on Nintendo. I bet some of you remember the code to get more lives today.

  • Dow tops 1,800.

  • Price of a barrel of oil: $11.00 Wow on both.


  • Cost of a new home: $112,000.

  • Cost of a stamp: $0.22. A book of stamps cost $4.40 and my dad fussed about it every time I went into the Post Office to buy them for mailing bills.

  • Cost of a gallon of gas: $0.93. And my papaw fussed every time we filled up his truck because “he was getting robbed!”

  • Cost of a dozen eggs: $0.87.

  • Cost of a gallon of milk: $2.22. And my mamaw fussed every time we went to “trade” because it was ridiculous how expensive it was to even go to the store!

Oh, if they could only see now…


  • Ferris Bueller’s Day Off: Classic. Act like you don’t hear Ben Stein saying “Bueller” over and over calling roll.

  • Maximum Overdrive: Machines attack civilians at a truck stop. Best use of AC/DC music in a soundtrack.

  • St. Elmo’s Fire: Great theme song, I have to say. An 80’s anthem.

  • Stand by Me: An excellent movie, even today.

  • The Golden Child: Eddie Murphy comedy. “I want the knife” is classic quotedom.

  • Gonna give you one more. Top grossing movie: Top Gun. We all love Top Gun, even today! Tom Cruise as Maverick. C’mon…


Because we all had our boom boxes and cassettes…

  • Billboard Top 10 Songs:

Addicted to Love: Robert Palmer - Classic!!

Danger Zone: Kenny Loggins - The opening let’s you know it’s a great song.

Take Me Home Tonight: Eddie Money

Stuck With You: Huey Lewis and the News

Sara: Starship - “Sara, Sara, storms are brewing in your eyes…” stuck in your head now? You’re welcome.

Venus: Bananarama

When The Going Gets Tough: Billy Ocean

Burning Heart: Survivor

Kyrie- Mr. Mister: Maybe what all star guard Kyrie Irving is named for? I don’t know.

Walk Like An Egyptian: Bangles

  • Top Albums:

5150: Van Halen - Classic.

Promise: Sade

The Broadway Album: Barbra Streisand

Welcome to the Real World: Mr. Mister

Whitney Houston: Sis killed me with this cassette in her car.

Winner In You: Patti Labelle - Because everyone has a winner in them. Daily motivation.

  • Album of the Year: Graceland- Paul Simon

  • Best New Artist: Bruce Hornsby and the Range- Great music even today. Look them up and take some in. Smooth.

  • Song of the Year: “That’s What Friends Are For”


Just to finish this column off…

  • Boston’s Roger Clemens strikes out a record 20 Seattle batters in a MLB game.

  • Top exercise: Aerobics

  • Bo Jackson, the top pick of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, chooses baseball and signs with the Kansas City Royals.

  • Heisman Trophy Winner: Vinny Testaverde, Miami. Why is this important? Because in April 1987 he is the 1st pick of, wait for it, Tampa Bay. The Bucs were 2-14 in 1986. Bo must have really known…

  • Kentucky Football went 5-5-1 in 1986. The Cats' head coach was Jerry Claiborne. Their five wins, you ask? Kent State, Cincinnati, Southern Miss, Vanderbilt, and Florida. Their five losses? Ole Miss, LSU, Georgia, Virginia Tech, and Tennessee. Their tie? Rutgers. The Gators would finish 6-5 that year.

And, so concludes our look back the last time the Kentucky Wildcats defeated the Florida Gators 10-3 in Lexington. Hopefully, I’ll write a column that has this heading:

September 23, 2017: Through the Eyes of a Little Older Sports Writer

And its topic will be the date the Kentucky Wildcats broke the streak against the Florida Gators.

My prediction: Kentucky 23, Florida 20.

Shane Shackleford is a sportswriter who lives in Speedwell, TN. You can contact him via e-mail at, Facebook @ShaneShackleford, or Twitter @shack_daddy_1.

Edward Jones AD.jpg
bottom of page