The Thin Thirty refers to the 1962 football team at the University of Kentucky. Coached by Charlie Bradshaw, a Bear Bryant disciple, the team was thinned by his brutal methods from 88 players to just 30. While the team's record was just 3-5-2, it did include a dramatic victory in the season finale against Tennessee in Knoxville, 12-10. The winning margin was provided by a field goal by Clarkie Mayfield, one of the heroes of the game, who later died in the Beverly Hills Supper Club fire on May 28, 1977.
Players on the Kentucky team included Tom Hutchinson, Dale Lindsey, and Herschel Turner, all of whom later played in the NFL. Bob Kosid later played in the CFL. Two assistant coaches on the 1962 Kentucky staff, Leeman Bennett and Chuck Knox, later had success as NFL head coaches. Lindsey went on to become a successful NFL assistant coach, notably working with Brian Urlacher and the Chicago Bears.
The 1962 Kentucky football team is the subject of a book, The Thin Thirty, by Shannon Ragland, published in August, 2007. The focus of the book is the '62 roster of players under first-year coach Charlie Bradshaw — a Bear Bryant disciple — who ended up thinning the team from 88 to 30 players via his brutal conditioning tactics and exploitation of players. It places this in the backdrop of racial and economic tensions of the South and its impact on several players.
The book asserts that several members of the 1962 team became involved in a gay sex scandal involving actor Rock Hudson, and that a crucial game was fixed that year. It then finished by following up with what happened to the players afterward.
The Thin Thirty received reviews in several publications, including the Voice-Tribune, the Charleston Post & Courier, the Louisville Courier Journal and by Professor Weldon Johnson, the author of Chokehold.
Jon Johnston from CornNation praises the research and epilogue, but finds the back story at 100-pages was long, the writing was redundant at times, and the assertion of the Xavier game being fixed without evidence "damages the credibility" of the book.
- University of Kentucky (2007). "Kentucky Football History and Records". University of Kentucky. Archived from the original on September 30, 2007. Retrieved October 3, 2007.
- James Barcus (2005). "J-Club Remembers". The Chanticleeer. Retrieved October 3, 2007.
- Shannon Ragland (2007). "The Thin Thirty - Excerpt" (.PDF). The Set Shot Press. Retrieved October 3, 2007.
- Mike Mooneyham (2007). "Book details scandalous activities of gay wrestling promoter". Charleston Post and Courier. Retrieved October 3, 2007.
- Eric Crawford (2007). "Book recounts abuse at UK under Bradshaw". The Courier-Journal. Retrieved October 3, 2007.[dead link]