Richie Farmer Returns To Rupp To Watch His Son Play In Sweet 16

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Richie Farmer returned to the place where he became a basketball legend, Rupp Arena in Lexington.

He was there to watch his son play for Clay County in the Boys’ Sweet 16 Basketball Tournament.

The same school he led to a state championship nearly 30-years ago.

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His in-person appearance Thursday night almost didn’t happen.

Farmer was supposed to be in federal prison in West Virginia, but was allowed by a judge to report a week later so he could watch his son play in the tourney.

Farmer said he wasn’t granted the delay to report because of who he is, but that it was a practice that is done on a regular basis for soon-to-be inmates.

After his high school playing days were over, Farmer added to his legend by becoming one of the beloved ‘Unforgetables’ at the University of Kentucky. 

His jersey number hangs in the rafters of Rupp Arena.

He parlayed his basketball success and popularity into two-terms as Kentucky’s Agriculture Commissioner.

It was during his tenure as ag commissioner that he turned the office into his personal piggy bank, using taxpayer money for his own personal use.

As part of a plea deal, he was sentenced to 27-months in prison.

He is scheduled to report on Tuesday, March 25th. 

Farmer said he went to the game for his son’s sake, adding that he didn’t want him to be distracted by having his dad in prison.

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Tom Kenny joined ABC 36 News in June of 2001 as a General Assignment Reporter. A native of Peoria, Illinois, he graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communications from Western Illinois University. He currently anchors ABC 36 News at 5pm, 6pm and 11pm. Tom has more than three decades of experience in broadcast journalism. He is the only broadcast journalist in Lexington television history to be honored with a national Edward R. Murrow Award. Tom was recognized for reporting on a story that gave a rare glimpse inside the secretive world of the Federal Witness Protection Program. He has won an Emmy Award for anchoring and another for investigative reporting, exposing the deceit and potential danger of online diploma mills. Tom has ten other Emmy nominations to his credit for investigative and feature reporting. He has won Associated Press Awards for reporting and anchoring. He has won two Addy Awards for excellence in promotional writing. Tom was the first broadcast journalist in Lexington TV history to be awarded the Silver Circle Award by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. It is one of the highest honors given by NATAS. It recognizes television professionals who have performed distinguished service within the television industry for 25-years or more. Tom was honored for more than his longevity, he was recognized for making an enduring contribution to the vitality of the television industry and for setting high standards of achievement. He was also recognized for giving back to the community as a mentor, educator and volunteer. Tom also has network broadcast experience in radio and television having worked as a sports reporter for ESPN, Sportschannel, NBC Sports and the Breeders’ Cup. He was also the studio host and halftime producer for CBS Radio Sports’ College Football Game of the Week and covered the NFL for One-On-One Radio Sports. Prior to joining WTVQ-TV, Tom was Vice-President of the Houston Astros Minor League baseball team in Lexington. He was part of the original management team that brought professional baseball back to the Bluegrass after a nearly 50-year absence. Tom has lived in Lexington since 1984. In that time, he has been heavily involved with dozens of charity and civic groups, with a special emphasis on helping Veterans. He can be reached at tkenny@wtvq.com. You can also follow Tom on Facebook www.facebook.com/TomKennyABC and Twitter @TomKennyNews. Just click on the links at the top of the page.