Billy Reed’s “Conversations with Champions” – Georgetown College’s year-long series of fireside-chats designed to get at issues of character in sport – picked up more steam Wednesday night (March 2) with NBC sportscaster Tom Hammond.

If you missed the Hammond-Reed conversation you’ll be able to view it on one of the Kentucky Educational Television stations sometime this summer. See below for when and where on KET you can see the earlier conversations with former University of Louisville and NBA basketball star Junior Bridgeman and “Madame Butterfly” Mary T. Meagher, the swimming star of the 1984 Olympics.

Dr. Bill Robinson, right, President of Whitworth College, visits with Billy Reed, left, and Tom Hammond before the filming. Robinson was on campus consulting with President Crouch and others

Dr. Bill Robinson, right, President of Whitworth College, visits with Billy Reed, left, and Tom Hammond before the filming. Robinson was on campus consulting with President Crouch and others about the pursuit of Phi Beta Kappa standards.

The sixth and final scheduled “conversation” for this school year will be Wednesday, April 13 with retired Hall of Fame jockeys Pat Day and Chris McCarron. Reed, an Executive Scholar-in-Residence (along with former Gov. Martha Layne Collins), will host this event in the Richard & Karen Ward Room of the Ensor Learning Resource Center at 7:30 p.m.

Day is a four-time Eclipse winner of the Outstanding Jockey of the Year Award and nine-time winner of Triple Crown races, including his huge 1992 Kentucky Derby upset aboard Lil E. Tee. He’s now the racing industry’s representative on the board of the Race Track Chaplaincy of America.

McCarron, the 1974 Eclipse winner for Outstanding Jockey, rode six Triple Crown winners – including Alysheba in the ’87 Kentucky Derby and Preakness, and Go for Gin in the ’94 Derby.

Speaking of horse racing, Tom Hammond is already preparing for NBC’s broadcasting of the Triple Crown beginning with the Kentucky Derby on May 7. Just this week the network announced it would also have the Preakness and Belmont coverage.

Hammond will then again be the lead announcer for NBC’s Track & Field coverage of the 2012 Olympics in London this summer.
The Hammond-Reed friendship goes back to the Seventies when the former was the sports anchor for WLEX-18 in Lexington and the latter was the sports columnist for the Louisville Courier-Journal. Reed proudly introduced his friend Hammond as “up there with Bob Costas” as the primary faces of NBC Sports.

Hammond, who covered Southeastern Conference basketball games for nearly 30 years until two years ago, was not shy about speaking out about the lack of character, ethics and integrity in college athletics today. Earlier he said “television is largely to blame” with all the emphasis on money, excessive coaches’ salaries and related abuses. This fall, Hammond will again do play-by-play for NBC’s coverage of Notre Dame football.

Here are the KET air times for the Bridgeman and Meagher conversations (KET3 is the Kentucky Network):

Reed conversation with Junior Bridgeman:

March 7 – 6 p.m. on KET3
March 10 – 9 p.m. on KET3
March 11 – 11 a.m. on KET3
March 18 – 11 p.m. on KET3
March 21 – 3 a.m. on KET1
March 29 – 2 p.m. on KET3
April 25 – 10 p.m. on KET3

Reed conversation with Mary T. Meagher:

April 3 – 4 a.m. on KET3
April 4 – 9 p.m. on KET3
April 7 – 7 a.m. on KET3
April 7 – 7 p.m. on KET3
April 19 – 3 a.m. on KET1