by Keith Jenkins, A&S '08
Before earning two World Series championships in four years with the Boston Red Sox, first baseman Kevin Youkilis donned another pair of red socks, those of the University of Cincinnati.
From 1998 to 2001, Youkilis (or "Youk," as he is affectionately known by Boston fans) climbed into the Bearcats' record books -- owning or sharing 10 UC records, including the most games played, home runs, runs scored, walks in a career and the highest on-base percentage in UC history.
Youkilis returned to UC in November when he was recognized as one of the newest members of UC's James Kelly Athletics Hall of Fame.
"I tell you what, I'm pretty lucky in life right now," Youkilis says. "What more can you ask for? This is going to be an off-season where I just kind of sit back and count my blessings and say, 'Hey, you are very fortunate in life.'"
Brian Cleary, head coach of the UC baseball team since 1997, made Youkilis a member of his first recruiting class after discovering him at a UC baseball camp.
"I'm not shocked that he's enjoying the success that he is, because I know how driven he is," says Cleary.
Youkilis had been attending the UC baseball clinic every year since he was a little kid, all the way through his senior year of high school. Youkilis says he was hoping Cleary would give him a shot, and Cleary did just that, calling Kevin an hour after he left the camp one day during his senior year at Cincinnati's Sycamore High School.
"Brian Cleary once told my dad the greatest compliment he ever gave me," Youkilis recalls. "He said, 'Your son's going to be a millionaire some day. I don't know if it's in baseball, but he's going to make some money one of these days.'"
While at Sycamore, Youkilis helped lead his team to the 1994 Amateur Athletic Union National Championship.
Growing up a Bearcats fan, he followed in the footsteps of his father, Mike Youkilis, A&S '71, by attending UC. He also made it his goal to show his worth on the field while a part of the UC baseball program.