He thinks U of L versus UK is the hottest rivalry in college sports, that Louisville desperately needs an NBA team, and he’s a proud alum of Murray State University – whose basketball team has been surprisingly ranked as high as 9th in the country, this season. Kendrick Haskins has strong beliefs about sports. Not surprising to learn that WAVE-3’s sports’ reporter and weekend anchor can still admit to being a “kid at heart.” And kids love games, right?
“I grew up loving the Cowboys,” Haskins said. “Drew Pearson was my favorite player. In basketball it was Magic Johnson and the Lakers.”
Haskins has had favorite teams and players throughout his life. One constant – the Cowboys are still his favorite pro football team. Haskins’ favorite players – Michael Jordan, Deion Sanders, Ken Griffey Jr., Shaquille O’Neil – have changed over time.
Haskins loves covering what he considers, the top rivalry in college sports: Louisville versus Kentucky.
“It is by far, the hottest rivalry, just for the simple fact, that no matter whatsport they play – softball, football, baseball, volleyball or swimming – it’s a huge deal. Who cares when Duke plays North Carolina in football? Who cares when Ohio State plays Michigan in basketball? But the UK – U of L rivalry goes across the board. The passion of the fans for their teams is rabid and can’t be matched by anyone.”
Haskins also strongly believes that Louisville needs an NBA franchise. He thinks at some point in the foreseeable future, Louisville will make this “dream” a reality.
“Eventually, a forward-thinking person will step up and help a person in leadership realize the benefits of having a pro team in this city,” Haskins said. “When you think of it, every time your team is on national TV, or is mentioned on ESPN, that’s a small commercial for Louisville. Who know much about Oklahoma City before the Thunder got there? Now you think Kevin Durant.”
Haskins was born on Aug. 11, 1975 to Mattie and Milton Haskins. He has a brother, Milton Jr., and two sisters – Rhonda and Rhoda. He said they had a strong faith growing up, being in church every Sunday at First Baptist of Jeffersontown. Haskins said he went to Sunday school and sang in the choir.
Educationally, Haskins attended Watterson, and Audubon Elementary Schools, and ended up at Fern Creek High School.
“I am still friends with a lot of people I went to high school with,” said Haskins.
An admitted “bean pole” during his teen years, Haskins veered away from playing school sports – though he did play some in church leagues. Not able to play, Haskins covered sports for the school newspaper his senior year – and his future direction was cast.
After graduating from Fern Creek High in 1993, Haskins enrolled at Murray State University. He would major in “Electronic Journalism,” which he loved, and was the university TV station’s sports anchor from 1996 to 1998.
“It’s a great school to learn broadcasting,” Haskins said. “You get hands-on training almost as soon as you get there.”
Haskins did play sports while at Murray State, in football and basketball in the intramural leagues. He played receiver and safety in intramural football, and his team went undefeated his senior year. His junior year, he played shooting guard and small forward on a basketball team that captured the Fall Championship.
Haskins graduated from Murray State and went on to intern at WLKY-32, in the summers from 1996 to 1998. From 1998 to 2000, Haskins worked at Channel 32 as a production assistant and photojournalist.
In 2000, Haskins left WLKY to work as an editor and photojournalist at WAVE-3. By 2005, Haskins was devoted strictly to the realm of sports, and strictly as a photojournalist. He was promoted to reporter in 2009 and started anchoring the news in 2011.
Haskins describes himself as “outgoing, funny, goofy, caring and a guy’s guy.” He expressed that he genuinely cares about people.
“I love sports, and I can sit around and shoot the bull with anybody,” said Haskins.
As for the best advice he ever received, Haskins said a tall man named Turner from the Ohio Valley Conference first told him, ‘As long as you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life.’
When asked if he could relive his life, if he would do anything differently, Haskins replied that he ‘would not.’
“Everything happens for a reason,” Haskins said, “and I love what I do.”
Aside from his time at Murray State, Haskins has spent his whole life in Louisville. Does he like this town?
“Absolutely. This is my hometown,” said Haskins. “It has the flavor of a big city but small town components. There’s plenty to do; and being a big sports fan, there is not a better area than being close to Bellarmine, U of L, UK and IU. The people of course . . . are very nice, laid back and genuine. They are really open, especially to people who are not from here. Go out of town, and you always seem to meet someone from Louisville.”
What Haskins does not like about Louisville, is Spaghetti Junction, the lack of an East End bridge and he would like to see more shopping areas down around 4th Street.
When asked if he could meet any historical figure, Haskins said he would like to meet Martin Luther King, Jr.
“I wonder how he kept his cool,” Haskins said, “I wonder how he could turn the other cheek. He was beaten and jailed and yet he remained non-violent. To have that conviction, to know what’s right, and to have your peers encourage you to fight back physically, but to remain true to you belief of non-violence.”
Before Haskins dies, he believes he “must do God’s will.”
“I believe you know you’ve accomplished that when you’re at peace with Him.” said Haskins. “And I feel He has a lot more for me to accomplish.”
Haskins is single, but sorry ladies, he has a girlfriend. The two have been together now for two years. They met at their apartment complex. Haskins says the key to their relationship is that she has a sense of humor, and is very understanding, because with sports, a person does not have a set schedule.
Haskins was asked what he liked best about his job.
“It’s getting to know the athletes we cover,” said Haskins. “You get to know them as more than athletes, you get to know them as people. I give a lot of credit to the coaches because they are not only making the kids outstanding players, but outstanding people.
“Also, while it’s hard, I love being on the go. There is very little down time. I could not work a 9 to 5 job.”
There is a downside to his job, Haskins reports.
“For us guys covering sports, we’re not rooting one way or the other, when it comes to U of L or UK. Fans tend to take the smallest thing and blow it up, so that you’re a fan of one or the other, or are biased toward one or the other. At the end of the day, when we cover those games when they play each other . . . we’re rooting for a great game. And whosever lockerroom we are going into after the game, we want to win, because it’s easier to cover a winning lockerroom, than a losing one.
Photo by: Bob Densford