By LARRY VAUGHT
There’s no way I can put into words what the retirement of my buddy, WLEX-TV sports personality Alan Cutler, means. There’s just no one quite like Cutler — and I mean that as a compliment.
I’ve known him since 1981 when he came to Lexington with that New York swagger. He’s always been a friend and someone I admired from the start for one reason —his work ethic. No matter what hair style he might have had — and Lord knows he had so, so many — one thing never changed. Nobody outworked him.
But I also think the Cutler many of you saw and heard was not always the Cutler that coworkers knew and loved.
That’s why I want to share what some of those who worked with Cutler and know him far, far better than me remember about him and want you to know.
Today Lee Cruse, a morning field anchor who also works as a comedian, has a unique memory involving Cutler and major league pitcher Roger Clemens.
“The Hall of Fame pitcher (he’s not yet been voted into the Hall) was coming back to baseball and was going to make his debut right here in Lexington (with the Lexington Legends). I don’t think he had spoken to the national media yet but somehow our Alan Cutler had got him to agree to talk with him,” Cruse said. “Probably using the same irritating perseverance that drives the rest of us crazy.
“This is a story ESPN would covet and we had it. Just so happened Alan and his photographer rode to the stadium in a live truck. When the interview began a barn fire broke out in Versailles and the powers that be (at the station) wanted and needed the truck and photographer pronto.”
Remember, the Clemens interview would be a national story. Cutler knew that. He knew viewers would want to see the story.
“Alan decided he had the interview of the century and was not to be denied, so he ignored the impatient texts, the panicked calls and turned his phone off,” Cruse said. “He came back to the station, endured the barrage of screams from his bosses and came away with the interview the rest of the world wanted.”
That’s vintage Cutler. When he gets on a story, he does not let go. He believed viewers wanted all the information he could gather and he worked tirelessly to do just that.
“If Alan changed the landscape (of Lexington TV sports), he did it by his tutelage. So many young people have cut their teeth under his guidance and went onto great things,” Cruse said.
True. But here’s something Cruse said that I really had not thought enough about.
“I know this, Lexington changed him. When the boy from New York was growing up he never imagined his heart would be locked into the commonwealth,” Cruse said. “But it is undoubtedly.
“He kept is tough New York exterior but he loves his old Kentucky home because Cutler is softer on the inside more than anybody I know and I love that about him.”
Cutler is. He just doesn’t always like to let you know it.
“My favorite Cutler memories always involve when he asks me to come fix something that turns out to be insanely easy and he's like, ‘That's it,’” Melissa Ratliff, executive producer of digital content for WLEX, said. “Also, every time he thanks me... he looks around to make sure no one can hear him first.”
After all, Cutler needed that swaggy New York style to chase stories at times and couldn’t let others know he was the softie that Cruse, Ratlliff and others at WLEX know he is.
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