Derrick Ramsey in conversation with John Huang discussing and signing They Call Me Mr. Secretary

Thursday, April 25, 2024 - 7:00pm
161 Lexington Green Cir
Lexington, KY 40503

Derrick Ramsey in conversation with John Huang discussing and signing They Call Me Mr. Secretary

Thursday, April 25 at 7pm ET 

Location: Joseph-Beth Lexington

Join us for Derrick Ramsey in conversation with John Huang discussing and signing They Call Me Mr. Secretary: Through the Lens of a Winner. Optional RSVP is below, but not required to attend the event.


“Your job is to get to the table,” my dad said to me one day when I was just six years old. “You either get to the table, or whatever scraps fall off, that’s what you’re left with. But if you get to the table, then you get to divide stuff up. You get to be part of the decision-making process. You get to decide how much goes to this person or that person.”

I never forgot those words. All my life, I’ve been trying to get to the table. This is my story.

Derrick Kent Ramsey entered the world calmly on Sunday, December 23, 1956, at five-thirty in the afternoon. There were no blaring trumpets or loud sirens heralding his arrival. In fact, the local doctor delivered Derrick right within the nurturing walls of his cozy, twelve hundred square foot childhood home—the fourth of five children born to hard-working parents, Rudolph (Rudy) and Elizabeth (Nig) Ramsey.

They Call Me Mr. Secretary takes you from Derrick’s impressionable childhood spent in segregated Hastings, Florida, up through his current role as elder statesman of both the National Football League and the Commonwealth of Kentucky. His story is one of encouragement and inspirational leadership—and how his relentless drive, endless determination, and competitive spirit culminated in the achievement of his life-long dreams.

Early on, the Ramseys were a family of star athletes, but Derrick’s parents seldom lauded their children for their athletic accomplishments. Instead, they always encouraged their kids to excel in academics. Astonishingly, Rudy and Nig fully understood the value of a college education even though they had never experienced it themselves. Derrick was a Black athlete playing quarterback in the Deep South. During the civil rights turbulence of the ’60s and ’70s, the odds of future success on the athletic field were frequently fickle and fleeting.

As you’ll see in his narrative, however, Derrick defied those odds at each stop on his way to stardom. Whether leading his high school team to multiple state championships, or quarterbacking the University of Kentucky to their best season in school history, or winning Super Bowl XV with the Oakland Raiders, Derrick’s on-the-field accomplishments became stuff that legends are made of. But stay tuned—it’s his accomplishments after his nine-year NFL career ended that make Derrick’s story astoundingly intriguing.

In this powerful memoir, Derrick pulls no punches. He addresses head on the constant tension between athletic prowess and academic achievement. He dives deep into relationships with family, friends, teammates, opponents, and adversaries. As the first African American quarterback to start at the University of Kentucky, he openly discusses the never-ending issue of racism in America.

Through perseverance, hard work, and an indefatigable will to win, Derrick led his teams to countless victories on the football field. But those same persistent qualities also made a huge difference in the lives of those he touched off the field. Very few athletes—let alone Black athletes—have cast such a positive shadow over their respective communities by making it to the table.

Whether discussing politics or religion, sports or academia, business or pop culture, it’s all here for you to peruse and ponder. And it’s all written from the heart and perspective of a man of color hoping to inspire, encourage, and motivate others to achieve their dreams also.

“I wasn’t the smartest, the fastest or the strongest guy. But I never gave up and took the work ethic I learned from home and applied it to life. It sends a message to young people—this could be you. No dream is too big.”


Derrick Ramsey is a Kentucky Secretary of Education and Workforce Development. He previously served as Deputy Secretary of Commerce under former Kentucky Governor Ernie Fletcher from 2003 to 2007. He is also a former professional American football player who played tight end for nine seasons for the Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders, New England Patriots, and Detroit Lions. Ramsey was a quarterback and tight end at the University of Kentucky, where he was part of the team that won the 1976 SEC Championship and the 1976 Peach Bowl.


Dr. John Huang is a retired orthodontist and military veteran. The award-winning author currently serves as a reporter and sports columnist for Nolan Group Media. He enjoys covering University of Kentucky sports and writing books.


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