Whitesburg KY

Sports in Kentucky

QB coach's staying is great news for Wildcats



According to an Associated Press report, the SEC raked in a record $127 million, five million more than a year before.

At the top, Kentucky basketball fans made UK first in attendance nationally. And solid in football too, fans bought tickets for eight home games and a bowl trip in large numbers.

Happy days are here again, right? Maybe.

UK’s cut is about $10.6 million from which we can be certain (can’t we?) Director of Athletics Mitch Barnhart will hold the line on ticket prices. And, after his department secures its airplane, will dispatch a chunk via armored truck across the street to President Lee Todd’s general fund. Pay hikes for faculty and staff, right?

SEC dollar break-out: $51 million from regular season televised football, $25 million from bowl games and $14 million from the SEC title game. Amazing.

Basketball. Bottom line evidence that those who said the SEC “was down last season,” didn’t know what they were talking about, hoops generated a whopping $38 million, $21 million from six SEC teams in the NCAA Tournament.

The SEC’s record profits have league presidents abuzz on ways to make more money. Maybe dump ESPN, CBS and Raycom and establish an SEC television network.

Stay tuned. Meanwhile, a toast to fans.

Dis ‘n Data – Mr. Basketball 1988 J.R. VanHoose (Paintsville), and girls’ coach at Phelps High School, will be inducted into Marshall University’s Sports Hall of Fame in August.

– First thoughts when Louisville coach Steve Kragthorpe dismissed running back George Stripling last month? A stroke for discipline. And, early opportunity for Victor Anderson.

– Best off season news for UK football nobody’s talking about: Keeping quarterback coach Randy Sanders. With Mike Hartline and Curtis Pulley pressing to impress Sanders, the result should spell success for UK and big payday head job for Sanders.

– Yo, Mitch Barnhart. Whatever happened to the Cawood Ledford Scholarship Fund? What former student-athletes are using it?

Readers (Right) Write

• About Louisville-Western basketball game in Nashville ..

Bill, Lexington: “… (why is) Louisville playing Western at the Gaylord Center? Is this Rick Pitino’s way of saying ‘UofLwill play Western at Western, but on a neutral court.’? Makes no sense to take money out of state.”

Comment: A bigger gate at Gaylord. And, will be (recruiting) exposure for WKU since ESPN almost certainly will air it. Further, WKU director of athletics Wood Selig, who harangued at UofLin a schedule drop last time, has since become enlightened to the worth of political correctness knowing his athletics program and D-I football budget demands are like prices at the gas pump.

• About Rajon Rondo …

Gil in Louisville: “What do you critics say about Rajon Rondo now as the Celtics head for the NBA championship series?”

Comment. Rondo is where his game belonged all along.

• About basketball recruiting at Kentucky …

Bob in Henderson: “What is Kentucky’s recruiting trouble? Gillespie was supposed to be a good recruiter, but is he? Did he really want (Scotty) Hopson or was that effort just to please fans?”

Comment. Curious thing, Gillespie’s failure to recruit current top prospects. One reason is UK’s coach pursuing eighth and ninth graders can scare off high school junior and senior prospects in what amounts to recruiting ‘over’ kids who haven’t signed yet.

Hopson? Not interested in UK. Another kid with one goal … quickest way to the NBA.

‘All-Transfer’ Team

University of Kentucky will lose Derrick Jasper, Mike Williams and maybe Mark Coury to transfer from its current basketball roster.

Who would be on your All- Transfer roster?

Transfers in: Adrian Smith 1958, (Miss. JUCO), Kyle Macy 1978 (Purdue), Derek Anderson, 1997 (Ohio State), Patrick Sparks, 2006 (Western), Travis Ford 1994 (Missouri), Bob Burrow 1956 (Tex. JUCO), and Mark Pope, 1996 (Washington).

Transferred out: Todd May, 1982 (Wake Forest), Dwight Anderson, 1979 (Southern Cal), Chris Mills, 1989 (Arizona), Bob Tallent, 1966 (George Washington), and Jasper.

Epilogue: Most tragic transfer out in UK hoops history? First black man, Tom Payne, 1971. Says here, if he had been looked after and NBA predators kept away, the 7-1 center who averaged 16.9 points as a sophomore, would not only be listed with Bill Spivey, Cliff Hagan and Dan Issel, Tom Payne would not be in prison.

Mitch Barnhart

University of Kentucky’s director of athletics…

CHEERS. Oversaw and kept clean an athletic department that earned UK $10.6 from the Southeastern Conference’s largess.

JEERS. Baseball Bat Cats won 44 games, played 32 home dates and the UK band performed at none of them?

Great Movie Lines

In Kevin Costner’s “Field of Dreams” who played The Voice who rendered the classic line: If you build it, he will come.”?

Bonus: The Costner and James Earl Jones scene at Fenway Park, in the crowd nearby are two extras who have become top marquee Hollywood stars. Who are they?

Last week in: A League of Their Own, Tom Hanks said “There’s no crying in baseball,” to Bitty Schram who played Evelyn Gardner.

Parting Shot

Mike Piazza went quietly last week, retiring from baseball after 16 seasons. He did it by press release. As Sports Illustrated said, “no cameras, no crying.”

Piazza was beaned once by Roger Clemens who later threw a broken bat at him. Today, Piazza is quietly on his way to Baseball’s Hall of Fame (2013). Clemens is quietly suffering in disgrace.

And so it goes.

Have a point-of-view you would like to share? Write Bob Watkins at Sprtsinky@aol.com

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