Whitesburg KY
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Sports in Kentucky

Kentucky notables in threes



Sports Illustrated’s
cash-in cover last week featured a LeBron James-Dwyane Wade-Chris Bosh front. Inside, SI
had a stretch to showcase its idea of famous threesomes, reaching for everything from Three Stooges to the Hanson brothers pro hockey goons.

Notable threesomes in Kentucky are far more impressive. Examples …

• The Judds. First lady of UK basketball, Ashley Judd, and singers Naomi and Wynonna.

• Muhammad Ali was first to win the heavyweight championship three times.

• Baseball Hall of Fame at Cooperstown – Kentuckians: Pee Wee Reese (Ekron), Jim Bunning (Southgate), and Earle Combs (Pebworth) of whom baseball historian Fred Lieb wrote of the Ruth-era Yankees, “If a vote were taken of sportswriters as to who their favorite ballplayer on the Yankees, Combs would have been their choice.”

• Famous Kentuckians list, three native son jockeys – Steve Cauthen (Walton), Don Brumfield (Nicholasville) and Issac Murphy (Frankfort).

• Cauthen rode Affirmed to 1977 triple crown. Became the first jockey to win SI’s Sportsman of the Year. Then he rode Derby winners in Ireland, Epsom Downs in England, and in France. Adding the Italian Derby, he is the only jockey in history to score the grand slam. Hall of Famer Cauthen is father of three daughters.

Epilogue. Polar opposite to selfcentered LeBron James, Cauthen was masterful deflecting praise. Of Affirmed … “He knew he was a star.”

• Hilltoppers. Billy Vaughn, singer, song writer and orchestra leader and Glasgow native, was a member of the vocal trio at Western Kentucky University.

• Terrible Trio at University of Kentucky in 1954: Cliff Hagan, Frank Ramsey and Lou Tsioropoulos.

• Southeastern Conference alltime team for last quarter of last century includes – Dan Issel, Kyle Macy and Cotton Nash.

• Sports broadcasting: Cawood Ledford, Claude Sullivan and Wes Strader are legends and Halls of Famers.

• When the ABA Kentucky Colonels come to conversation, the image is: Gilmore-Issel-Dampier. Artis, Dan and Louie.

‘Worldwide’ Shopped Cal

A Yahoo-Sports column July 16 illuminated anew what a sleazy and greed-driven cesspool the NBA is. And the LeBron-to-Miami Heat saga with connections to Kentucky.

First, don’t mistake commissioner David Stern for Godfather of the NBA. That title belongs to Miami Heat president Pat Riley. The ex-UK Wildcat began orches- trating a James-to-Miami coup two seasons ago, creating salary cap room.

Second, the Yahoo report said William ‘Worldwide’ Wesley was shopping John Calipari to NBA general managers last spring and wanted a commission for delivering UK’s coach, presumably to the Chicago Bulls. But “… no one wanted to hire (Calipari),” Adrian Wojnarowski wrote.

James has a strong bond with Calipari, but, Wojnarowski said, “(James) was much more interested with the ownership, front office and talent on the floor. … James understood coaches were easily disposable.”

Conclusion. Calipari could be Kentucky’s coach awhile after all, if only because nobody wants him in the NBA.

Sparkle Side Of Sports

Rineyville in Hardin County registered its under-12 boys soccer team for a 3v3 tournament in Louisville recently. Parent Greg Thompson shared a story.

“Actually, we were paired with two very good U-13 teams,” Thompson said in an e-mail. “These guys were incredibly skilled. Much more than our team could handle so it more a clinic than a game.”

Was Southern Indiana United U13 Strikers from Jeff ersonville.

“Beginning the second half the Indiana coach shouted over at us, ‘Let the little guy play! Put him in!’” Thompson wrote.’ He was referring to my 5-year-old son, Parker, who thinks he’s as much a part of our team as anyone else. He comes to every practice with his older brother and the coach lets him participate in drills.

“At first, we weren’t sure if their coach was just being sarcastic. Turns out he was as super nice as he could be. We put Parker into the game and the SIU boys were terrific sportsmen with him. They pretended to defend him but allowed him to make passes and work the ball up and eventually score the first goal of the game for our team which they counted!”

Perfect example of sportsmanship, Thompson wrote. “Wish we had gotten the coach’s name. We were just so surprised to come across a coach of his integrity. Kind of a shame when you think about it. But what a wonderful experience!”

United’s coach is Paul Duckworth.

And so it goes. You may reach Bob Watkins at

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