A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Jamie Vaught: Lexington native, Cleveland Browns legend Frank Minnifield building business back home

Remember Frank Minnifield? One of the top players in pro football many years ago, he is a Cleveland Browns legend who grew up in central Kentucky. Minnifield, who now has several business ventures in the Lexington area, played for the Browns during the 1980s and early 1990s. He was a three-time All-NFL choice by the Associated Press. In addition, the four-time Pro Bowl selection has been nominated...

Jamie Vaught: University of Louisville’s Jeff Walz adds to impressive resume with third Final Four

If you look at Jeff Walz’s coaching resume, it is a very impressive one already. And the youthful-looking U of L women’s basketball coach is only 46 years old. After guiding his Cardinals to last Sunday’s 76-43 victory over Oregon State in an Elite Eight matchup at Rupp Arena, Walz can now add another NCAA Final Four trip – his third one as head coach — to his resume. In 2009 and 2011,...

Jamie Vaught: March Madness may be on everyone’s mind, but baseball season is right around the corner

Even though most folks are still focusing on basketball right now with March Madness just around the corner, UK’s highly-respected baseball team has already begun its 2018 campaign on a high note, posting a 7-1 record in nonconference action going into this week’s games. As you probably remember, Kentucky baseballers – who will face Arkansas for their first SEC weekend series in mid-March —...

Jamie Vaught: Maria Taylor makes transition from All-SEC athlete to ESPN, SEC television personality

Maria Taylor is a likable television personality. If you are a sports fan, you should know or recognize her. Taylor is the one with a dynamic personality and a friendly smile, appearing as a studio host and reporter on ESPN and SEC Network. And it helps that Taylor has a very good background in athletics. During her younger days in middle Georgia, she was a two-sport standout in volleyball and basketball...

Jamie Vaught: Celebrating Kentucky’s 1978 National Championship team as Feb. 24 reunion approaches

One of my favorite basketball teams at the University of Kentucky is the 1977-78 squad which won the school’s fifth national title. And it happened while I was a student reporter at UK. I have many stories about the 1978 Wildcats, who finished with a 30-2 mark, and several of them have been published in my UK basketball books and newspaper columns over the years. With the forthcoming reunion of...

Jamie Vaught: Remembering the good old days of the colorful, innovative American Basketball Association

If you have followed my sports column over the years, you may have read some of the stories about the old American Basketball Association. I was a huge fan of ABA which included the Louisville-based Kentucky Colonels.  The colorful league had featured a couple of radical innovations – a three-point field goal (which at the time did not exist in the NBA or college basketball) and the red-white-blue...

Jamie Vaught: Knox’s breakout performance at WVU gives Cats new hope for SEC Freshman OTY honors

Until freshman Kevin Knox’s phenomenal 34-point, seven-rebound effort in Kentucky’s stunning upset of then-No. 7 West Virginia last Saturday night, the Wildcats were in danger of not having an SEC Freshman (or Newcomer) of the Year only for the second time during coach John Calipari’s nine-year tenure at the University of Kentucky. As you’ll recall, the previous SEC Freshman (or Newcomer) of...

Jamie Vaught: Kentucky sophomore Benny Snell Jr. joins impressive list of Wildcat running backs

Over the years, Kentucky has had a good handful of All-SEC or All-American football standouts who are among the school’s career rushing leaders. Remember the glamorous Wildcat stars like Sonny Collins, Moe Williams, Rafael Little, Mark Higgs, Derrick Ramsey, George Adams, to name several? I have seen them all and they are among UK’s career leaders in rushing yardage with Collins, who played for...

Jamie Vaught: SEC Nation’s Laura Rutledge follows diverse background to become ‘rising star’ at ESPN

When ESPN sent a press release back in May to announce that Laura Rutledge has been selected as the new host for the popular SEC Nation program, it called her the rising star of the SEC Network. Rutledge has the background along with her previous experience to do her television job really well. The ESPN/SEC reporter graduated with a degree in broadcasting journalism at the University of Florida where...

Jamie Vaught: Twice the fun seeing double on UK Dance squad; and some favorite sports books

When I was a little kid growing up in Kentucky, I remember seeing pictures of twins cheering for UK during the early 1970s. And I’m referring to the daughters of ex-Wildcat basketball standout Dale Barnstable who were easy to spot on the floor or on the field as Patricia and Priscilla “Cyb” Barnstable were identical blondes. Later, the TV actresses were also known for Wrigley’s chewing...

Jamie Vaught: Kentucky Miss Basketball frontrunner Blair Green to follow in mother’s footsteps at UK

Blair Green is following her mother’s footsteps to Lexington. That’s where the Harlan County High School basketball star will be playing next season as she’ll be taking the hardwood floor as a freshman for coach Matthew Mitchell’s Kentucky Wildcats. Just like her current Harlan County girls’ head coach and mother, Debbie Hoskins Green, who played for UK women’s team – then called the...

Jamie Vaught: College basketball yearbooks agree — Cal’s Cats will open the season ranked No. 6

As you know, when October rolls around, it’s basketball time in Kentucky. That means the college basketball yearbooks are out, too, and they are forecasting a banner year for the Wildcats this winter. All three publications — Athlon Sports, Lindy’s Sports and Street & Smith’s — have picked Kentucky’s men squad at the same spot — No. 6 — in their preseason rankings....

Jamie Vaught: Outspoken Finebaum has become the unofficial voice of the Southeastern Conference

Paul Finebaum? Heard of him? The name should be familiar, especially if you’re a Southeastern Conference fan. He is all over the airwaves as a colorful and controversial broadcaster on the SEC and ESPN networks with strong opinions on many issues. And he tours with the SEC Nation, the traveling pregame show that is shown live from a different campus on Saturdays, previewing college football games...

Jamie Vaught: Overcoming adversity, UK’s West feeling good about being a difference-maker

It is sure nice to see injury-plagued Darius West back in action. After sitting out three of the past four seasons, including most of his senior year at Lima Central Catholic High School in Ohio, due to several injuries as well as a redshirt year as a freshman at Kentucky, West is finally seeing lots of playing time for the Wildcats. And the UK junior defensive back is off to a good start after...

Jamie Vaught: Wildcats feel Love’s impact both on and away from the playing field

Kentucky is sure glad to have Courtney Love, who has been a productive starter and a team leader. The 6-1, 242-pound linebacker from Youngstown, Ohio, is playing well this season. Going into Saturday night’s key SEC showdown with South Carolina, the UK senior is among the conference leaders in tackles. He is ranked No. 12 with 17 tackles, including six solos, for an average of 8.5, just behind...

Jamie Vaught: Stoops’ Cats appear to be better on paper, but will results on the field show it?

Well, after several miserable years of losing, Kentucky finally bounced back last season in a respectable fashion and came up with a nice TaxSlayer Bowl campaign, finishing off the year with a 7-6 mark. ​​ And will the football Wildcats improve this fall? Or perhaps regress like USA Today’s recent prediction, forecasting Kentucky at 5-7 with a 2-6 SEC mark, finishing in a tie for sixth place...

Jamie Vaught: Lindy’s Sports yearbook joins crowd not showing much love for Stoops’ Wildcats

Several weeks ago, I wrote that a couple of college football yearbooks aren’t showing much love for the Wildcats as Street & Smith’s and Athlon Sports are predicting a fifth-place finish for UK in the seven-team SEC East Division in 2017. And I recently got a copy of Lindy’s Sports annual yearbook, which isn’t expecting a banner year for Kentucky, either. Lindy’s also has coach Mark...

Jamie Vaught: Cats lightly regarded by preseason polls, but Stoops’ troops seen as darkhorse

As we all know, UK has a football program on the rise, but the preseason folks are still cautious about the team’s outlook. Last season, as you’ll recall, the Wildcats did really well in the SEC East Division en route to their first bowl trip since 2010. Even though Kentucky lost to Georgia Tech in Jacksonville’s TaxSlayer Bowl, the Cats still finished on the winning side with a 7-6 mark, including...

Jamie Vaught: All-American infielder White fueling Wildcats’ surge to the top of NCAA baseball rankings

Evan White is one of the big reasons why Kentucky is a baseball powerhouse this spring, ranking among the Top 5 teams in the nation. The Wildcats are currently No. 4 in D1Baseball.com and No. 5 in USA Today Coaches Poll. NCAA’s RPI has UK higher at No. 3. With White – a preseason All-American who is one of the country’s top two-way players at first base — and his teammates sparking the...

Jamie Vaught: Cats’ star Evan White among large group of SEC performers hoping to be called in draft

During my early days in the 1960s and 1970s, there wasn’t a lot of media coverage in college baseball. It wasn’t easy to find articles or information about SEC baseball, including the Kentucky Wildcats. You really had to look for them hard. Remember, we didn’t have Internet during those days, either. In addition, cable television didn’t really explode in many areas until late 1970s and ESPN...