A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Billy Reed: Happy to debate facts vs facts with anyone, but to be clear — Adolph Rupp was not racist

Naively, I now realize, I thought I would never again have to write the column about whether Adolph Rupp was a racist. The facts simply do not support the notion that he was. Period. Yet once again, 43 years after his death, the legendary University of Kentucky basketball coach is being attacked by some opportunists who refuse to let the facts get in the way of their prejudices and perceptions. Inspired...

Dick Gabriel: Let me interrupt your misperceptions about Adolph Rupp with some facts on the race issue

Given the climate in America today when it comes to race relations, it was inevitable that a debate would open up about Rupp Arena and its namesake. To many, the thought of Adolph Rupp still kindles the notion not of basketball, but of racism and segregation.
 It did in me, starting in the mid-‘60s when I began following college basketball. I couldn’t stand the notion of the guy coaching a team...

UK coaches have served as father figures to many players — on and off the court — for decades

By Keith Taylor Kentucky Today College coaches are charged with more than just teaching their respective sports. They also serve as mentors to student-athletes, many of whom are thousands of miles away from home. Throughout history, the University of Kentucky has had some coaches who have served as a father figure to their players and juggled managing the team on and off the court and the field with...

Jamie Vaught: UK great ‘Wah Wah’ Jones played for legends Bear Bryant, Adolph Rupp — at same time

(Editor’s Note: During our national COVID-19 crisis, longtime sports columnist Jamie H. Vaught will be writing about the ex-Wildcats who were featured in one of his first four books on UK basketball, using excerpts that were published in his out-of-print volumes. His latest and fifth book, titled “Chasing the Cats: A Kentucky Basketball Journey,” was released in late February 2020.) It has been...

Jamie Vaught: After sassing Adolph Rupp, Hall of Famer Louie Dampier believed UK career was over

(Editor’s Note: During our national COVID-19 crisis, longtime sports columnist Jamie H. Vaught will be writing about the ex-Wildcats who were featured in one of his first four books on UK basketball, using excerpts that were published in his out-of-print volumes. His latest and fifth book, titled “Chasing the Cats: A Kentucky Basketball Journey,” was released in late February 2020.) Long before...

Jackson woman, 95, doing her part by making masks during pandemic to help Breathitt County residents

By Keith Taylor Kentucky Today Delma Morgan will celebrate her 96th birthday on July 5, but she considers her age just a number. She showed as much when during the COVID-19 pandemic struck the state nearly two months ago. In an effort to protect her family members, Mrs. Morgan began making masks and did so with such success that her masks reached beyond the family tree. “I’m just doing it for my...

Jamie Vaught: Nearly 35 years later, Cotton Nash still gets autograph requests for Sports Illustrated cover

(Editor’s Note: For the next few months during our national crisis, longtime sports columnist Jamie H. Vaught will be writing about the ex-Wildcats who were featured in one of his first four books on UK basketball, using excerpts that were published in his out-of-print volumes. His latest book – fifth one in a series – was released in late February 2020.) Cotton Nash, a three-time All-American...

Jamie Vaught: Latest Pete Rose book brings back pleasant memories of Roberto Clemente jersey

With another book about Pete Rose which came out earlier this month, it brought back a couple of old memories that I have with the former Cincinnati Reds star. One memory took place in 1968 when my beloved Pittsburgh Pirates and superstar Roberto Clemente visited the Reds for a weekend series at Crosley Field. Before going to the ballpark for Sunday’s game, my parents and I went for a breakfast at...

Jamie Vaught: It’s OK to be disappointed by UK’s loss to Auburn, but stop whining about John Calipari

Interestingly, a small bunch of so-called “Monday Morning” coaches in the Big Blue Nation as well as some opinionated media folks have been complaining and howling about basketball coach John Calipari and his favored Kentucky Wildcats for failing to make a coveted trip to the 2019 NCAA Final Four after Sunday afternoon’s heartbreaking overtime loss to Auburn. Sure, we are saddened with the painful...

Kentucky by Heart: As state is abuzz with basketball, some new hoops books to highlight ‘annointed time’

By Steve Flairty KyForward columnist Basketball is buzzing in Kentucky these days, with both high school and college basketball tournaments in full throttle. Some might call this annual sports season focus as a state birthright… our “anointed time.” Being in the spirit of such mania, I’ve recently read a couple of good hoops books, one a biography on Adolph Rupp, the iconic University of...

Kentucky by Heart: James Duane Bolin pens first in-depth, critical biography of ‘Baron of the Bluegrass’

By Steve Flairty KyForward columnist There was a day when collegiate basketball in America was “just a sport,” when college gyms were marginal — often smaller and less attractive than those of today’s high schools — and most followers did so from sources via radio, newspapers, and information from friends. No cable TV, no ESPN, no 24-hour coverage… and March Madness as we know...

Jamie Vaught: UK hoops rivalry with Tennessee has produced numerous memorable battles

Over the years, there have been numerous memorable Kentucky-Tennessee basketball battles. In this heated rivalry series, UK fans will remember UT coaches or stars like Ray Mears, Bernard King, Ernie Grunfeld, Rodney Woods, Dale Ellis, Don DeVoe, to name several. They all gave Kentucky coaches Adolph Rupp and Joe B. Hall plenty of disappointments. Both of them had a hard time competing against Mears,...

Kentucky by Heart: No shortage of inspirational quotes attributed to well-known Kentuckians

Editor’s Note: This column originally appeared at KyForward on January 3, 2017 By Steve Flairty KyForward columnist My dad used to say to me when I was growing up: “When in doubt, don’t.” I forgot his source for that bit of advice, but I have often recalled those words at appropriate times (though, frankly, I’ve not always heeded them). Fact is, focusing on people’s words can certainly...

Jamie Vaught: Book about Boston Celtics glory days brings back memories of UK great Frank Ramsey

I have just finished reading a remarkable and enjoyable basketball book about the glory days of the Boston Celtics and its primary stars Bob Cousy and Bill Russell. Titled “The Last Pass: Cousy, Russell, the Celtics, and What Matters in the End,” the new 360-page hardcover (Penguin Press, $28) by Gary M. Pomerantz is definitely one of the best ones that I have read in a long time. Since the volume...

Jamie Vaught: Many years later, Dan Issel still an all-time favorite among Kentucky basketball fans

This month will mark the beginning of my 43rd year in covering the storied University of Kentucky basketball program as a sportswriter. Yes, you read it right. It will be 43 years when the 2018-19 campaign ends during the March Madness. It’s been that long and my press row colleagues at Rupp Arena are sure getting younger every year. Hard to believe, huh? During the mid-1970s, I began covering...

Former Kentucky men’s basketball All-American, Hall of Famer Billy Ray Lickert dies at age 78

Billy Ray Lickert, a Helms Foundation All-American in 1961 and three-time All-Southeastern Conference player for the Kentucky men’s basketball team, died Wednesday. He was 78. Lickert became the 12th player in program history to amass 1,000 career points and was a three-year letterwinner (1959-61) under legendary coach Adolph Rupp. He was inducted into the UK Athletics Hall of Fame in 2010 and was...

Hall of Famer Jerry Bird, member of UK’s 1954 undefeated basketball team, passes away at age 83

Jerry Bird, a former Kentucky men’s basketball player and member of the UK Athletics Hall of Fame, died Sunday morning of natural causes in his hometown of Corbin, Kentucky. He was 83. Bird, a Kentucky men’s basketball player from 1954-56, helped Kentucky to two Southeastern Conference titles in 1954 and 1955 and was a member of the 1954 team that went 25-0 and was crowned national champions by...

UK Athletics to honor 14 elite teams of the past as chosen by reunion committee during upcoming season

UK Athletics will officially honor 14 teams across six programs during the 2017-18 athletics season, as selected by a newly formed reunion committee UK has established to honor elite teams of the past. Over the course of the 2017-18 season, the 2006-08 Kentucky football teams, the 1978 men’s basketball team, Adolph Rupp’s men’s basketball national championship teams (1948, ’49, ’51 and ’58),...

Wildcats’ 1996 National Championship team commemorated on newest Maker’s Mark label

With a growing number of student-athletes from 22 varsity sports teams now spending most of their time on the south side of the University of Kentucky’s campus where their practice facilities are located, the Center for Academic and Tutorial Services (CATS) – the first-of-its-kind support program in the nation – has successfully expanded to serve them. The CATS expansion last fall within the...

Stough, member of Rupp’s first two NCAA Championship teams, passes away at age 90

John Stough, a two-time Kentucky men’s basketball national champion, died on Friday. He was 90. Stough played on UK’s first two national championship teams in 1948 and 1949 under legendary head coach Adolph Rupp. He scored 128 career points. The 1948-49 UK NCAA National Championship team, coached by Adolph Rupp. Stough is in the front row, uniform No. 5 (UK Athletics Photo) Originally, from Montgomery,...