A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Jamie Vaught: Homer Rice helped break color barrier in UK football, wrote ‘textbook’ on leadership

(This is the second of a two-part column about Kentuckian Dr. Homer Rice who had an illustrious career in football coaching and athletic administration. He also recruited Greg Page of Middlesboro who became the first black football player to sign with UK.) When Dr. Homer Rice was the athletics director at North Carolina from 1969 to 1976, one of his employees was a basketball coach named Dean Smith,...

Jamie Vaught: Kentucky sophomore PJ Washington settling into role as one of the ‘old guys’ for Wildcats

In the one-and-done era, especially at Kentucky, PJ Washington is now considered one of the old guys. Even though the 6-7, 236-pounder from Dallas will be a sophomore, he will be expected to provide some guidance and leadership for UK’s 2018-19 squad which is loaded with a super crop of highly-regarded freshmen as well as a couple of key sophomore returnees Quade Green and Nick Richards. In addition,...

Jamie Vaught: Former Wildcat Bret Bearup an outgoing person who never knew a stranger

Bret “Bear” Bearup was one of the most charismatic UK basketball players ever to wear a Kentucky Wildcat jersey. And it’s still hard to believe that Bear is gone.  I was at my hotel room in Louisville last Thursday evening (May 17) when I learned through social media on my smartphone that he had died suddenly at the age of only 56. Like the faithful fans from the Big Blue Nation, his UK teammates,...

Jamie’s Bookshelf: Rounding out your Spring reading list with nine recently-published nonfiction titles

By Jamie H. Vaught KyForward Columnist This is the second of a two-part series about recently-published nonfiction books. –“Ambition, Pragmatism And Party: A Political Biography Of Gerald R. Ford” by Scott Kaufman (University Press of Kansas, $34.95) captures the former president’s long and remarkable political career. For this 443-page biography, the author also interviewed family...

Jamie Vaught: March is upon us, some observations, statistics and tidbits as we head into the ‘Madness’

• It’s really hard to believe that two of UK’s best players — Kevin Knox and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander who earned first-team or second-team All-SEC honors as voted by the coaches — were left out by the Associated Press on its All-SEC teams. Weird, huh?  If my late brother-in-law, who was a head basketball coach on the high school level for a couple of years, was alive today, he would...

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: 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: Leftovers about the KY Wildcats’ performances over their last 2017 appearances

Some holiday leftovers.   –Blowout and Bizarre.  A couple of buzzwords that perfectly describe the last Friday of the 2017 calendar year for the Big Blue Nation.   First, the blowout. UK’s 29-point victory margin over Louisville at Rupp Arena Friday afternoon was a huge surprise.  No one really expected a remarkable performance against the Cardinals by the youthful  16th-ranked Wildcats...

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: 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: On UK’s Maci Morris, the popular Calipari and a prediction on the UK-Tennessee game

It wasn’t that long ago when Bell County High School’s Maci Morris was burning the nets as one of the state’s top players en route to becoming Kentucky’s “Miss Basketball” in 2015. And now Morris, a 6-foot guard, is entering her third year at Kentucky after two productive seasons as a starter in helping the Wildcats to 25-8 and 22-11 records. After UK lost a couple of stars in Makayla Epps...

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: Tales of Baylor football scandal, Steve Bannon and Donald Trump head fall reading list

With the fall season upon us, here is a list of recently-published nonfiction books that you may enjoy reading in front of the fireplace.  “Violated: Exposing Rape at Baylor University Amid College Football’s Sexual Assault Crisis” by ESPN investigative reporters Paula Lavigne and Mark Schlabach (Center Street, $27) is arguably the most comprehensive literary effort about the sport’s...

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: Watergate, ‘fake news’ and Hemingway among topics for your late summer reading list

This is the second of a two-part series about recently-published nonfiction books that you may enjoy this summer. • “Hallelujah Anyway: Rediscovering Mercy” by Anne Lamott (Riverhead Books, $20) is an attempt to tell what we need to know about mercy. While using the kindness, wisdom and humor, Lamott explains that as we struggle to move through this complex world, mercy certainly points us in...