A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

University of Kentucky baseball pitcher, former walk-on basketball player Ben Jordan dead at age 22

Ben Jordan, who was a member of both the University of Kentucky baseball and basketball teams during the 2019-20 season, died on Monday. He was 22 years old. A cause of death was not released. Jordan, a native of Olive Hill and a graduate of West Carter High School, was rated as the No. 33 right-handed pitcher in the class of 2017. Ben Jordan UK released the following statements on Jordan: Nick Mingione,...

Kentucky receives invitation to Gator Bowl, will meet North Carolina State on Jan. 2 in Jacksonville

By Keith Taylor Kentucky Today Kentucky began its current bowl streak in Jacksonville and will be making a return to the TaxSlayer Gator Bowl to open the new year. The Wildcats (4-6) received an invite to the bowl Sunday and will take on North Carolina State at noon on Jan. 2, extending the team’s postseason streak to five games. Kentucky dropped a 33-18 decision to Georgia Tech in the Gator Bowl...

UK Athletics cutting expenses after projected $35 million decline in revenues due to pandemic

By Jay Blanton University of Kentucky University of Kentucky athletics director Mitch Barnhart provided a budget update on Monday that continues to place student-athletes first in the face of a projected decline in net revenues of nearly $35 million in 2020-21 because of COVID-19. “The effects of the coronavirus pandemic have presented a historic budget challenge,” Barnhart told members of the...

Barnhart: Elzy has ‘earned and deserved’ chance to lead UK’s women’s basketball program

By Keith Taylor Kentucky Today University of Kentucky athletics director Mitch Barnhart removed the interim tag from Kyra Elzy’s temporary job title on Monday. Elzy, named interim head coach after Matthew Mitchell unexpectedly retired last month, officially received the title permanently after guiding the Wildcats to a 6-0 start to open the season. Terms of Elzy’s contract were not disclosed, pending...

Keith Taylor: After 4-6 season, next UK offensive coordinator could be make or break hire for Stoops

What will Kentucky’s offense look like next year? For those who are wishing for the Hal Mumme era to return, it won’t happen under Mark Stoops. The Kentucky head coach isn’t necessarily looking to return an Air Raid scheme to the playbook but is rather seeking an offensive coordinator who believes in balance and how to achieve that goal. Under former coordinator Eddie Gran, the Wildcats primarily...

UK women’s basketball head coach Matthew Mitchell announces retirement; Kyra Elzy named interim

Matthew Mitchell, the winningest head coach in University of Kentucky women’s basketball history with more than 300 victories, announced Thursday night that he has retired from coaching, thus resigning as head coach of the Wildcats. UK director of athletics Mitch Barnhart has named associate head coach Kyra Elzy as interim head coach, effective immediately. UK’s Matthew Mitchell announced...

Former Highlands football star, UK assistant John Schlarman dead at age 45 after battle with cancer

By Susan Lax University of Kentucky John Schlarman, a native of Fort Thomas and an assistant coach for the University of Kentucky football team, died Thursday following a two-year battle with cancer. He was 45. “I’m heartbroken to learn about the passing of my friend, John Schlarman,” said UK head coach Mark Stoops. “My prayers go out to LeeAnne and the kids, Joseph, Benjamin,...

Billy Reed: The ‘fellowship of the miserable’ is watching to see what’s next for Stoops

After the Kentucky Wildcats posted another of their signature come-from-ahead losses a week ago yesterday, this time a 42-41 overtime defeat to an Ole Miss team they led by 14 in the third quarter, the fan base spent the week moaning, groaning, finger-pointing, whining, and lamenting their historic bad luck. But I liked the Wildcat fan who found a silver lining in the debacle. He said he didn’t mind...

University of Kentucky assistant coach Kenny Payne leaving Cats for job with New York Knicks

By Keith Taylor Kentucky Today Kenny Payne is stepping up to the next level. A fixture on John Calipari’s coaching staff at the University of Kentucky, Payne accepted an offer from the New York Knicks to become an assistant coach under recently hired Tom Thibodeau. Payne, a former standout at the University of Louisville, spent the past 10 seasons with the Wildcats, including the past six years as...

UK golfer Cullan Brown dead at age 20; battled osteosarcoma past year, inspired golf community

University of Kentucky men’s golfer Cullan Brown, who battled osteosarcoma, a form of bone cancer in his left thigh, died on Tuesday. He was 20. “Our hearts are simply devastated over the loss of our brother Cullan,” Kentucky head coach Brian Craig said. “I have personally never known a more special or amazing young man. He was simply the most gifted person I have ever coached....

SEC football teams to play league-only schedule starting Sept. 26; UK game with Louisville canceled

By Keith Taylor Kentucky Today The Southeastern Conference will be starting the season later and with a league-only schedule in football, the conference announced Thursday. The league presidents agreed to a 10-game model and Sept. 26 start in wake of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic that has altered the fall sports scene. “This new plan for a football schedule is consistent with the educational...

UK season opener against Eastern Michigan moved to a Thursday to avoid conflict with Kentucky Derby

University of Kentucky football will return a bit earlier than expected this fall, breaking out of the starting gate first on a holiday weekend that also includes the 146th running of the Kentucky Derby. UK’s season opener against Eastern Michigan, originally scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 5, has now been moved to Thursday, Sept. 3, at Kroger Field, athletics director Mitch Barnhart announced...

Mitch Barnhart says safety will be top priority as UK’s student-athletes return to campus Monday

By Keith Taylor Kentucky Today Kentucky’s first priority will be safety when student-athletes return to campus Monday, says Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart. Kentucky will follow the recommendations outlined by the Southeastern Conference’s Return to Activity Medical Guidance Task Force. The university will ensure that proper protocols are in place when players start arriving on campus, the AD...

UK’s Barnhart says ‘safety’ major priority as SEC gives green light to campus workouts starting June 8

By Keith Taylor Kentucky Today The Southeastern Conference has given member institutions the green light to allow student-athletes back on campus beginning June 8. University of Kentucky athletics director Mitch Barnhart said the school will work with local and state officials to make a final determination when student-athletes can return to the school and resume voluntary workouts under “strict...

UK Hall of Famer, former All-American Rodger Bird dead at age 76; played for Oakland Raiders in AFL

University of Kentucky Athletics Hall of Famer Rodger Bird, an All-America halfback and member of a legendary family of Wildcats, has died at the age of 76 in Henderson. “Rodger Bird is a true Wildcat great and a Kentucky football legend,” said Mitch Barnhart, UK director of athletics. “We are proud to call him a UK Athletics Hall of Famer and thankful for all he and the entire Bird...

Conversion of UK football practice facility to 400-bed field hospital complete for COVID-19 patients

By Kristi Willett, Steve Shaffer and Amy Jones-Timoney University of Kentucky The conversion of the University of Kentucky football team’s practice facility, Nutter Field House, to a 400-bed field hospital is now complete. In preparation for a potential surge in COVID-19 patients in the Commonwealth, UK HealthCare will utilize the hospital if needed. “As the state’s largest health care provider...

UK’s Stoops keeping focus on people, safety of players’ families during COVID-19 pandemic

With how quickly things were changing, University of Kentucky football head coach Mark Stoops could see the writing on the wall. His team was in its final days in Lexington before spring break and news was breaking seemingly every 15 minutes. The remainder of spring practice had not yet been canceled, but Stoops had every reason to believe it would be. “We had a pretty good indication by the...

UK’s Barnhart named chair of NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Committee for 2020-21 season

One of the most influential leaders in college athletics, Mitch Barnhart will soon step into one of his most high-profile roles yet. The University of Kentucky athletics director has been named the chair of the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Committee for the 2020-21 season, the NCAA announced on Friday. “Being asked to serve in this role by my wonderful colleagues on this committee...

Kentucky’s Mitch Barnhart honored with AD of the Year award by Sports Business Journal

By Keith Taylor Kentucky Today Mitch Barnhart was in the spotlight in the Big Apple this week. The University of Kentucky Athletics Director was named AD of the Year by the Sports Business Journal on Wednesday night. Barnhart was among five finalists for the award during a ceremony by the organization in New York. Mitch Barnhart and Mark Stoops celebrate after the Wildcats defeated South Carolina last...

Partnership with Maker’s Mark, Keeneland makes impact for CATS, UK student-athletes’ success

The Center for Academic Tutorial Services (CATS) is the first center of its kind in America. Now in its fifth and final year, the partnership that has helped CATS ensure University of Kentucky student-athletes have the resources necessary for success in the classroom continues to make an impact. “Education is at the heart of everything we do as an athletics department,” UK athletics director Mitch...