A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

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...

Kentucky to take on Penn State in Citrus Bowl Jan. 1 in Orlando in ‘huge, huge deal’ for program

By Keith Taylor Kentucky Today Terry Wilson was elated when he heard about Kentucky’s bowl destination on his Twitter account on Sunday. “I was excited,” he said. “This is a huge, huge deal for this program and we’ve worked so hard to get to this situation that we’re in right now. Like Mr. (Mitch) Barnhart said we’re going to be thankful and we’re going to be grateful and we’re deserving...

UK coach Stoops not worried about team’s mentality following perfect start

Kentucky football coach Mark Stoops isn’t worried about his team’s mental approach following a 28-7 win over Mississippi State last week that gave the No. 17 Wildcats their first ranking in more than a decade. (Kentucky Today/Bill Thiry) By Keith Taylor Kentucky Today Mark Stoops isn’t worried about where his team is ranked. The Kentucky coach is more concerned about the Wildcats staying...

Former Kentucky Athletics Director C.M. Newton dies at age 88

By Keith Taylor Kentucky Today The University of Kentucky athletics department lost an icon Monday night when former Athletics Director C.M. Newton died at age 88 following a long illness. Newton coached at Transylvania, then went to Alabama and closed out his collegiate coaching career at Vanderbilt. Following his stint with the Commodores, took over the helm of the athletics department at Kentucky,...

Calipari, Barnhart saddened by passing of former SEC commissioner Mike Slive

By Keith Taylor Kentucky Today When Kentucky coach John Calipari counted former Southeastern Conference Commissioner Mike Slive as one of his closest friends and said he was largely responsible for his hiring at Kentucky in 2009. “Obviously, Dr. Lee Todd and Mitch Barnhart made the decision to hire me, but my friend, guardian, and mentor Mike Slive was instrumental in me becoming the coach at Kentucky...

UK student-athletes break, tie records for graduation success rate in annual NCAA report

University of Kentucky student-athletes broke one school record for graduation rate and tied another in the annual report issued this week by the National Collegiate Athletic Association. The NCAA Graduation Success Rate (GSR), a four-year composite statistic for the freshman classes of 2007-08 through 2010-11, was 85 percent. That broke last year’s school record of 82 percent and continued UK’s...

Kentucky Cares Classic features UK, Morehead State in exhibition benefiting disaster relief effort

In light of recent disasters around the country, UK Athletics will play a small part in helping those affected by adding a third men’s basketball exhibition game to Kentucky’s 2017-18 schedule. The NCAA has granted a special waiver for the Wildcats to host Morehead State. UK will host the Eagles – coached by former Kentucky staff member Preston Spradlin – for the inaugural “Kentucky Cares...

Kroger Field awarded LEED silver certification for environmental performance, sustainable design

Kroger Field, the home of the University of Kentucky football team, has been awarded LEED silver certification for its environmental performance and sustainable design. The LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) rating system, developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), is the foremost program for buildings, homes and communities that are designed, constructed, maintained and...

With new basketball season on the horizon, UK deputy AD Peevy prepares for calm before storm

By Amy Jones-Timoney and Kody Kiser Special to KyForward As the University of Kentucky men’s basketball team prepares to kick off its regular season with Big Blue Madness, UK Deputy Director of Athletics DeWayne Peevy prepares for the calm before the storm. Since he oversees the men’s basketball program as part of his role with UK Athletics, the next few months will keep the Birmingham,...