By LARRY VAUGHT
If this does turn out to be the final convention for Jim Porter, he’s going out with a bang on July 20.
The 30th annual Ohio UK Convention will again be in Franklin, Ohio, from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. and has what I think could be its best overall guest lineup — which is only fitting as Porter has indicated due to age and health issues he likely will not be able to continue as convention director.
Porter, who turns 81 on July 15, is an Elliott County native and former school teacher. More than anything, though, he loves his Wildcats. He seldom misses a UK home basketball game. Often he attends the SEC Tournament.
The first convention in 1990 had one speaker but this year he has an all-star lineup headed by former UK basketball players Mike Pratt, Reggie Hanson and Maci Morris.
Morris was the 2018-19 SEC Scholar Athlete Of the Year and UK’s leading scorer. The Bell County native shot 41 percent from 3-point range during her career, one reason she earned all-SEC honors. She’s also recently signed a professional contract to play in Italy.
Hanson remains one of UK’s most popular players because he didn’t bail on the Cats when UK went on probation under coach Eddie Sutton. He stayed to play for Rick Pitino and was the leading scorer on the 1990-91 team. Hanson also coached at UK under Tubby Smith. He now lives and works in Tampa but remains a Cat fan. He’s also recently written a book, “10 Life Lessons: Learned as a Student-Athlete.” He’ll have the book with him and will also be in Kentucky the week of Aug. 12 for a book-signing tour.
Pratt, a former All-American, is now the analyst for the UK Radio Network and his broadcast partner, Tom Leach, will also be with him. Pratt is in the Kentucky Athletics Hall of Fame and just recently was inducted into the Ohio Basketball Hall of Fame. Leach is the voice of UK for both football and basketball and hosts the Leach Report daily on a statewide group of radio stations. He’s also a former Kentucky Sportscaster of the Year.
Tony Neely, UK’s assistant athletics director for media relations, knows Porter well. He’ll be part of a football panel with Kentucky Sports Radio’s Ryan Lemond, an Ohio UK Convention regular. Tina Cox, a writer for Cameron Mills Sports Radio, is also on the panel again to share her experiences going from a fan to a media member covering UK sports.
Registration is only $25 per person (children under 12 are free with an adult)
and that will include a copy of The Cats Pause football bowl special yearbook that sells for $12 and is definitely a keepsake for any UK fan after a 10-3 season and Citrus Bowl win. Porter also hands out a bevy of door prizes annually in addition to having a silent auction that will include items like basketballs autographed by John Calipari and Joe Hall as well as a football signed by Mark Stoops.
For more information contact Porter at 937-746-8758, David Starkey at 937-974-4411 or Mike Johnson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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The convention is held at Eastview Baptist Church at 4289 St. T. 122, Franklin, 45005. It’s two miles east of I-75 at Exit 32 (Middletown).