No one-size-fits-all answer to satisfy school administrators, teachers, coaches, players, students

Julian Tackett (Photo by Mark Mahan)

By JULIAN TACKETT, KHSAA Commissioner

As the start of the school year approaches, there has been a lot of focus on whether students should go back to school and if interscholastic athletics should return. Some think we should just stay inside our homes for months at a time. Others seemingly refuse to acknowledge that the virus exists.

SEC teams have key players say no to NBA, return to school to give Cats bigger tests

Tyrese Maxey, Nick Richards and Immanuel Quickley pressured Alabama’s John Petty during a game last season. (Vicky Graff Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

Kentucky will still go into the 2020-21 basketball season (if there is one) as the team to beat in the Southeastern Conference.

However, three teams who would like to have a chance to knock off the Wildcats all got recent boosts when key players opted to stay in school and take their names out of the NBA draft.

No COVID-19 regrets for Macey Blevins because Western Kentucky is “where my heart said I should be”

Wayne County standout Macey Blevins has verbally committed to Western Kentucky University.

By LARRY VAUGHT

After Wayne County was eliminated in the 12th Region Tournament semifinals, junior Macey Blevins was looking forward to having a chance this summer to prove to even more Division I coaches how she could play.

She already had several scholarship offers but believed a big summer with Kentucky Premier could open eyes of even more coaches about her basketball skills. Instead, COVID-19 wiped out all but about two weeks of summer play.

Rodeo was part of Rachel Lawson’s family life

Kentucky softball coach Rachel Lawson got her first competitive lessons in the rodeo ring.

By LARRY VAUGHT

There’s a lot to like about Kentucky softball coach Rachel Lawson and the way she’s built her program into a highly ranked national team annually. She has 452 wins in 13 years – the most of any UK softball coach – and 11 NCAA Tournament appearances.

However, Lawson knows there is one thing about her that likely would surprise most UK fans — and probably even coaches she competes against in the Southeastern Conference and nationally.

Boyle County-Danville football rivalry rescheduled for Nov. 6

Danville coach Clay Clevenger says the community “needs” a Boyle County-Danville football game.

By LARRY VAUGHT

If there is still high school football in November, then the Boyle County-Danville football game will still be played this year.

The annual rivalry game was originally scheduled for Sept. 4, the third week of the season like it is every year. However, high school football does not start until Sept. 11 this year due to COVID-19.

If they play football, will Cats win? Numbers say yes

Quinton Bohanna (95) could be a rising star for UK’s defense. (Vicky Graff Photo)

By KEITH PEEL, Contributing Writer

In a move that has rarely been seen at UK, national media members are taking notice of what Mark Stoops has done with the Kentucky defense. Last year’s squad posted numbers that placed Kentucky in the elite of the elite for pass defense. The Wildcats finished second in the country in pass defense in 2019. That’s right, second. And they finished 14th in overall scoring defense.

Tom Payne never really dealt with race before he played SEC road games

Tom Payne

By LARRY VAUGHT

Since Tom Payne did sign with Kentucky, I assumed that meant he did not think  coach Adolph Rupp was a racist. What I didn’t realize is that Payne had only been playing basketball for three years then and he also admits he had been “shielded” from racism his whole life before becoming the first African-American player at Kentucky about 50 years ago.

“I just didn’t really know him. When I signed was not thinking this guy was racist or not racist. Never entered my mind,” Payne said. “I was so shielded from so much being an Army brat and the school at Shawnee was integrated and there were no problems with students.

Boyle County coach Justin Haddix’s wife admits she’s “loud and obnoxious” at games

Dr. Melissa Haddix admits she can be “rowdy” at football games watching her husband coach.

By LARRY VAUGHT

There’s still a lot of unknowns about the upcoming high school football season. However, there is one given — it will be easy to spot new Boyle County coach Justin Haddix’s wife at Boyle games.

“She went to Lee County High School and they didn’t have a football team. But she knows plenty about football now,” said the Boyle coach. “That doctor mode is over when she goes to a game. That is her release.”

C.J. Conrad’s inspiration comes from Courtney Love, Vince Marrow

C.J. Conrad played for Vince Marrow at UK and now says the assistant coach is one of his inspirations.  (Vicky Graff Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

Former Kentucky tight end C.J. Conrad says he’s always wanted to be a college coach but thought his starting time would be a few years down the road. However, after being on the New York Giants practice squad as a rookie in 2019, he found himself without a team this year and is now back at UK as a graduate assistant coach.

Former Cat will be “disappointed” if there is no football season

David Hopewell, left, with  former Cats Pause publisher Oscar Combs.

By LARRY VAUGHT

For as long as I have known Dave Hopewell he’s preached that there is no reason that Kentucky cannot win the Southeastern Conference football championship.

No matter who is coaching or what UK’s record is, Hopewell has stuck to his belief.

But remember he is an Alabama native who came to UK to play football for Fran Curci and was the starting center on Kentucky’s 1977 team that finished 10-1 and did win the SEC by going unbeaten in league play.