Kentucky Opens NCAA Tournament Against Ohio

LEXINGTON, Ky. – The Kentucky baseball team begins play in the 2017 NCAA Baseball Tournament on Friday, facing the Ohio Bobcats at noon ET at Cliff Hagan Stadium.

Kentucky (39-20) earned the right to host an NCAA Tournament Regional for just the second time in school history this season (2006 was the other). Overall, this will be Kentucky’s ninth appearance in the NCAA Tournament, where the Wildcats have a 14-16 overall record.

Wilderness Trail Distillery announces plans for Kentucky birthday Bourbon

Shane Baker, left, and Pat Heist, co-owners of Wilderness Trail Distillery (Emily Toadvine Photo)

DANVILLE, KY — Wilderness Trail Distillery has teamed up with Caverndale Farms to commemorate the 225th anniversary of Kentucky’s statehood with a special production of America’s Native Spirit, Kentucky Bourbon.

Caverndale Farms, the Danville farm supplying the corn, wheat and rye for Wilderness Trail Distillery, has sourced an original corn strain similar to what would have been planted when Kentucky became a state in 1792.

Four Wildcats Named Collegiate Baseball All-Americans

Riley Mahan (UK Photo by Britney Howard)

LEXINGTON, Ky. – The postseason honors continue to come in for Kentucky, with four players named All-Americans by Collegiate Baseball, it was announced Thursday.

Pitcher Sean Hjelle and second baseman Riley Mahan were named Second-Team All-Americans, while outfielder Tristan Pompey and first baseman Evan White were Third-Team honorees by the longtime college baseball publication.

Tim Couch on College Football Hall of Fame ballot

IRVING, Texas (June 1, 2017)The National Football Foundation (NFF) & College Hall of Fame announced today the names on the 2018 ballot for induction into the College Football Hall of Fame, including 75 players and six coaches from the Football Bowl Subdivision and 98 players and 31 coaches from the divisional ranks.
Former Kentucky All-American Tim Couch is one of those on the ballot.
Tim Couch, Kentucky-Quarterback-1998 consensus First Team All-American who finished fourth in Heisman voting in 1998 and ninth in 1997…1998 SEC Player of the Year who led Cats to first win over Alabama in 75 years…Set seven NCAA, 14 SEC and 26 school records.
 
“It’s an enormous honor to just be on the ballot when you think that more than 5.19 million people have played college football and only 987 players have been inducted,” said NFF President & CEO Steve Hatchell. “The Hall’s requirement of being a First-Team All-American creates a much smaller pool of only 1,500 individuals who are even eligible. So being in today’s elite group means an individual is truly among the greatest to ever have played the game, and we are extremely proud to announce their names. We look forward to revealing the 2018 Class prior to the CFP National Championship in Atlanta, the esteemed home of the College Football Hall of Fame.”
 
The ballot was emailed today to the more than 12,000 NFF members and current Hall of Famers whose votes will be tabulated and submitted to the NFF’s Honors Courts, which will deliberate and select the class. The FBS Honors Court, chaired by NFF Board Member and College Football Hall of Famer Archie Griffin from Ohio State, and the Divisional Honors Court, chaired by former Marshall head coach, longtime athletics director and NFF Board Member Jack Lengyel, include an elite and geographically diverse pool of athletic administrators, Hall of Famers and members of the media.
 
“Having a ballot and a voice in the selection of the inductees is one of the most cherished NFF member benefits,” said NFF Chairman Archie Manning, a 1989 Hall of Fame inductee from Mississippi. “There is no group more knowledgeable or passionate about college football than our membership, and the tradition of the ballot helps us engage them in the lofty responsibility of selecting those who have reached the pinnacle of achievement in our sport.”
 
The announcement of the 2018 Class will be made Monday, Jan. 8, 2018, in Atlanta. The city is serving as the host for the CFP National Championship, which will be played later that day at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Some of the inductees will be on site during the announcement to represent the class and share their thoughts on being elected. The Jan. 8 announcement will be televised live, and specific viewing information will be available as the date draws near. A few inductees will also participate in the pregame festivities and the coin toss before the championship game.
 
We cannot thank CFP Executive Director Bill Hancock and his staff enough for the opportunity to continue the tradition of announcing our Hall of Fame Class in conjunction with the National Championship,” said Hatchell. “Our presence at the title game has significantly raised the profile of the announcement, allowing us to shine a much brighter light on the accomplishments of our game’s greatest legends.”
 
The 2018 class will officially be inducted during the 61st NFF Annual Awards Dinner Dec. 4, 2018, at the New York Hilton Midtown. The inductees will be permanently enshrined at the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta later that December and honored on the field during the 14th Annual National Hall of Fame Salute during the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl. They will also be honored at their respective schools at an NFF Hall of Fame On-Campus Salute, presented by Fidelity Investments, during the 2018 season.
 
The criteria for Hall of Fame consideration include:
  • First and foremost, a player must have received First-Team All-America recognition by a selector organization that is recognized by the NCAA and utilized to comprise their consensus All-America teams.

UK Men’s Basketball Conference Opponents Announced for 2017-18

Wenyen Gabriel (Jeff Houchin Photo)

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Kentucky’s path for a 49th Southeastern Conference regular-season crown has taken shape with the announcement of the 2017-18 home-and-away designations for the entire league’s schedule. The SEC announced on Thursday designations for all 14-member institutions, including revealing the home-and-away opponents for each team.

As announced prior to the 2015-16 season, Kentucky’s permanent home-and-away opponents include Florida, Tennessee and Vanderbilt. This upcoming season, the Wildcats will add Texas A&M to their home-and-away slate for the second consecutive season as well as Missouri, which is highlighted by the addition of head coach Cuonzo Martin and one of the best freshman prospects in the country.

Alabama looking to add Arizona to schedule; Calipari likes Tide freshmen

John Petty (Larry Vaught/Verizon Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

Alabama basketball coach Avery Johnson has a terrific resume as a player and coach. Now he’s ready to upgrade the Alabama basketball resume.

News broke Wednesday that Alabama is close to finalizing a home-and-home series with national power Arizona, the likely No. 1 team going into next season.

He also has a superb recruiting class headed by guards Colin Sexton and John Petty, a big UK recruiting target that got away.

Evan White Named Golden Spikes Award Semifinalist

Evan White (UK Athletics Photo)

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Kentucky junior first baseman Evan White was named a 2017 USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award Semifinalist, it was announced Wednesday.

This award honors the top amateur baseball player in the nation for their performance on the field. The semifinalists are 25 of the nation’s most elite players and White is one of four players from the Southeastern Conference on the list. Former Wildcat A.J. Reed claimed the award in 2014 and joined the likes of Major League Baseball stars Kris Bryant, Trevor Bauer, Bryce Harper, Stephen Strasburg, Buster Posey, and David Price, who also won the award. 

Katie Reed Named NFCA Third Team All-American

Katie Reed. (Chet White/UK Athletics Photo)

LEXINGTON, Ky. –Kentucky softball’s sophomore shortstop Katie Reed was named a 2017 National Fastpitch Coaches Association Third Team All-American on Wednesday afternoon, it was announced by the NFCA.

Reed becomes the third All-American in Kentucky softball history, joining current assistant coach Molly Johnson-Belcher (2009, 2nd Team) and Kelsey Nunley (2016, 1st Team). All of Kentucky’s All-Americans have come under the current three-team system.

Anthony Williams, Maci Morris, Kevin Knox Sr. coming up Thursday-Friday on radio interviews

Maci Morris will join me Friday on the Leach Report.

By LARRY VAUGHT

I’ve written stories about Anthony Williams, Maci Morris and Kevin Knox Sr. and Kevin Knox Jr. But now I have a chance to let you hear three of them tell their own Kentucky-related stories.

Anthony Williams’ son is Georgia four-star junior quarterback Jarren Williams, the gem in UK’s 2018 football recruiting class.

Anthony Williams will join host Tim Estes and myself on WPBK (109.5 FM) Thursday from 7:30-8 a.m. (You can also listen online at wpbkfm.com).

Saban not happy with early signing period

By LARRY VAUGHT

Just in case you were not sure about the way Alabama coach Nick Saban felt about the new December signing period for football, he left no doubt Tuesday during the SEC meetings in Destin, Fla.

“I don’t think some of these things have been thought out well,” Saban said. “Tell me how it betters anything. “A lot of the things that happen in college football — and it’s no disrespect to anyone — is there’s a lot of paranoia that if someone else has an advantage on someone else, if we can sort of create some rules that negate that advantage…some of that goes on. A lot of the things we take a sledgehammer to kill a fly.”