UK soccer men draw Oakland in NCAA

November 17, 2014

The Kentucky men’s soccer team learned Monday that, as expected, it landed an at-large invitation to the NCAA Tournament.

The Wildcats (10-5-4) will play host to Horizon League champion Oakland (9-6-3). The match is set for Thursday at 7 p.m.

Thursday’s winner will advance to meet nationally third-seeded Michigan State on Sunday.

UK finished the regular-season as Conference USA regular-season runner-up to Charlotte. The Cats were eliminated by South Carolina in the quarterfinals of the C-USA Tournament.

Louisville, runner-up in the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament, received the national No. 13 seed and a first-round bye. The Cardinals (10-7-3), making their eighth straight NCAA appearance, await the winner of Tulsa and first-round host St. Louis. U of L will host the winner Sunday at 7:30 p.m.

In all, the NCAA field consists of 24 automatic qualifiers and 24 at-large teams. The College Cup Final Four will be decided Dec. 12 and 14 at Cary, N.C.

The top 16 seeds, all receiving first-round byes, are: 1. Notre Dame; 2. UCLA; 3. Michigan State; 4. Maryland; 5. Indiana; 6. Stanford; 7. Clemson; 8. Georgetown; 9. Syracuse; 10. Charlotte; 11. Providence; 12. Creighton; 13. Louisville; 14. Washington; 15. California; 16. Virginia.

Ky. Pro Football Hall of Fame shindig June 20

June 13, 2014

From the Kentucky Pro Football Hall of Fame …

Golfers are invited to play with some of the NFL’s greatest players from Kentucky as the Class of 2014 is inducted into the Kentucky Pro Football Hall of Fame on June 20.

The golf outing will take place at Covered Bridge Golf Club in Sellersburg, Ind., with team entries set at $2,500 and $5,000. All proceeds benefit Kosair Children’s Hospital’s Congenital Heart Center. To register, call (502) 629-8060.

The Kentucky Pro Football Hall of Fame celebration will take place at the Brown Theatre in Louisville, June 20, at 7 p.m. Tickets are available for $25 and may be purchased online at Click on “fundraising events.”

Lexington businessman Frank Minnifield (Henry Clay High School, University of Louisville, Cleveland Browns) will receive the eighth annual Blanton Collier Award for Integrity, an honor named after the former University of Kentucky and Cleveland Browns coach. The award recognizes individuals who have shown outstanding integrity on and off the field. Minnifield, 54, started and grew a successful home-building business. He was the first African-American executive on the Lexington Chamber of Commerce board of directors and was elected chairman of the University of Louisville board of trustees in 2011.

“Frank Minnifield lives out our father’s belief you can accomplish anything so long as you do not care who gets the credit, which explains why he was so surprised to be nominated for this award,” said Dr. Kay Collier McLaughlin, daughter of Blanton Collier, speaking on behalf of her family, the Blanton Collier Sportsmanship Group and the Kentucky Pro Football Hall of Fame board. “Frank is a visionary and humanitarian who almost single-handedly created the Kentucky Pro Football Hall of Fame to benefit children in the commonwealth.”

The class of 2014 inductees include:

Sherman Lewis of Louisville (Manual High School 1960, Michigan State ’64), who coached with the San Francisco 49ers (1983-91), Green Bay Packers (1992-99), Minnesota Vikings (2000-01) and Detroit Lions (2002-04).

Elvis Dumervil of Miami (Miami Jackson H.S. 2002, University of Louisville ’05), who played for the Denver Broncos (2006-12) and Baltimore Ravens (2013-present).

Larry Seiple of Allentown, Pa. (William Allen H.S. 1963, University of Kentucky ’67), who played and coached with the Miami Dolphins (1967-78), Detroit Lions (1980-84), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1985-86) and Dolphins (1988-2000).

Mark Clayton of Indianapolis (Cathedral H.S. 1979, University of Louisville ’83), who played for the Miami Dolphins (1983-92) and Green Bay Packers (1993).

The Centre College team from Danville also will be inducted.

Proceeds from the celebration and golf outing will support the Children’s Hospital Foundation, Norton Kosair Children’s Hospital and its Brave Hearts, a support group of local families united by their children’s fight for life after being born with complex congenital heart defects that require heart surgery.


Kentucky Pro Football Hall names inductees

January 31, 2014

The Kentucky Pro Football Hall of Fame announced it 2014 inductees Friday at the Frazier History Museum in Louisville.

They are former Manual and Michigan State running back Sherman Lewis, who served on the coaching staffs of the San Francisco 49ers, Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings and Detroit Lions; former Louisville defensive lineman Elvis Dumervil, formerly of the Denver Broncos and now with the Baltimore Ravens; former Kentucky and Miami Dolphins star Larry Seiple, who later coached with Detroit, Tampa Bay and Miami; and former Louisville and Miami Dolphins and Green Bay Packers receiver Mark Clayton.

In addition, the Centre College football team will be inducted.

“We take delight in remembering that Centre was, in fact, a national power in collegiate sports between 1917 and throughout the 1920s,” said Dr. John Roush, president of Centre. “Bo McMillan and several of his teammates were among the best football players in the country during that time, and Centre’s 1921 team of C6HO fame stands as an important part of the college’s story as a place where extraordinary things occur on a regular basis.”

Frank  Minnifield, out of Henry Clay and the University of Louisville and a former cornerback for the Cleveland Browns, will receive the eighth annual Blanton Collier Award for Integrity, named after the former UK and Browns coach.

The official induction ceremony weekend will take place in Louisville with a ring ceremony on Friday, June 19, followed by a golf-outing fundraiser at Covered Bridge, and the awards banquet at the Brown Hotel on Saturday, June 20.

Proceeds will support the Children’s Hospital Foundation, Norton Kosair Children’s Hospital and its Brave Hearts, a support group of local families united by their children’s fight for life after being born with complex congenital heart defects that require heart surgery.

UK, Morehead, U of L gain NCAA soccer berths

November 11, 2013

Kentucky, Morehead State and Louisville have each received a bid to the NCAA Soccer Tournament.

The draw for the 64-team NCAA field was announced Monday afternoon.

Kentucky and Louisville earned at-large berths, while Morehead qualified as champion of the Ohio Valley Conference. Games will be played at campus sites Friday or Saturday.

UK (13-6-1) will play host to Ohio State (10-6-3) on Friday night at 7:30. Also, Morehead (10-10-1) will travel to Wake Forest (10-6-2) on Saturday at 7 p.m. U of L (12-5-1) will play host to Missouri Valley Conference champion Illinois State (14-6) Saturday at 1 p.m.

UK’s Wildcats will be making their third straight appearance in the NCAA, a school record.

UK  lost in the quarterfinals of the Southeastern Conference Tournament. With wins over top 60 teams West Virginia, Louisville, Georgia, Dayton and Tennessee, the Wildcats were considered a shoo-in for the at-large NCAA berth they received.

The Cats played host to NCAA first-round matches each of the last two seasons.

First-place Legends play host to Hagerstown

August 7, 2013
South Atlantic League baseball

sal-logo-hagerstownlexington-legends-new-logoHagerstown Suns
at Lexington Legends

What: Four-game series

When: Thursday through Sunday (7:05 Thursday through Saturday nights, 1:35 Sunday afternoon)

Where: Whitaker Bank Ballpark

Tickets: Call (859) 422-7867

Major League affiliates: Kansas City Royals (Legends), Washington Nationals (Suns)

Probable pitchers (Legends listed first): Thursday, RH Christian Binford (7-5, 1.95) vs. LH Nick Lee (4-2, 4.28); Friday, LH Crawford Simmons (1-3, 3.51) vs. LH Kylin Turnbull (5-4, 4.58); Saturday, RH Greg Billo (1-1, 0.42) vs. RH Pedro Encarnacion (8-7, 3.50); Sunday, RH Matt Murray (1-2, 2.34) vs. LH Brett Mooneyham (8-3, 2.25).

Derek Self

Derek Self

Sun to watch: RHP Derek Self (6-foot-3, 205 pounds, age 23, from Cave City, Ky.) has made 40 relief appearances this season — 23 for High-A Potomac (4-2, 4 saves, 6.29)  and 17 for Hagerstown (0-2, 4 saves, 3.18). Over his last 10 games, through Tuesday, he compiled two saves and a 1.98 ERA over 13 2/3 innings. Overall, he has struck out 43 and walked 13. Selected in the ninth round of the 2012 draft, out of the University of Louisville, Self broke in with Auburn of the New York-Penn League last year, going 1-3 with 14 saves and a 3.27 ERA over 26 outings and 33 innings. He struck out 25 and walked eight. According to Baseball America, Self increased his fastball from 87-91 mph in 2011 to 92-95 in 2012.

Alex Hudak

Alex Hudak

Legend to watch: OF Alex Hudak (5-11, 200, 23, bats left, throws right, from Mansfield, Ohio) leads the team with a .280 batting average over 21 games. He opened the season with Wilmington of the Carolina League, batting .202 with two homers, 10 RBI and 10 runs over 26 games. Since joining the Legends, he is 14-for-50 with four doubles, five RBI, seven runs and a pair of stolen bases. All of his hits and all but five at-bats have come against right-handers. In 17 games since the all-star break, Hudak is 12-for-37 (.324). Signed June 12 of last year as a non-drafted free agent, he is a 2008 graduate of Mt. Dora (Fla.) High School. He played one season for Stetson, one for Seminole State College and two for Florida Atlantic. He earned second-team all-Sun Belt honors in 2011, finishing second in the conference with a .360 average. Last year, his first as a pro, he played 14 games for the Surprise Royals of the Arizona League and 19 games for Burlington of the Appalachian League, batting a combined .275, with a homer, 11 RBI and 13 runs.

Radio: WLXG-AM 1300

Catching up with Kentucky football Hall of Famers

June 29, 2013

Leftovers from Friday’s Kentucky Pro Football Hall of Fame and the four living inductees …

CHAD BRATZKE (Eastern Kentucky University) said a highlight of his week was sharing memories with his extended football family. Such as?

“Coach (Jack) Harbaugh,” Bratzke said. “So, Western Kentucky-Eastern Kentucky. Big rivalry. We’re playing, I think it was a Thursday night game, and I made a good play. The quarterback scrambled, I ran him down from behind and I hit him out right at the sidelines. I mean, I really clobbered him. And before I even got a chance to pick myself up, Coach Harbaugh grabbed me and yanked me off his quarterback, and he smacked me on the rear and said, ‘son, that was a heck of a play.’ You don’t remember everything in life, but certain moments – I’ll never forget that. That meant a lot to me.

“I told him the story, and he smiled and he listened to it. And he said, ‘you know what? I know because I’ve told everybody that story and I used to use that all the time in speeches and talks, about determination.’ It’s kind of neat that he remembered that, too.”

IRV GOODE (Boone County, University of Kentucky) was dazzled by his company earlier in the day: “It was amazing today, riding to the golf course. I was riding with (Howard) Schnellenberger and Babe (Parilli), and they were talking football. It was unbelievable. It was like a fantasy land. Two of the great people in sports.”

OTIS WILSON (University of Louisville) was dazzled by his new bling, and the weekend overall: “The ring is cool. The cause that’s attached to it, that’s great – spinal cord injury. Seeing guys that you played with and guys around the league, you hang out, play golf and tell stories. That’s really what it’s all about, to give back to the old guys. And really have UK and U of L come together. Normally, that’s not the case. It’s always ‘I’m from U of L.’ They say that ‘other thing’ over there. But this is a great moment.”

ROMAN OBEN (U of L) talked about the program at his alma mater: “I’d been told by NFL scouts two years ago that they’re really a year ahead. I think what Charlie Strong has done is tremendous. But now you’ve created a position where 9-2, 8-3 is a bad season. So the expectations have been raised a little bit higher as well. Which is all good, and that’s why he’s here. But again, you turn down a job like Tennessee, he wants to be here. And you’re seeing high school kids on these selection shows where they off their hat, put on a U of L hat, turning down Floridas and Oklahomas. That’s when you know the football program’s headed in the right direction.”

Kentucky Pro Football Hall of Fame adds 5

February 1, 2013

The Kentucky Pro Football Hall of Fame announced the names of
this year’s five inductees Friday during a press conference at the Brown Hotel in Louisville.

The five are Irv Goode, Coy Bacon, Otis Wilson, Chad Bratzke and Roman Oben.

In addition, the Kentucky Hall plans a new approach to the induction activities on Friday, June 28. Included will be a ring ceremony, Game Day Live Preview at Fourth Street Live – a free, public event on June 27 that will offer a taste of Game Day Spectacular, the official induction ceremony for this year’s honorees, to be held at the Louisville Palace. The induction ceremony will also feature a presentation of the Blanton Collier Award to brother/head coaches John (Baltimore Ravens) and Jim (San Francisco 49ers) Harbaugh, and their father Jack.

Tickets for the ceremony will cost $25, $50 and $75 and will be available online at a future date.

The Kentucky Spinal Cord Injury Research Center at the University of Louisville was chosen as this year’s beneficiary. Over the years, numerous football players have sustained spine and brain injuries, making the choice of the organization a natural fit as well as a personal one, according to Frank Minnifield, executive director of the Kentucky Pro Football Hall of Fame.

This year, Kentucky Pro Football Hall of Fame member George McAfee will also be honored during the Game Day Spectacular induction ceremony. McAfee was born in Corbin and played college football at Duke. He played running back for the Chicago Bears (1940-1941, 1945-1950). Nicknamed “One-Play McAfee” he was known for explosive speed.  He died in 2009.

Louisville head football coach Charlie Strong and Kentucky counterpart Mark Stoops will serve as event co-chairs.

Also, the 2012 All Commonwealth Collegiate Team was announced at the press conference, including Defensive Player of the Year Zack Autenrieb, and Offensive Players of the Year Teddy Bridgewater of Louisville, and Larry Warford of Kentucky.

The 2013 inductees to the Kentucky Pro Football Hall of Fame:

Irv Goode
Goode was born in Newport and played college football for Kentucky. Drafted into the NFL in the first round in 1962, he played guard for the St. Louis Cardinals (1962-1971), Buffalo Bills (1972) and the Miami Dolphins (1973-1974). He was a Super Bowl champion with the Dolphins in 1973.

Lander McCoy (Coy) Bacon
Bacon was born in Cadiz and played defensive line at Jackson State. Drafted into the NFL in 1968, he played for the Los Angeles Rams (1968-1975), San Diego Chargers (1973-1975), Cincinnati Bengals (1976-1977), Washington Redskins (1978-1981) and the USFL’s Washington Federals (1983). He was selected for the Pro Bowl in 1972, 1976 and 1977.  Bacon was inducted into the American Football Association’s Semi Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1986. He is being inducted into the Kentucky Pro Football Hall of Fame posthumously.

Otis Wilson
Wilson played linebacker for Louisville after transferring from Syracuse. He was drafted in the first round of the 1980 NFL draft and played for the Chicago Bears (1980-1987) and Los Angeles Raiders (1989). He won a Super Bowl as a member of the 1985 Bears. That same year, he made the only Pro Bowl selection of his career, and was a featured soloist of the “Shuffling Crew” in the Bears video “The Super Bowl Shuffle.” He is the father of former Cincinnati Bengals running back Quincy Wilson. Otis Wilson was born in Brooklyn, N.Y.

Chad Bratzke  
Bratzke played for Eastern Kentucky University. He was named Ohio Valley Conference Defensive Player of the Year and Kodak All-American.  Selected in the fifth round of the 1994 draft, he played 10 seasons in the NFL, five for the New York Giants (1994-1998) and five for the Indianapolis Colts (1999-2003). He signed as unrestricted free agent for the Giants on March 1, 1999. He was born in Waukegan, Ill.

Roman Dissake Oben
Oben played offensive tackle for Louisville, and was also a three-year letterman in track and field. He was picked in the third round of the 1996 NFL draft, and played for the New York Giants (1996-1999). He went on to play for the Cleveland Browns (2000-2003), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2002-2003) and San Diego Chargers (2004-2007). He was the starting left tackle on Tampa Bay’s 2002 Super Bowl  champion team. Oben has been inducted to the Athletic Hall of Fames at Gonzaga College High School, Fork Union Military Academy and the University of Louisville.

NCAA Pre-National cross-country is Saturday at Louisville

October 10, 2012

Kentucky’s Cally Macumber, left, placed second in last month’s Greater Louisville Invitational at E.P. “Tom” Sawyer Park. (Photo: Mark Maloney)

The highly competitive field that boasts 15 nationally ranked teams for Saturday’s NCAA Division I Pre-National Cross Country meet, hosted by the University of Louisville at E.P. “Tom” Sawyer State Park, is set.

Four races will be held, with the men’s red seeded race starting the day at 9:30 a.m. The women’s red race is at 10:15 a.m. Following that is a pair of unseeded races: the men’s black race at 10:45 a.m. and the women’s black at 11:30 a.m.

The Louisville and Kentucky men’s squads will take part in the first morning race, competing against No. 3-ranked Brigham Young, No. 7 Colorado, No. 9 Tulsa, No. 14 Florida State and No. 15 Oregon. Last time out, Louisville finished sixth at the Greater Louisville Classic against a field that consisted of numerous ranked teams, including Iona, Texas and Arizona.

The Kentucky and Eastern Kentucky women’s squads are set to participate in the 10:15 a.m. race.

Box assignments for the men’s red division: 1. Montana State; 2. Florida; 3. Wichita State; 4. Butler; 5. Florida State; 6. Davidson; 7. Lamar; 8. William and Mary; 9. Brigham Young; 10. Loyola (Ill.); 11. Central Michigan; 12. Kennesaw State; 13. Miami (Ohio); 14. Lehigh; 15. Weber State; 16. Texas at El Paso; 17. Eastern Michigan; 18. Georgetown (D.C.); 19. McNeese State; 20. Tulsa; 21. Louisville; 22. Oregon; 23. Cincinnati; 24. Boise State; 25. California Santa Barbara; 26. Duke; 27. Air Force; 28. Utah State; 29. Villanova; 30. Southern Utah; 31. Kentucky; 32. Bucknell; 33. Duquesne; 34. North Carolina Greensboro; 35. Indiana State; 36. Colorado; 37. Virginia Tech; 38. Utah Valley. 39. Iowa; 40. Rice.

Box assignments for the women’s red division: 1. Duquesne; 2. West Virginia; 3. Illinois; 4. California-Davis; 5. Michigan; 6. East Carolina; 7. Xavier (Ohio); 8. Loyola (Ill.); 9. Oregon State; 10. Southern Utah; 11. Baylor; 12. Kentucky; 13. Florida State; 14. William and Mary; 15. Georgetown (D.C.); 16. Appalachian State; 17. Clemson; 18. Kansas Satate; 19. New Hampshire; 20. Oregon; 21. Boise State; 22. Eastern Michigan; 23. Villanova; 24. California Santa Barbara; 25. Tulsa; 26. Texas-El Paso; 27. Elon; 28. Air Force; 29. Butler; 30. Colorado; 31. Florida; 32. Montana State; 33. Miami (Ohio); 34. Utah; 35. Texas; 36. Wichita State; 37. Ohio; 38. Virginia Tech; 39. Eastern Kentucky.

Box assignments for the men’s black division: 1. Eastern Michigan/Florida State; 2. Virginia Tech/Boise State; 3. Florida/Georgetown (D.C.)/Loyola (Ill.); 4. Duquesne/Kentucky; 5. Furman; 6. Eastern Kentucky; 7. Memphis; 8. Florida A&M; 9. Xavier (Ohio); 10. Idaho; 11. Wright State; 12. Norfolk State; 13. Campbell; 14. Akron; 15. Dayton; 16. New Hampshire; 17. Southeast Missouri State; 18. Drake; 19. Toledo; 20. Youngstown State; 21. Elon/Iowa; 22. Missouri-Kansas City; 23. East Carolina; 24. Western Kentucky; 25. Indiana; 26. Clemson; 27. North Carolina Asheville; 28. Kent State; 29. North Florida; 30. Kansas State; 31. Ohio; 32. Mercer; 33. Albany; 34. Davidson/McNeese State; 35. Louisville/Brigham Young; 36. Indiana State/Montana State; 37. Utah State/Miami (Ohio); 38. Wichita State/Villanova; 39. Air Force/Southern Utah; 40. Colorado/Bucknell; 41. Butler/Duke; 42. William and Mary/Tulsa; 43. Cincinnati/Oregon; 44. Lehigh/Central Michigan; 45. California Santa Barbara/North Carolina Greensboro/individuals.
*  Bolded teams will be scored in the unseeded race. Unbolded schools signify additional runners from teams competing in seeded race or incomplete teams.
Box assignments for women’s black division: 1. Kentucky/Georgetown (D.C.); 2. Elon/West Virginia; 3. Tulsa/Ohio; 4. Boise State/Miami (Ohio); 5. Lamar; 6. Central Michigan; 7. Utah State; 8. Utah Valley; 9. Cincinnati; 10. Akron; 11. Furman; 12. Dayton; 13. North Carolina Greensboro; 14. Mercer; 15. Youngstown State; 16. Louisville; 17. North Carolina Asheville; 18. Albany; 19. Toledo; 20. Idaho; 21. Murray State; 22. Indiana State; 23. Kent State; 24. Missouri-Kansas City; 25. Memphis; 26. Southeast Missouri State; 27. South Carolina; 28. Indiana; 29. Bucknell; 30. Appalachian State/Xavier (Ohio); 31. Florida State/Illinois; 32. Clemson/Loyola (Ill.); 33. Air Force/Michigan; 34. Wichita State/Colorado; 35. Montana State/Villanova; 36. California-Davis/Bucknell; 37. Oregon/Duquesne; 38. Kansas State/Southern Utah; 39. Utah/Virginia Tech; 40. Baylor/William and Mary; 41. Florida/Eastern Kentucky; 42. Butler/Eastern Michigan; 43. New Hampshire/Texas; 44. California-Santa Barbara/Orgegon State; 45. Individuals.


Louisville has nation’s largest college XC meet

September 28, 2012

Saturday’s 11th annual Greater Louisville Classic likely will be the largest collegiate cross country meet contested in the nation this year.

The Louisville Sports Commission will host 115 colleges and universities from 24 states, featuring more than 2,400 athletes. Of those teams, 35 men’s squads and 41 women’s teams are nationally ranked by either the NCAA Division I, II or II, or the NAIA.

Action at E.P. “Tom” Sawyer Park begins with the men’s gold division at 9:30 a.m. Then, it will be women’s gold at 10:15, men’s blue division at 10:45, women’s blue at 11:30, men’s silver division at noon and women’s silver at 12:30. High school and middle school competition will follow, beginning at 1:15 p.m.

Top teams in the men’s gold include sixth-ranked Texas, No. 8 Iona and No. 28 Columbia. Regionally ranked teams include Georgia, Arizona, Penn State and Louisville. Others to watch include Michigan State and Division II powers Grand Valley State and Southern Indiana.

Premier individuals in the 8,000-meter race include Arizona teammates Lawi Lalang and Stephen Sambu. Lawang is the defending NCAA champion, and Sambu was NCAA runner-up in 2010. North Carolina-Greensboro’s Paul Chelimo was the 5,000-meter runner-up at the 2012 NCAA Track and Field Championships.

Louisville, ranked No. 6 in the Southeast Region, is led by Kenyan freshman Ernest Kibet. He won his collegiate debut two weeks ago, leading the Cardinals to a first-place finish in the Winthrop Invitational. Also placing in the top 20 in that meet for U of L were Gordon Dooley, Mattias Wolter, Evan Hibbs and Ryan Eaton.

Kentucky is led by senior Luis Orta, sophomore Mackay Wilson and junior Matt Hillenbrand.

No. 1-ranked Washington leads the women’s Gold teams. The field, competing over a 5,000-meter course, also includes No. 8 Vanderbilt, No. 10 Arkansas, No. 12 Arizona, No. 14 Michigan State, No. 17 Penn State and No. 29 Wisconsin.

Washington is led by Katie Flood, who placed seventh in last year’s NCAA Championships, and Megan Goethals, the 5,000-meter runner-up in track last spring. Arizona boasts Jennifer Bergman, 26th in last year’s NCAA, and Elvin Kibet, seventh in the NCAA track 10,000. Vanderbilt’s contingent includes  Liz Anderson, out of Louisville’s Manual High School.

U of L is paced by sophomore Michelle Molodynia, a Canadian, who placed eighth at Winthrop. Maria Frigo and Leah Kiyohara are the Cards’ next-best threats.

Kentucky features Cally Macumber and the reigning Freshman of the Week in the Southeastern Conference, Mary Kate Ponder. Macumber won the Virginia/Panorama Farms Invitational and Ponder placed 32nd, helping the Wildcats to a second-place team finish. Chelsea Oswald and Allison Peare also placed in the top 10 at Virginia.

Eastern Kentucky men climb in poll

Eastern Kentucky’s men, who climbed one spot to No. 25 in the nation this week, opted to compete Friday in the Notre Dame Invitational.

The Colonels are led by junior Soufiane Bouchikhi, the two-time defending Ohio Valley Conference Runner of the Year. A deep roster includes junior Wade Meddles, sophomore Ben Toroitich, Thijs Nijhuis and Ole Hesselbjerg, and freshman Amos Kosgey.

The EKU women will be competing Saturday at Louisville.



Big East commissioner does damage control

September 15, 2012

Mike Aresco, commissioner of the Big East Conference, did some damage control Saturday by meeting with reporters before the Louisville-North Carolina football game at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium.

Mike Aresco (Maloney photo)

Earlier this week, the Big East suffered another blow when Notre Dame announced it will bolt to the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Excerpts from what Aresco had to say.

On Notre Dame’s defection — “It’s never easy. It happens. You never want to see it happen. But, as I said, we certainly take the high road. We wish Notre Dame well and success. But it has minimal, minimal impact on us because, as you know, we remain top-to-bottom the strongest basketball conference in the country, and they didn’t play football. Many writers have obviously said this, but I have mentioned it — it wasn’t a football issue. They didn’t really play much in our league at all. In basketball, I can recite all the teams — Louisville may win the national cha … I don’t want to jinx Coach Pitino. But Louisville is a Final Four team. You look at Marquette and Cincinnati and Georgetown and Villanova and St. John’s with Steve Lavin, we’re adding Memphis and Temple. … Larry Brown at SMU. I’ve missed some teams, obviously. UConn, which will come back, obviously, with the tradition they have. This is an outstanding basketball conference …”

On Big East future — “First of all, we’re going to be fine. We’re embarking on a TV negotiation now. We’re in a negotiating period with ESPN. And one thing I want to say is we have a very bright future and we have vast potential. … We expect to maximize our exposure and our revenue. I’m not going to make any benchmark predictions or anything like that when it comes to the TV deal. But, we are the last guys out there for a long time and we’ve got tremendous product in both sports. We’ve got a football conference with tons of potential and also proven performance. We’ve got a very good BCS record. … In basketball, top to bottom, I think we’re the best conference. We have the crown jewel in Madison Square Garden. We have other things going for us there. And we also have a lot of great product. …”

On skeptics who intimate that the Big East may someday become extinct — “Utter nonsense. Look, you always have a perception issue to deal with. That’s why we’re out there vigorously talking about what our conference is. We’re not looking backward; we’re looking forward. But it’s utter nonsense. …”