Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Interview with Bill Keightley, (Week 10)

WT Administrator

This interview focuses mainly on the local and national media and its treatment of UK basketball. Mr. Keightley discusses local reporters and TV commentators, his relationship with them, and national media treatment of UK. He also discusses the expectations the Kentuckians place on the UK basketball coaches and players each year. Additionally, he covers the loss of a recent recruit, recruiting in general, and the professional relationship between UK Athletics Director, Mitch Barnhart and Tubby Smith.

Interview with William B. Keightley, June 22, 2006 (47:28)
Keightley, William B.; Interviewee -- Suchanek, Jeffrey; Interviewer

Sunday, June 28, 2009

John Calipari….UK’s new Star Powered Coach

WT Administrator

As UK fans know very well, the UK program and brand has been damaged in recent years, including the last few years of coach Tubby Smith’s tenure and both years under coach Gillispie. The past 4 years reveal a UK program that had a dismal overall record of 84-52….4 straight seasons with 12 plus loses…..an incredible 19 loses at Rupp Arena including a number of embarrassing losses at Rupp Arena to the likes of Gardner-Webb, San Diego and VMI. Add to that miserable record…..UK was unranked for the last 4 seasons, except for a very brief top 25 ranking. Last season, the wheels came off with UK losing 10 of their last 16 regular season games and missing the NCAA. It had become painfully obvious that coach Gillispie wasn’t getting the job done on the court or in fulfilling his off court UK responsibilities. Thankfully, the UK AD, Mitch Barnhart and President Todd understood that a coaching change had to be made immediately to restore the UK program and brand before further damage occurred.

For non UK fans outside of the state of Kentucky it is simply not possible to understand the incredible love, enthusiasm and support for UK basketball. In virtually every year, UK leads the nation in attendance….even when the program has been down as it has in recent years. In past years, UK’s basketball coach has often been the most popular and well known person in the state….as a result, the coach at UK carries a huge responsibility, both within the state and nationally in promoting Kentucky basketball. Recently, UK built a state of art practice facility and now is moving forward on a new arena in the coming years…..underscoring the huge overall commitment to UK basketball. Although UK fans are very proud of the UK football program achievements in recent year, it is the basketball program that is the golden nugget of the UK sports programs.

Mitch Barnhart and President Todd clearly understood that UK needed a coach who had not only proven himself over his career as a winner, but a coach who would bring star power to match the star power of the UK basketball program. With all this in mind, Mitch Barnhart and President Todd selected and hired John Calipari to restore the UK program to it’s rightful place among the nation’s elite teams.

A review of John Calipari’s career is more than impressive and reveals coach Calipari to be of the most elite and successful coaches in America.

John Calipari played his basketball at UNC-Wilmington for 2 years and then Clarion St., where not surprisingly, Calipari was the PG.

He started his coaching career as an Asst. at Kansas under Ted Owens and Larry Brown from 1982-1985 and then was an asst. at Pittsburgh from 1985-1988 under Paul Evans.

Coach Calipari took his first head coaching job at U Mass where in 8 seasons he achieved a record of 189-70 and included 5 trips to the NCAA in which U Mass achieved a Sweet 16, Elite 8 and a Final Four. U Mass finished 1st in the A-10 conference in Calipari’s final 5 years at U Mass.

After a very successful 8 years at U Mass, coach Calipari decided to jump to the NBA as coach of the New Jersey Nets, but like Rick Pitino and a number of other college coaches who tried the NBA, Calipari’s college success did not carry over to the NBA as he had hoped. So, in 2000, John Calipari returned to the college game as coach of the Memphis Tigers.

At Memphis, coach Calipari soon worked his coaching magic and quickly put the Tigers back on the national stage. In 9 years at Memphis, Calipari achieved a record of 252-69 with 6 NCAA appearances including a Sweet 16, 2 Elite 8’s and a Final Four where Memphis lost in OT to Kansas in the national championship game. In Calipari’s last 4 years at Memphis, the Tigers amassed an incredible record of 137-14, making the Tigers the winningest NCAA program in a 4 year period and included setting an NCAA record of 38 wins in a single season.

Coach Calipari’s 76.1% winning percentage ranks 3rd among active coaches with at least 10 years of coaching….trailing only Roy Williams and Mark Few, but ahead of Coach K and Rick Pitino. In fact, coach Calipari currently ranks 13th in winning % among all coaches, active and non active. Amazingly, Calipari has averaged 25.9 wins per year in achieving his tremendous career record of 441-139!

John Calipari has been A-10 and C-USA coach of the year numerous times and was Naismith National Coach of the Year in 1996 and 2008. He has also collected a host of other coaching awards.

Of course, past achievements are great, but UK fans are interested in future results…..and in the 3 short months time since Calipari became head coach…..Cat fans have already seen fantastic recruiting results…..namely, the number one recruiting class in America. After 4 years of being virtually a forgotten program, UK fans now see UK ranked in the top 5 or top 10 in numerous preseason polls. Coach Calipari has not only recruited a great class, but he has been everywhere, both nationally such as ESPN and locally throughout the state, selling Kentucky basketball. UK fans immediately see a coach comfortable in his own skin and supremely confident in his own abilities….a coach who has embraced UK basketball with great love and enthusiasm. Calipari has made no secret that he always wanted to coach Kentucky and now at age 50, he gets his chance to rebuild the UK program and brand….it’s a challenge that Calipari accepts fully and knows that achieving success at Kentucky will cement his place in college basketball history as one of the great coaches of all time.

A word regarding the totally unfair treatment of coach Calipari by so called sports analysts. As everyone knows, at U Mass, Marcus Camby accepted money and gifts from a couple of sports agents. An NCAA investigation established that coach Calpari had no knowledge of Camby’s actions. Recently, at Memphis, the NCAA is investigating Derrick Rose’s SAT test at his high school in Chicago and whether someone took the test for him. Again, the NCAA has found zero evidence of coach Calipari or anyone from Memphis having knowledge of Rose’s actions. Despite Calipari never being accused of an NCAA violation in all 17 years of his coaching career, there are still a number of classless sports journalists who try and smear him with false charges. As Dick Vitale and Jay Bilas, among others, have said…..enough is enough and coach Calipari deserves far better from the sports media.

UK fans are proud of their new coach….he has great charisma…..he lights up any room he enters….he handles interviews with great skill and shows respect to everyone. Calipari is rightfully proud of his wonderful family….his wife, two daughters and son…..he is a family man through and through. Coach Calipari has made no secret of he and his families intention to give back to the Lexington community as they did in Memphis..…..they will be involved in a number of charities and worthwhile projects in Lexington and likely throughout the state of Kentucky.

Also, importantly, it should be added that at U Mass, the graduation rate under Calipari was nearly 80% and at Memphis, 15 of the last 18 seniors that came through the Tiger program earned their degrees. Obviously, John Calipari is very interested in making certain that his players go to class and get their college degrees.

As one who has followed UK basketball for many years, I must say that I am greatly excited and proud about having John Calipari as UK’s new coach. I personally feel that the selection of coach Calipari was the perfect choice for returning the Wildcats back to their elite status. Cat fans are in for a treat, a new dynamic coach….a new exciting Dribble Drive Motion Offense and the best UK talent to step on the floor at Rupp arena in over 10 years and maybe longer. Believe me, Rupp Arena will be rocking next season!

Yes, the Kentucky basketball program has always had great star power….although in the past several years that star didn’t shine nearly as bright as it has in the past…..but now with coach Calipari, UK has a coach who brings his own personal star power…..and together…..I look for the UK program and brand to return to our glory years….that’s what happens when two great stars merge and become one!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Interview with Bill Keightley, (Week 9)

WT Administrator

In this interview Mr. Keightley discusses the University of Kentucky's summer basketball camps and the waning interest of highly-skilled players. He also discusses the father and son camps that now take place each summer which leads to an extended discussion of the role of the shoe companies and the AAU (Amateur Athletic Union) in amateur basketball, recruiting, and off-season play. Keightley picks up his discussion of 1970s era players by talking about the players from the 1975-76 team and the assistant coaches who helped Coach Joe B. Hall. Finally, he discusses equipment changes that have taken place throughout basketball during his tenure at UK. This discussion includes athletic gear, clothing, and basketballs.
Interview with William B. Keightley, June 13, 2006 (59:43)
Keightley, William B.; Interviewee -- Suchanek, Jeffrey; Interviewer

Saturday, June 20, 2009

UK Basketball: Patrick Patterson, Jodie Meeks and Perry Stevenson

WT Executive Moderator

In my opinion Patrick Patterson staying is much more important than Jodie Meeks.

I am in no way diminishing what Jodie would have brought to the floor last year. I agree with those getting ready to say, "He was our 3 point shooter."

Patterson is the "heart and soul" of the team. He is the warrior. Players will feed off his hustle and hard play. Patterson will make Perry and Cousins better.

Cousins is an amazing talent. From what I've read he can get lazy like most 18 year olds. Patterson won't allow it! He will push him practice. He will get in his grill in games.

I have figured Perry will get stuck at the end of the bench and never move. That might still be the case. The thing is Perry has been asked to do things the last 2 years that he can not do.

What does Perry do best? Block shots. The beef is in the paint to allow him to come over and block shots. I think Perry will benefit from the others in the paint and Wall/Bledsoe.

Once those guys penetrate they are looking to kick or the opposing defenders will collapse on the ball. Perry just has to catch it, take one step and dunk it. Or, he will be in position to rebound and go back up. He won't be stuck at the top of the key handling the ball.

I feel that as the season progress Dobson, Miller and Hood will be deadly 3 point shooters.

UK will still be better on the perimeter as the season goes. The guys above with Bledsoe and Wall give UK 5 tough guys on the perimeter.

I am excited and looking forward to basketball more than I have since 2000.

Again this is just my opinion...

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Interview with Bill Keightley, (Week 8)


Bill Keightley begins this interview with a discussion of the 1973-1974 University of Kentucky men's basketball team. He discusses the fact that the University of Kentucky had a freshman team, and recalls the players on that team in 1973-1974 and his travels with the team. Keightley also discusses former University of Kentucky basketball coaches, their different styles, and the best approach for coaching in the modern game of college basketball. Keightley remembers the best players on opposing teams that he witnessed. He also discusses the recruiting of "Kentucky-born" players, his role as a representative of University of Kentucky basketball, his travel and engagements, and what basketball means to the state of Kentucky. Finally, Keightley concludes by discussing the players that comprised the 1974-1975 team and long-time assistant coach Leonard Hamilton.

Interview with William B. Keightley, June 6, 2006 (01:07:57)
Keightley, William B.; Interviewee -- Suchanek, Jeffrey; Interviewer

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Video: 1951 Sugar Bowl • Kentucky vs. #1 Oklahoma

WT Administrator

NEW ORLEANS (AP) Oklahoma, the goliath of college football and holder of the greatest streak in modern times, fell yesterday in the Sugar Bowl before Kentucky, 13-7, on the jet-like passes of Babe Parilli and the vicious line play of Walt Yowarsky.

The defeat, before a capacity crowd of 82,000, was Oklahoma's first since the opening game of the 1948 season- 32 games ago. Two of those victories were in the preceding two Sugar Bowl games.

The mighty Sooners, ranked first in the nation in the Associated Press poll, started toward their downfall in this chilly, windy day in the first quarter, Yowarsky recovered a fumble by Oklahoma Quarterback Claude Arnold on the Oklahoma 25 and on the next play, Parilli passed to Wilbur (Shorty) Jamerson for a touchdown.

Four other Oklahoma fumbles kept the national champions in trouble and not until late in the fourth quarter could the Sooners rip down field as they have done so successfully for three seasons.

Five times in nine games this year Oklahoma trailed opponents, sometimes badly. Each time Oklahoma came back to victory and late in the game today it looked like the Sooners might again.

Kentucky, however, would not let them. Oklahoma managed one touchdown very late and might have challenged again but the Southeastern Conference champions from the blue grass stood stalwart in the final minutes, protecting their lead.

An Oklahoma runner bobbled the ball after a Kentucky punt and Yowarsky was there to cover it for Kentucky. That cut the life out of Oklahoma and gave even greater spirit and dash to Kentucky.

Yowarsky, who was by far the greatest linesman on the field, which also held three All-Americas. He made at least 20 decisive tackles in addition to being in the right place when Oklahoma fumbled.

Parilli, a second-string All-America, passed far less than usual; apparently Kentucky was satisfied lo play it safe with a 13 point lend. However, when Parilli passed, he usually connected. The long pass from Parilli to Al Bruno set up the Wildcats' second touchdown.

On the sixth play of the game, Oklahoma Quarterback Arnold fumbled on his 23 and Yowarsky recovered for Kentucky. The ball dumping was expensive.

On the next play, Parilli, “the Kentucky Babe was rushed badly on a pass pattern. He jumped to throw on the Oklahoma's 23 but couldn’t spot a catcher. He squirmed around among Oklahoma tacklers until he spotted Jamerson deep in the Oklahoma end zone.

Kentucky's All-America Tackle Bob Gain, another line star, made the conversion. For the 15 minutes the game was fluid but fruitless in touchdowns.

The Wildcats got the ball on their 19 and 81 yards down the field they went in seven quick plays. Their second touchdown was set up principally on another brilliant Parilli pass. "The Babe" threw down the middle of the field to Bruno who was finally knocked down by Jack Lockett on Oklahoma's one foot line. Jamerson banged across for his second honor. Gains’ kick was no good and Kentucky had 13 points.

Oklahoma had several good chances to score in the second half but Kentucky was too much except on one of the thrusts.

The Sooners, usually a five or six touchdown production outfit, finally managed to get going in the fourth quarter. Gain tried a field goal for Kentucky and missed. Oklahoma took over and blasted for 80 yards, mostly on the fine running of Billy Vessels and Heath.

Arnold, with nothing like the passing and ball handling wizardry of Parilli, threw a looping pass to Merrill Green for the touchdown. The play covered 17 yards. All-American tackle , Jim Weatherall, kicked the point.

Wilbur Jamerson of Kentucky (with ball) tries to break through OU line.

Babe Parilli (#10) was the inspirational leader of the Wildcats in 1950.

OU's future Heisman winner, Billy Vessels, carries behind blocking of Leon Heath (#40).

Heath carries behind blocking of Ed Lisak (#45) as future LSU coach, Charlie McClendon (#87) of Kentucky moves in.

Heath rumbles against Kentucky.

Attendance- 82,000

Scoring Summary

First Quarter

UK- Jamerson 22 yard pass from Parilli (Gain kick)

Second Quarter
UK- Jamerson 1 run (kick failed)

Fourth Quarter
OU- Green 17 yard pass from Vessels (Weatherall kick)

Individual Statistics


OU- Heath, 20-121

UK- Jamerson, 15-58


OU- Arnold 2-5-21

UK- Parilli 9-12-105


OU- Vessels 2-21

UK- Bruno 3-57

Game Write Up and Photos Courtesy of 1951 Sugar Bowl - Kentucky vs. #1 Oklahoma

To Download the 1951 Sugar Bowl- Kentucky vs. #1 Oklahoma Click Here

Monday, June 08, 2009

Interview with Bill Keightley, (Week 7)

WT Administrator

This interview begins with a discussion of the early 1970s and the University of Kentucky men's basketball program. Keightley discusses differences between Coach Adolph Rupp and his successor, Joe B. Hall. He discusses the players under Coach Rupp during his final years and those under Coach Joe B. Hall during his first seasons. Mr. Keightley recalls the integration of African-American players into the program in the early 1970s. He also discusses how the experience of playing Kentucky basketball could impact the futures of players who stayed in the region, and the personal relationships he developed with players over the years -- most notably Derrick Miller. Finally, Keightley discusses the difficulties of recruiting in the modern era and Coach Tubby Smith's recruiting style.
Interview with William B. Keightley, May 30, 2006 (01:21:16)
Keightley, William B.; Interviewee -- Suchanek, Jeffrey; Interviewer

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Why was Calipari OK in 2009 and not in 2007?

WT Senior Board Moderator

First of all let me state that I do not believe there are any teeth in the NCAA investigation that will name Calipari as involved. In fact, most of the investigation involves the women's golf team but the Memphis Basketball Program and Calipari now being at Kentucky is more newsworthy.

However, I always wondered why Todd and Barnhart went running to Calipari in our latest search for a Kentucky Basketball Coach to replace their poor hire of Gillispie but they did not even approach Calipari in 2007 to replace OTS.

I know that Sandy Bell told them to steer clear of Calipari with "his baggage" in 2007 but did that not happen during Calipari's hiring this past time or did Todd and Barnhart just decide that they were going with Calipari even though there seemed to be that U Mass cloud over him.

I am glad to have Calipari and hope that he uses his great coaching and recruiting abilities at Kentucky and does not do anything that even remotely would be cause for investigation.

all eyes will be on Calipari and Kentucky teaming up and there are allot of people that would like nothing more than finding Calipari and Kentucky doing something wrong.

I believe that, as Kentucky Fans, we will have to learn to live with others casting constant innuendos of cheating at The Big Blue Nation for any success that we have and we will have much success under Calipari.

I hope that Sandy Bell does her job to an extreme in alerting Todd, Barnhart and Calipari of anything and everything that may be even remotely questioned by the NCAA or other Programs. - she will have a very full plate in that the cloud, whether right or wrong, will remain directly over Calipari and indirectly over Kentucky.


NCAA Scholarship Limit

WT Executive Moderator

The NCAA is talking about a new rule limiting the # of players a team can sign each spring. The number being bounced around is 28. I thought I’d go back from 2005-2009 and check the number of SEC teams plus other areas we recruit with Clemson, GA Tech and Cincinnati. I have them listed by team with the averages over the 5 years and the number of times they signed over 28 in a 5 year period.


  • Alabama: 27.8 (2) A high of 32 twice.
  • Arkansas: 27.4 (1) Signed 32 one season.
  • Auburn: 26.8 (2) 29 and 30.
  • Florida: 22 (0) Never signed over 27.
  • UGA: 22.2 (0) Signed 28 one season.
  • UK: 26.8 (3) 29-29-30
  • LSU: 23 (0) Never signed over 26
  • Miss St: 28 (2) 29-33
  • Ole Miss: 29.6 (3) 37-31-30
  • SC:27 (2) 29-31
  • UT: 24 (1) Signed 32 one season.
  • Vandy: 20.6 (0) A high of 25
  • Clemson: 21 (0) a high of 25
  • Ga Tech: 19.2 (0) a high of 21
  • Cincy: 23.2 (0) A high of 25
I thought I’d see this helping UK. I figured Alabama, Auburn and the Florida of the worlds signed a lot more kids just to keep them away from each other. I figured UK would be higher based on the fact they had to take chances on the DJ Stafford’s of the world.

Some teams never reached 25 much less 28. Ole Miss will not be able to take as many academic risks as they have in the past. Nutt even pushed the envelope when at Arkansas.