Rich Rodriguez celebrates his 49th birthday today. There was a time, not so far in the past, when Rich Rodriguez was one of the hottest names in college football. Rodriguez built a successful career as the head coach of the West Virginia Mountaineers. Rodriguez was hired by WVU before the 2001 season, returning to his alma mater. Rodriguez turned WVU into a consistent contender in the Big East during his tenure. In 2007 the Mountaineers began the season ranked in the Top 5 before losing to then 18th ranked South Florida. The Mountaineers bounced back to enter their final game of the regular season ranked #2 in the BCS polls. With a spot in the national title game on the line in their final home game, Rodriguez’s team lost in a controversial game with Pittsburgh, dropping them out of contention for a national championship.
Even more troubling than the loss was Rodriguez’s eventual exit from the program. Rodriguez, who only one season before had allegedly turned down a potential opportunity to take over as head coach for Alabama, fled for the University of Michigan. On the heels of the crushing loss to Pittsburgh, the announcement of his departure (right before the Fiesta Bowl) left West Virginia and its fans reeling.
Karma caught up with Rodriguez, who never met expectations at Michigan. Rodriguez is now the head coach at Arizona. Not quite an upgrade.
- Now that the world has had 24 hours to digest the announcement of the new scheduling moves by Calipari, one common word continues to be used in regard to Cal: Brilliant. A segment of the fan base may never be pleased with Baylor being the opponent instead of Indiana, or ___(insert 2 or 3 other big name schools)___, but the set up in which Calipari has negotiated for 2013-2014 is the key. Alan Cutler spent the first 15 minutes of the radio show this morning ranting to himself, but he made a good point: Every coach in the country is calling their SID right now to asking how they can set up something similar in the future. Love the move or hate the move, Calipari is always thinking 2 steps ahead. That can’t be denied.
- The biggest winner in the whole 2-year Baylor series is the UK women’s basketball team. We’ve mentioned it almost in passing, but the scheduling over the next two years is absolutely brilliant for Mitchell’s team. They will almost certainly go to Waco next season to play Baylor. The key to that game is not even whether or not Kentucky wins. The key is that the game will likely be televised nationally as both teams figure to be in the Top 10. Baylor will be the favorite to repeat as national champion with the return of Brittney Griner. Make no mistake, Griner is THE STORY in women’s college basketball right now. The fact that Kentucky will get the chance to play against Baylor while Griner is still on the roster will be an exciting opportunity. And now, for the most brilliant aspect of the 2-year Baylor deal– UK women playing in Dallas Cowboys Stadium. The crowd will easily crush the previous record for attendance for a women’s basketball game. UK will be 1/2 of that equation. The double-header will no doubt garner a massive amount of attention from the media. UK Hoops will be in that spotlight. The spotlight follows Calipari whether he plays a game in Dallas Cowboys Stadium or a ballroom. For the women’s game though, Kentucky will get a chance to sit in a spotlight that very few teams ever see. The recruiting pitch that Mitchell can walk into homes with now, able to tell kids they will have a chance to be a part of history, is huge.
- Drew mentioned it in an earlier post, but speaking of Matthew Mitchell– I have never been more excited for a KSR Radio show than I am for tomorrow’s episode. Mitchell is one of the most charismatic and energetic people on the planet and he should be gushing with pride and excitement about the Baylor game announcement. He will bring a very different perspective to the show tomorrow. How many head coaches would do that? Matthew Mitchell would. And you should make sure to listen. And if that wasn’t enough, John Calipari and Sean Woods will both be sitting in for segments with Mitchell. LISTEN!
- Following a rather down sports weekend for baseball and tennis, both teams got back on the winning side of things in a big way this week. Two UK men’s tennis players, Eric Quigley and Alex Musialek advanced to the Sweet 16 of the singles NCAA tournament. Quigley teamed up with Panav Jha to advance to the Sweet 16 in the doubles portion of the tournament. The UK baseball team won a huge revenge match against a Mississippi State team that had blanked them in three outings last weekend. The Bat Cats have hit their stride once again following a recent slump. They seem to be hitting form at the perfect time behind two very strong pitching starts from A.J. Reed and Jerad Grundy. The baseball team will enjoy a day off before getting back to action in the SEC semifinals on Saturday.
- 2013 UK target Troy Williams will be attending the heralded Oak Hill Academy for his senior year of high school. The news really isn’t that exciting or relevant to him choosing Kentucky. I just thought it was funny that apparently the news was first shared by his Mom via her Facebook status. She squeezed it in between liking 23 of Troy’s friend’s statuses and gushing about Phillip Phillips winning Idol and sharing what she had for dinner. Moms on Facebook… the real reason Mark Zuckerberg is losing his empire.
- In other 2013 recruiting news, the Harrison twins (Aaron and Andrew) will likely announce their decisions as early as October. Their father leaked that tidbit earlier this evening. Kentucky has been in the mix with the Harrison twins for a while now and one has to think that the 2013-2014 game in Texas only sweetens the pot for Kentucky. Fingers crossed until October. I’ll be adding their Dad on Facebook tomorrow just in case…
- Kentucky will not be playing Georgetown in the Big East/SEC Challenge. Not a huge hit for Kentucky’s schedule but it does likely mean that Georgetown will not have a chance to see Nerlens Noel play on their home court next season. Sorry x 2. What does this mean for Kentucky? Well, Matt Jones was right about 1/2 of his mysterious tweet before heading off on his vacation. Kentucky added Baylor to the schedule. The other team mentioned in the tweet? Notre Dame. They are a Big East team. The logical conclusion would be that the Irish would slide into Georgetown’s spot on the schedule. Yawn. Maybe Calipari can arrange something with holograms.
- In a tiny bit of NBA news that slipped through the cracks today, former Kentucky PG Brandon Knight will represent the Detroit Pistons at the upcoming NBA Draft Lottery. Hopefully he will throw some 3 goggles to Anthony Davis.
- The UK Football team is doing big things off the field for charity. Some members of the team, as well as Joker Phillips, are currently spending time in Ethiopia on a service trip. To read more about the trip, check out a neat story on the preparation from UK Athletics.
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Bill Keightley Report : Never to be forgotten.
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