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UK holding mascot tryouts on Thursday

If you grew up wanting to be a Wildcat, now’s your chance.

UK is hosting mascot tryouts this Thursday, August 23, in the gymnastics room at the Seaton Center on campus. Students interested in trying out will need to show up in athletic clothes with an unofficial transcript in hand for the 5 p.m. tryout.

It may not be that childhood dream of sinking a three-pointer at the buzzer to beat Louisville in Rupp Arena, but let’s be honest: you were never good at basketball and this is your only shot at running out onto the Rupp Arena floor in front of 22,000 fans. So give it a try if you think you’re qualified.

Washed up adults who aren’t students at UK, this isn’t for you. Sorry.

Go Cats.

UK women’s team finishes foreign tour with a win

UK Athletics

The Kentucky women’s basketball team finished its own foreign trip with a win on Friday. The Cats beat the Marghera Select team 81-64 to finish it’s Italy excursion with a 2-1 record. Senior Maci Morris led the Cats with 24 points including six triples.

UK freshman Rhyne Howard arrived in Italy yesterday after missing the first two games of the trip because she was representing the USA U18 team in Mexico City. The Americans won gold before Howard flew across the country to join her college teammates.

During the trip UK beat the Bosnia and Herzegovina National Team 73-41 before falling to the TK Hannover professional team. The stiff competition in Italy, along with the extra practices and team bonding will only help the Cats as the season approaches.

The team will head to Lake Como on Saturday for more sightseeing before returning home on Monday. Go Cats.

To read the entire game recap click HERE.


Matthew Mitchell and the Cats pick up in-state commit, Cassidy Rowe

Matthew Mitchell and the Cats pick up in-state commit, Cassidy Rowe

While Coach Matthew Mitchell and the rest of the women’s basketball team are competing in Italy, they’ve picked up a commit from right here in the Bluegrass. Cassidy Rowe, a native of Pike County, Kentucky, has just committed to the Cats.

Rowe will be a freshman at Shelby Valley High School in the fall. Even though she’ll be new to school, she won’t be new to the basketball team – she’s already played a key role on the roster. Last year, Rowe averaged 9.9 points and 3.3 rebounds as the starting point guard… as an eighth grader. She’s considered a favorite for Miss Kentucky Basketball 2022.

Coach Mitchell extended a scholarship offer to Rowe less than a month ago. Just days earlier, she suffered a torn ACL during an AAU game in Chicago.

Rowe tweeted about her offer on July 13, saying “I am beyond excited to announce that I just received a scholarship offer from the University of Kentucky!! I want to thank the UK coaching staff for believing in me even after my injury.”

She also had offers from Northern Kentucky University, Morehead State, Murray State and the University of Denver.

Welcome to the BBN, Cassidy!


Memorial Coliseum to Receive a Few Minor Updates

There are some changes coming to Memorial Coliseum.

The home of the Kentucky women’s basketball, volleyball and gymnastics teams will add a new video board at the front entrance and ribbon boards along the mezzanine level .  First reported by Jen Smith, the changes will be made before the start of the 2018-19 women’s basketball season.

The giant state of the art scoreboard will be on the wall that currently holds championship banners, which will be pushed to either side of the new board.  On the opposite end, the old scoreboard will be replaced with new ribbon boards.

Similar to the Rupp Arena renovation project, UK is opting to make minor changes instead of completely renovating the entire arena.  The major renovations call for upgrades to restrooms, the HVAC system and the addition of a club section, but they come with an expensive price tag.


Sydney McLaughlin signs with William Morris Endeavor talent agency

Sydney McLaughlin

Kentucky track and field phenom Sydney McLaughlin has signed with Beverly Hills based talent agency, William Morris Endeavor. McLaughlin has not yet chosen a shoe sponsor for her professional career, but now that she is officially finished running as a collegiate athlete, that is surely on the way in the near future.

William Morris Endeavor has clients across the entire athletic and entertainment spectrum. They represent clients such as actors Denzel Washington, Emma Stone, and Ben Affleck as well as world renowned athletes such as Serena Williams, Cam Newton and Novak Djokovic. Olympic gold medal winning track star, Allyson Felix, is also represented by William Morris Endeavor.

After a record-shatter and incredible lone year as a Kentucky Wildcat, McLaughlin’s professional career is officially beginning with this signing. The non-traditional UK one and done athlete is already a national star, but even so, the future is extremely bright.

And let’s not forget, she’s already gone viral for what she’s done on the track multiple times, both in high school and in Lexington. On top of that, KyWildcatsTV shared this promo video, it has been racking up views for months and has over 5.3 million views on Twitter.

Read the whole story on McLaughlin’s signing from FloTrack here.


UK Hoops Update: Why a trip to Europe came at just the right time

Get ready to feel jealous: The Kentucky women’s basketball team will depart for their European tour in just five short days. That’s right, the men’s basketball team isn’t the only group of Wildcats boarding long plane flights, and the ladies are the first to leave. The Cats will spend 10 days in Italy, traveling to Rome, Venice, Florence and Lake Como, beginning Aug. 3.

This summer’s trip marks the first international travel the women’s team has taken since 2001, even though the NCAA allows an international trip every four years. Just like Coach Calipari, Coach Matthew Mitchell will also be allowed 10 extra practices with his team. And it couldn’t come at a better time.

Last season was clearly a rebuilding year for the Wildcats. With obvious scoring holes after Makayla Epps’ and Evelyn Akhator’s graduation, Maci Morris had big shoes to fill. And while she led the team in scoring, averaging 17.3 points per game, having one consistent shooter wasn’t enough. Kentucky finished 15-17 on the season and 6-10 in the SEC, failing to qualify for post-season play for the first time since 2004.

But a new season begins in five short days, and the Wildcats are ready for a fresh start. After suffering hit after hit to their roster from 2014-2016, Kentucky finally has more returners than newcomers. Both of last season’s leaders – Morris and point guard Taylor Murray – will be back for their senior seasons, while Dorie Harrison (center) and Tatyana Wyatt (forward) will look for their breakout sophomore seasons after making respectable contributions as freshmen.

Clearly, Morris and Murray will be the team’s leaders in practice. Check out this impressive practice footage:

Then, there are the newcomers: Rhyne Howard and Blair Green. Both women are likely to serve a major role on the team.

Howard, a five-star guard, will unfortunately not be able to attend the European trip. But don’t worry, she’s taking an international trip of her own. Howard is a member of the USA Women’s U18 National Team, so she’ll be competing at the FIBA Americas U18 Championship in Mexico City August 1-7. Technically, the rest of the Wildcats will be in Europe until Aug. 13, so she could join them late in their trip, but that has not been announced.

Blair Green, a four-star guard out of Harlan, Kentucky, is a player to watch this season. As a high school senior, she averaged 26 points per game. Praised for her long-range shooting, Green is an obvious candidate to contribute – alongside Maci Morris – from the 3-point line. While Mitchell and the BBN would obviously love to see Green have a standout freshman season, her true test will come next year, once Morris has graduated.

This timing of the trip couldn’t be better. In addition to the in-game experience they’ll earn – the team will play three games –  the extra 10 practices will certainly help find and develop that chemistry a young basketball team so desperately needs before the start of another challenging season in the SEC.

Coach Mitchell put it best:

“The importance of these educational and athletic trips cannot be overstated,” Mitchell said in a letter to potential donors. “For example, the last two times our men’s basketball team has made a foreign tour before a season it resulted in Final Four runs in April.”


UK women’s basketball starts practice

The UK women’s basketball team started practice today, giving us another sign that the fun sports are on the way and we’ll get through this summer soon enough.

The Cats finished 15-17 last season but 2018-2019 looks much brighter. UK will return 11 players on last season’s team, including Ogechi Anyagaligbo who was injured last season. Anyagaligbo was named Rookie of the Year in the American East Conference after averaging 10.1 points and nine rebounds per game for Stony Brook during the 2015-2016 season.

Kentucky will return 80 percent of its scoring, 74 percent of its rebounding and 80 percent of its assists. Sounds good, but that’s not all.

UK adds Rhyne Howard and Blair Green. The two freshman were high school stars with Howard being named Miss Basketball of Tennessee. Green was named First Team All-State in Kentucky. Howard leaves for USA Basketball this weekend.

But hold the phone. We’re not done yet.

The Cats will also get a preseason exhibition trip to Italy. John Calipari and his squad heads to the Bahamas, Matthew Mitchell’s team will go to Rome, Florence and Venice. We all know how beneficial those summer trips can be so it’s a nice added bonus for both teams.

UK will practice again Saturday and Sunday and the season opener on Nov. 7th will be here before we know it.


Rachel Lawson among UK coaches to sign extensions

Rachel Lawson among UK coaches to sign extensions

Photo by UK Athletics

Kentucky softball coach Rachel Lawson has been mentioned as a candidate for several high-profile jobs recently, which is why the news I’m about to share is so great. UK just announced that Lawson signed a contract extension to stay at Kentucky through the 2022-23 season. Rifle coach Harry Mullins, volleyball coach Craig Skinner, and swimming and diving coach Lars Jorgensen also signed extensions.

“Rachel has taken our softball program to places we have never been before,” UK Athletics Director Barnhart said. “Not only have her teams reached the Women’s College World Series and become contenders on an annual basis, but she has also created a culture that enables success in all facets of life, both during and after the time her student-athletes play for her. We are proud to have her leading our softball program and look forward to the championship moments we will celebrate together.”

Two-time SEC Coach of the Year Craig Skinner extended his contract through the 2022-23 season after leading the volleyball team to its first SEC regular-season championship since 1988 and first Elite Eight in the modern era of the NCAA Tournament in 2017. Swimming and diving coach Lars Jorgensen’s new agreement will also keep him at Kentucky through the end of the 2022-23 season. UK is in the midst of a streak of five consecutive top-25 NCAA team finishes, including back-to-back 14th-place finishes over the last two seasons. After winning his second national championship at Kentucky earlier this year, rifle coach Harry Mullins has agreed to stay at Kentucky through the 2021-22 season. The four-time Great American Rifle Coach of the Year is the longest-tenured UK head coach, having just completed his 31st season.

“I continue to believe that our group of head coaches is the best in America,” Barnhart said. “Ensuring that Harry, Craig, Rachel and Lars will stay at Kentucky for years to come is vital to the success of both the teams they lead and our department as a whole. I’m excited to continue working with them and all of our outstanding coaches.”

Kentucky hires Lonnie Greene as Track and Field coach

Kentucky hires Lonnie Greene as Track and Field coach

After losing Edrick Floreal to Texas last month, UK has hired a new track and field coach. Lonnie Greene will take over at Kentucky after six seasons at Purdue, in which he built the Boilermakers into a national power.

“Lonnie is a quality person who shares our commitment to fostering growth and continuing to build our track and field and cross country programs in all facets,” Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart said. “I had the pleasure of watching him and his team in person last month at nationals and was so impressed by the energy and unity of his team. Getting a chance to spend time with him during the interview process only solidified the impression he made.

“Lonnie will bring the same integrity to our program that he did in establishing Purdue as a contender on a national level. He has a championship mentality honed over the many seasons he spent in our conference at Arkansas, as well as a focus on helping the young people he leads grow as students. We are pleased to welcome Lonnie, his wife LaTayna and his entire family to our UK Athletics family.”

Greene led the Purdue women’s team to an eighth place finish at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships last month. Under his guidance, Purdue’s women’s team won the team title at 2017 Big Ten Outdoor Championships for the first time since 1999 and finished 14th at each of the last two NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships. In 2016, then men’s team finished 15th at NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships – best since 1972 – and 13th at NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships – second best in school history. Greene was named Women’s Head Coach of the Year in the Great Lakes Region three times in the last two years by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association, twice for outdoors and last year for indoors.

“I’m excited to have the opportunity as head coach at Kentucky,” Greene said. “Before I go any further I want to thank everyone I worked with at Purdue. They gave me a chance and I’ll always be so grateful to have worked with them. Thank you to Mitch Barnhart and Jason Schlafer for their leadership and for trusting me to take on this role at UK. I look forward to hitting the ground running building winning teams in the classroom and on the track. I can’t wait to start leading this great program. Go Big Blue!”

Before taking over at Purdue, Greene spent 16 seasons as an assistant at perennial power Arkansas, serving as associate head coach in charge of sprints, hurdles, horizontal jumps and multi events from 2000-2012. In each of his last two seasons with the Razorbacks, he was named USTFCCCA South Central Regional Assistant Coach of the Year. In 2004, he was named National Assistant Coach of the Year.

Greene hails from Nassau, Bahamas, but earned his B.S. from Murray State University in 1989. He is married to LaTayna Stewart. The couple has a daughter, Charisse; three sons, Cameron, Isaiah and Jacob; and two grandchildren, Tylan and Caleb.

Welcome back to the Bluegrass, coach!

Sydney McLaughlin named finalist for The Bowerman

Kentucky freshman track and field phenom Sydney McLaughlin is a finalist for the most prestigious honor in the sport.

McLaughlin is one of three finalists for The Bowerman, an award given to the most outstanding collegiate track athlete in the nation each season.

Arizona State’s Maggie Ewen and Georgia’s Keturah Orji join McLaughlin as finalists chosen by The Bowerman Advisory Board, with McLaughlin being the first female freshman finalist in the ten-year history of The Bowerman.

McLaughlin won gold earlier this month at the NCAA Championships in the 400m hurdles and broke the collegiate record by nearly a second running 52.75 seconds to take home the SEC championship title back in May. She also recorded the 13th-fastest 400m hurdles of all time, and her time of 52.75 makes her just 0.41 seconds away from becoming the fastest woman hurdler in the world.

The winner will be announced on December 20 at the annual USTFCCCA Convention in San Antonio.

Classic Clip: Future UK Hall of Fame golfer Russ Cochran’s 14-point swing

Classic Clip: Future UK Hall of Fame golfer Russ Cochran’s 14-point swing

Earlier today, it was announced that former UK golfer Russ Cochran will enter the UK Athletics Hall of Fame. In his honor, former KSR writer and PGA Tour caddie Aaron Flener dug up this hilarious old clip.

Cochran was a First Team All-SEC honoree at Kentucky and went on to a successful career in the pros, but in the 90’s, had a tough go of it in the Canadian Open, shooting 66 in the first round and 80 in the second. When asked what the difference between the two days was, Cochran quipped, “14 shots.” That’s just the first of many funny things about the video you’re about to watch.

(Some language NSFW)

Thankfully, Cochran’s career only went up from here. He went on to win ten professional tournaments, including one on the PGA Tour and four on the Champions Tour. He finished in the top 10 twice at the PGA Championship and won the British Senior Open in 2011. He’s still active on the Champions Tour (Senior PGA Tour) and has more than $13 million in career earnings.

Not too bad for someone who survived the pure self-destruction of a 14-point swing and hit the SOB everywhere that fateful day in Ontario.

PHOTO: UK Athletics

UK Track and Field’s Jasmine Camacho-Quinn to turn pro

PHOTO: UK Athletics

The Kentucky Track and Field team has lost its third star in a week.

Junior hurdler Jasmine Camacho-Quinn has decided to forego her final year of eligibility and will turn pro.

Camacho-Quinn won the NCAA championship in the 100-meter hurdles on Saturday in Eugene, Oregon, her second title in the event and fourth title of her Kentucky career.

Former Kentucky head coach Edrick Floréal left the Cats on Wednesday to take over the Texas Longhorn program.

UK freshman sensation Sydney McLaughlin announced last Saturday that she would be also be turning pro. It has since been reported that McLaughlin will join Floréal this offseason in Austin, TX to train for the professional ranks. Camacho-Quinn is also expected to participate.

Best of luck to all three (now) former Wildcats going forward.

Kentucky Loses Track Coach Edrick Floréal

© Kirby Lee | USTSI

Kentucky’s rising track and field program just lost its leader.  After coaching UK’s program for the last six seasons, Edrick Floréal will be the next head coach of Texas’ track and field team, the school announced.

“I would be remiss if I didn’t start off by thanking Mitch Barnhart and everyone at Kentucky,” Floréal said in a statement. “I’m so grateful for all the support they gave me in building a world-class program there.

“It’s because of them that I have an opportunity like this, and I am so excited to be the head coach at Texas. It’s the elite of the elite in track and field programs, and the potential to achieve greatness is fantastic. You have the premier track and field state in the country to recruit in, a rich and proud history, and are the flagship institution of the state. It’s truly an amazing opportunity.”

When Floréal arrived in Lexington, the track program was an afterthought.  Placing at the bottom of the SEC, the women’s team had never won a trophy as a top four finisher at the National Outdoor Track and Field Championships.  In three of the last four years, Kentucky has earned a top four finish on the NCAA’s biggest stage.

Floréal brought hardware and a ton of swagger to the program.  Kendra Harrison broke a hurdling world record and Jasmine Camacho-Quinn won a pair of National Titles in the hurdles, which helped recruit Olympian Sydney McLaughlin to Kentucky.  McLaughlin cemented UK’s status as “Hurdle U,” as the coach’s motto “Flo Knows” earned enough pedigree for a Sports Illustrated profile.

His contributions to UK’s women’s team are the most significant, but you cannot overlook what he did to develop the men’s team.  This year UK’s Tim Duckworth became just the second man to ever win the indoor heptathlon and outdoor decathlon, joining Olympic gold medalist Ashton Eaton.

Now Mitch Barnhart must conquer the impossible task of finding Floréal’s replacement.

“We are grateful to Edrick Floréal for his work leading our program and wish him well as he pursues this opportunity at Texas,” Barnhart Tweeted.  “We believe the success Kentucky track and field and cross country have seen in recent years is just a glimpse of what’s to come for Kentucky Track.

“A national search for our next head coach will begin immediately. Our focus in this search will remain on our student-athletes and their growth as people and competitors.”