The 2019 class of the Kentucky Sports Hall of Fame was announced this afternoon and includes a former UK Basketball star, a UK Football trailblazer, and a legendary UK broadcaster.
Derek Anderson, Nate Northington, and Ralph Hacker make up half of the new class, which also includes former Louisville receiver Deion Branch, former Kentucky State athletics director William Exum, and Owen County native Willis Augustus Lee, a U.S. Naval Academy graduate who went on to win seven medals at the 1920 Olympics as a member of the U.S. rifle team.
Anderson was a member of the 1996 Kentucky National Championship team and the 2006 Miami Heat NBA Championship team. A Louisville native, he is now an assistant basketball coach at Louisville Male High School and authored the book Stamina about his life story from homelessness to successful careers on the basketball court, in business and philanthropy.
Northington, also a Louisville native, accepted a scholarship to the University of Kentucky in 1967 and became the first black player in SEC Football history. A statue honoring Northington and the three other Wildcats that helped break the color barrier — Houton Hogg, Greg Page, and Wilbur Hackett — now stands outside Kroger Field.
Ralph Hacker is a native of Richmond, Kentucky, and spent nearly 30 years as an analyst and play-by-play announcer for UK football and men’s basketball games. In 1972, he joined Cawood Ledford on the UK Sports Network as the color analyst for men’s basketball and took over as the Voice of the Wildcats when Ledford retired in 1992. Hacker retired nine years later in 2001.
The 2019 Hall of Fame class will be honored August 19 at the Galt House Hotel in downtown Louisville.