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Best year ever?

It’s been mentioned in passing a few times before, but Kentucky’s standings in the Capital One Cup — an award given annually to each of the best men’s and women’s athletic programs — is something to behold. Currently the Cats are in second place for the best men’s athletic program in the nation, just behind North Carolina. Take a second to think about that: The best athletic program in the nation…

Winning the basketball title helps a lot, as scoring for “more important” sports is weighted more heavily. In fact, winning the basketball title netted UK 60 of its current 66 points. But schools earn points in the Cup standings with top-ten finishes in NCAA Championships and final official coaches’ polls. The award for winning is $400,000 in scholarships, another trophy for the Joe Craft Center, and an appearance at the ESPY’s in July.

Kentucky is in second place, thanks in large part to its newest banner hanging in Rupp’s rafters, but with the men’s tennis team and baseball team charging toward the post-season; it seems highly likely the Capital One Cup will come to Lexington.

So is this the best year for Kentucky athletics in ever? Think about the run this Kentucky program has had. The losing streak against Tennessee ended, the Rifle team shot their way to a runner-up finish, the Cross-Country team placed well in their six meets this year, the Golf team has four first-place Invitational finishes, the Swim & Dive team set records all over — finishing fifth in the NCAA’s. And of course, the basketball team won its first title since 1998. As previously mentioned the baseball and tennis teams are making their post-season moves to bring home even more hardware for the Wildcats.

So as this school year and sports season begin to wind down for the summer, be sure to appreciate the year Kentucky athletics has had. It’s been an incredible ride, and what a better way to end this year than to bring home the crown of best athletic program in the nation.

As a side note: In women’s sports Kentucky is tied for 23rd, meaning UK is one of only eight schools to appear in the Top-25 of both the men’s and women’s standings. Go Cats.

Article written by Stuart Hammer

B.S. Broadcast Journalism from the University of Kentucky. @StuartHammerKSR

18 Comments for Best year ever?



  1. Pete
    5:06 pm April 26, 2012 Permalink

    How can this be? I thought Mitch Barnhart sucked.

    And to be clear, I don’t believe that, but many do.



  2. Lorena Ochoa
    5:15 pm April 26, 2012 Permalink

    The women’s golf team still sucks



  3. SexNFuneralHomes
    5:22 pm April 26, 2012 Permalink

    How the Hell do you get 66 pts for winning a soccer champ. but only get 60 for winning basketball champ. and coming in 2nd in rifle champ.



  4. tltaworl
    5:46 pm April 26, 2012 Permalink

    Why isn’t cheerleading a sport! I am outraged!!!



  5. Brad Gross
    5:46 pm April 26, 2012 Permalink

    I am a huge UK fan, so there is no hate in this comment, but it is true. Mens BB championship earns 60 points. We are in 2nd w/ 66. Meaning with a loss against Kansas(unlikely) we would be tied for 53rd. We all know we had the best basketball team this year, and these rankings prove it! But at the end of the Capital One Cup, UK will not be ranked so high.

    Unfortunately what I’m trying to say, even though I don’t want to admit it, is that at this point in the competition the standings are very misleading… and Kentucky probably shouldn’t be considered one of the best overall athletics programs.. Definitely top 20 though!



  6. Kyle
    5:53 pm April 26, 2012 Permalink

    Just think this includes the major sport of football. This speaks to the level that Mitch Barnhart has brought in coaches and hired people of not only character, but also those who can get the job done. Kudos to Mitch, just to be at the top of this list is amazing.



  7. Memphis Raines
    5:53 pm April 26, 2012 Permalink

    Proud of my University, go get em cayts!



  8. Ghostofbearbryant
    5:59 pm April 26, 2012 Permalink

    Until uk gets serious about college athletic’s biggest sport, it is in contention for nothing. And Barnhart does suck.



  9. Fubar
    6:01 pm April 26, 2012 Permalink

    I’d trade the tennis, baseball and rifle titles for a 9-win football season any day.



  10. realistic view
    6:47 pm April 26, 2012 Permalink

    actually, the athletic department only measures their success department wide through the Learfield Directors Cup. Today they just released the winter sport rankings and UK is ranked 23rd. THis doesn’t factor in MEn’s tennis or the potential outcome for baseball yet either. THis is a much truthful measure than the Captial One Cup.



  11. CatGrad7072
    7:03 pm April 26, 2012 Permalink

    6: Just think how far ahead we’d be if Mitch had hired a real FB coach.



  12. uktailg8er
    7:07 pm April 26, 2012 Permalink

    I would say 1977-78 was a better year, because the football team went 10-1 and won the SEC. (Although they were on probation and couldn’t go to a bowl.)



  13. Ridge Runner
    8:34 pm April 26, 2012 Permalink

    1951 hands down! Rupp winning the National Championship & Bear Bryant winning the Sugar Bowl would anchor any other sport the university was playing in.



  14. Viren
    10:42 pm April 26, 2012 Permalink

    #8 go screw yourself. Kentucky athletic program has is in good hands football Cats made 5 consecutive bowl games. This is still a great achievement considering we play in a conference, which has one 5 straight BCS National Championships. Our women’s basketball program is in great hands under Matthew Mitchell, finally winning SEC Regular Season Championship and making back to back elite eight finish. Our men’s basketball program went from NIT season to elite eight to final four to bringing home #8 in Cal’s third season. Mitch Barnhardt has done a great job in bringing in the right personnel to lead our team. Sure he is human is going to make mistake as it was the case with Billy Gillispie. I think that was a great mistake– Had Cal came in two years early Rose would have likely played for Cal at Kentucky and we would have had to vacate that season. We know it was not Cal’s who cleared Rose but since when do NCAA Organization rule with common sense. So I don’t even think Billy Gillispie Era was a bad thing in a retrospect.



  15. Swimmer Dad
    10:58 pm April 26, 2012 Permalink

    Better do some fact-checking, sir. The Swim & Dive team had one swimmer finish 5th in one event. The Men’s team finished 21st overall. The Women’s team did not have any NCAA qualifiers. The S & D team did have 24 members named to the SEC Honor Roll, thoug#. That was probably #1 among UK teams.



  16. Ruppolla
    11:04 pm April 26, 2012 Permalink

    #14 you are a big part of the problem. You’re either a hopeless fanboy or a connoisseur of mediocrity. Spare me this ‘5 consecutive bowl games’ garbage. More teams go to bowl games than don’t go (35 bowl games means that 70 out of 120 fbs teams go bowling every year.) The ‘streak’ was helped by a 12th game thanks to the addition of a 1-aa opponent.



  17. John
    1:25 am April 27, 2012 Permalink

    3. We have 66 Points becuase of a win in basketbal (60) and a split in coed rifle (12/2=6 each). UNC got 60 for their soccer championship. And our women also have eighth in basketball which gives 6+9=15 Points. They have the scoring on their website if you have any other questions.



  18. Tampa Satchel
    5:29 am April 28, 2012 Permalink

    Go Mitch!