I’ll admit, I’m a sucker for hall of fame stuff. Maybe it’s my analytical mind loving lists and statistical debate over inductees or maybe its my girlie side just liking the emotion and accomplishment tied to the proceedings. Whatever it is, I’ve been trying to visit as many hall of fame sites as possible the last few years, even trekking up to Cooperstown when baseball holds absolutely no space in my sports repertoire.
State hall of fames hold a particular place in my heart because of the vast randomness of inductees that have no meaning to anyone outside the state. As a major sports fan, I probably know about 90% of the names in Cooperstown and Canton, but ask me about random high school athletes from Iowa and you’re on your own. Beyond that, it allows the little guys (e.g. high school coaches, athletic directors, small college administrators) to get their own accolades.
That being said, the Kentucky athletic hall of fame inductions are tomorrow night, and the list of inductees includes some familiar names:
-Michael Waltrip (Owensboro): Won the Daytona 500 twice and currently owns three Sprint Cup teams
-Donna Wise (Campbellsville University): Spent 32 years as head women’s basketball coach, retired with over 650 wins and a 71% winning percentage.
-Dan Neal (Corbin): UK offensive lineman who blocked for Walter Payton and the Bears from 1975 to 1983. He spent 26 years as a coach and player in the NFL.
-Mike Pratt (UK): UK guard who led the wildcats to 3 SEC championships and 2 Elite-8s. Currently the color analyst for Kentucky basketball.
-Lillie Mason (WKU)-Kentucky Miss basketball and 3-time all American for the lady hilltoppers.
-Wilbur Hackett (UK)-First African-American football team captain in the SEC and current football official. Most famous for his tackle of South Carolina quarterback Stephen Garcia in 2008.
–Buddy Demling- Kentucky golfer most famous for his trick-shot exhibition
–Jeff Brohm(Louisville)-Former Cardinal quarterback and Kentucky Mr. football. Played in the NFL and XFL and coached baby brother to be another UL NFL flameout.
Link to Kentucky Hall of Fame website and information on purchasing tickets to tomorrow night’s festivities.