With a lot going on over this Thanksgiving holiday, both in the world and around UK sports, it may have been overlooked that a lesser known Kentuckian passed away. Tom Gish, of Whitesburg Kentucky, the founder of “The Mountain Eagle” passed away early last week. Gish was a journalistic icon and one of the more interesting citizens of the Commonwealth. In 1957, he began a newspaper, “The Mountain Eagle” in Whitesburg, the purpose of which was to shed light on the corruption and scandal in Eastern Kentucky. Over the next 50 years, Gish and his wife ran the weekly newspaper and became key players in exposing problems ranging from coal company abuses to politicians’ violation of the law. “The Mountain Eagle” gave itself the phrase “It Screams” to showcase its take-no-prisoners brand of journalism that set out to stand up for the citizenry and root out corrupt practices by shining the public light on the actions. In 1974, some of the newspapers’ enemies attempted to bring it down by blowing up its printing press in the middle of the night. But Gish would not be deterred and still produced a weekly edition, with the motto changed to “It STILL Screams.” I was a fan of the newspaper for some of its more creative parts, including “Speak Your Peace”, in which readers could call a telephone answering machine, leave a message about any subject, and it would be printed in the newspaper…..producing the best newspaper content you can imagine. Gish won national journalism awards and news of his death has been featured in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and NPR. Few knew that in the mountains of Eastern Kentucky, such a true journalism giant existed, but Gish was able to set the standard of the best of the field for nearly 50 years. If you get a chance, find a copy of the paper or visit its website TheMountainEagle.com and remember the legacy Gish created.
Big news weekend, so lets get to it…..
(1): Basketball is the topic of the day in most parts, thanks to the Cats’ big win in Las Vegas. Billy Gillispie was pleased with his teams’ heart and determination after the game and it looks as if the Cats got an important bounce going into the week. There are three games on tap this week, including Lamar, Miami (Fl) and Mississippi Valley State, all in Rupp Arena. Gillispie says that he hopes to be able to make a more consistent rotation by the end of this three-game stretch so I think it will be very important to watch who plays this week, how many minutes and what the lineup groupings are by the end. This could be the theme for the season.
(2): Expect to hear the final list for Jai Lucas this week. I expect Kentucky to likely be on it, along with four other schools.
(3): Even though some may question whether they deserve it, the Cats are going bowling this year. And the question now becomes, will it be the Liberty or Music City Bowl? I have been told that both bowls are likely to offer UK and that Mitch Barnhart will work with the SEC office and the Vandy AD to try and figure out what scenario would be the best for all schools. Ticket sales are very important, but also important are hotel and tourism sales and the potential for good television matchups. If Kentucky were to play in the Music City Bowl, they would likely see North Carolina (although that is not set in stone) and if they were to play in the Liberty Bowl, they would get the East Carolina-Tulsa winner. I am going to either, but I must say that a preference for another trip to Nashville on New Year’s Eve would be my choice.
(4): Rich Brooks (who by the way has to deal with the most inane calls for resignation that I have EVER heard) has suggested that Mike Hartline might return as quarterback for the Bowl game. After the game on Saturday, he said that the best bet for offensive success may be to have Randall Cobb at WR and have Hartline back under center. Again, this move has always been the preference for the coaching staff, who hope to have Cobb as the best threat in the SEC at WR over the next two years and Hartline in a battle with Morgan Newton and Ryan Mossakowski next year for the starting job. Such a move for the bowl game is likely with that scenario in mind more than anything else.
(5): Finally, the women’s volleyball team made the NCAA Tournament and will host the first and second round in Memorial Coliseum. The Cats will play Michigan in the first round on Thursday and then if they win, likely play #13 overall seed St Louis in the second round on Friday at 7 pm. That game could be quite the scene, with the Cats a bit of an underdog, but a potentially rowdy crowd on hand. We will be there if that game takes place and it should be something to watch. Congrats to the Lady Cats on what should be a huge week.
More throughout a huge day…..we name the two finalists in the blog contest, look back at all things Josh Harrellson and begin another week of UK goodness.
Oh yeah and the Cards and Vols lost….that was nice.