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Tubby Smith and Rex Chapman named to the UK Athletics Hall of Fame


Are we one step closer to hanging a Tubby Smith banner in the rafters? This afternoon, it was announced that Tubby, along with Rex Chapman, Oliver Barnett (football), Leslie Nichols (women’s basketball), Press Whelan (track/cross country) and Jesse Witten (men’s tennis) will be inducted into the UK Athletics Hall of Fame the weekend of September 27-28, in conjunction with the Florida game.

Oliver Barnett played for UK from 1986-89 and is UK’s all-time quarterback sack leader. Leslie Nichols (1983-86) is one of UK Hoops’ most prolific players. She was a three-time All-SEC honoree by the league’s coaches, and ranks second all-time at UK in double-doubles (35), fourth in steals (278), fourth in career rebounds (877) and fifth in blocks (102). Press Whelan (1957-61, 1967-73) was a national champion track and cross-country athlete before returning to coach the programs in the late 60’s. Jesse Witten (2002-05) is the most decorated men’s tennis player in program history, and as a professional player, he qualified for several Grand Slams including the US and French Opens.

You know Chapman’s accolades by this point. In his two seasons at Kentucky, he totaled 1,073 career points. In 1988, he was selected eighth overall in the NBA draft by the Charlotte Hornets, and enjoyed a 12-year career in the pros before becoming a scout and Tweet Beat Hall of Famer.

Finally, Tubby Smith led to the Cats to their seventh national championship, along with five regular-season SEC championships and five SEC Tournament crowns. He was a three-time National Coach of the Year (1998, 2003, 2005), as well as a three-time SEC Coach of the Year selection.

A source tells KSR that plans are in the works to bring Tubby and his Texas Tech program to Kentucky for a game in the 2014-2015 season, at which point they will likely honor him for his achievements as a Cat.


Article written by Mrs. Tyler Thompson

No, I will not make you a sandwich, but you can follow me on Twitter @MrsTylerKSR or email me.

47 Comments for Tubby Smith and Rex Chapman named to the UK Athletics Hall of Fame

  1. Rei
    6:26 pm August 19, 2013 Permalink

    Replace Pitino’s with Tubby’s, tbh.

  2. pj hairston
    6:32 pm August 19, 2013 Permalink

    Well, it looks like the NCAA isn’t going to investigate my connections with a criminal and him “letting me borrow” his rental cars because of my status as a collegiate athlete, which should be an NCAA violation (but shhhh, don’t tell anybody). UNC isn’t going to investigate either. Looks like I’ll be back for the UK game! I love playing at UNC, where NCAA violations don’t exist!

  3. CatsFan12
    6:33 pm August 19, 2013 Permalink

    Rex Chapman repping Apollo! Always an eagle family! I would love to be at that game vs. TT. Give Tubby a big standing ovation! Well deserved to all, congrats. Go CATS!

  4. Tubby who
    6:42 pm August 19, 2013 Permalink

    It’s clear this post is to stir the pot! So I’ll be first. Tubby led our program to the lowest they have been in years! Tubby inherited Camelot and left BCG a scrap heap!

  5. DT in DC
    6:47 pm August 19, 2013 Permalink

    Best part of this entire post? White boy #55 in the background.

  6. Doo Doo Brown
    6:49 pm August 19, 2013 Permalink

    Uh oh, the rednex are gonna be pissed.

  7. KB
    7:03 pm August 19, 2013 Permalink

    Not a Tubby fan. Just because he wasn’t as bad as Gillespie or didn’t go to coach an in-state rival, doesn’t mean he deserves a jersey in the rafters. He won #7 with the team he inherited from Rick and was only average thereafter.

  8. Linda Taylor
    7:09 pm August 19, 2013 Permalink

    5 – Yeah, that kid looks just like a toddler dancing.

  9. Stats man
    7:10 pm August 19, 2013 Permalink

    Didn’t realize Cats had a 3-peat when they won #7. The obvious answer is they didn’t. The punch line is Tubby won with Rick’s players when Rick couldn’t win with them the year before.

  10. Buddha
    7:32 pm August 19, 2013 Permalink

    Hanging a Tubby jersey is like buying rings for sweet 16 appearances.

    Forget nothing… Paying millions for a decade of Georgia bulldog basketball in Rupp is tragic.

  11. WhoaThere
    7:33 pm August 19, 2013 Permalink

    Tuck Fubby, that’s all. Arrogance + laziness combined to really hurt his career. Not to mention some hypocrisy.

    Stats man, hush. You do realize ’96, ’97, and ’98 were all drastically different teams, right? Your little contention that Rick couldn’t win in ’97 looks pretty anemic with Rick having a FF and Ring. What’s Tubby done since ’98?


  12. Doo Doo Brown
    7:41 pm August 19, 2013 Permalink

    I love how people pretend like that 98 team was a slam dunk to win the championship. The truth is they had no business winning that title. They were ranked #9 preseason in a year where college basketball was absolutely loaded. Tubby took Rick Pitino’s players who had no business being in the title hunt and won. Tubby’s worst year was an 8 seed and 2nd round of the NCAA and you would think that he had Tom Crean like years listening to people talk.

  13. Buddha
    7:42 pm August 19, 2013 Permalink

    The championship banner from 1998 is there in the rafters.

    So are other things that are “Special”

    Tubby Smith is not special. You put his jersey up there and you might as well take the others down.

  14. Dee W.
    7:44 pm August 19, 2013 Permalink

    A few of the historical revisionist trolls are already trickling in…more to come for sure with stories of bad, terrible things Tubby Smith did which never occurred, talk of how the team “got worse every year”, etc.

    Tubby Smith record at Kentucky

    1997 – 1998 – 35-4 overall, 14-2 SEC, SEC regular season champions, SEC tournament Champions, NCAA Champions, SEC Coach of the Year

    1998 – 1999 – 28-9 overall, 11-5 SEC, SEC tournament Champions, NCAA Elite 8

    1999 – 2000 – 23-10 overall, 12-4 SEC, SEC regular season Champions (tied), NCAA Round of 32

    2000 – 2001 – 24-10 overall, 12-4 SEC, SEC regular season Champions (tied), SEC tournament Champions, NCAA Sweet 16

    2001 – 2002 – 22-10 overall, 10-6 SEC, NCAA Sweet 16

    2002 – 2003 – 32-4 overall, 16-0 SEC, SEC regular season Champions, SEC tournament Champions, Granted #1 seed NCAA tournament, NCAA Elite Eight, SEC Coach of the Year, Naismith National Coach of the Year, Henry Iba Award for best national coach of the year, AP National Coach of the Year, first team since 1952 to go undefeated through SEC conference play through both the regular season and tournament (and first and only to do so with 16 regular season games), new record set for highest attendance at a game at Rupp Arena during this season, largest margin of victory (62 points) over an opponent in a game since 1952, first college coach since 1975 to sweep all NCAA recognized national coach of the year honors in the same season

    2003 – 2004 – 27-5 overall, 13-3 SEC, SEC Tournament Champions, Granted #1 overall seed NCAA tournament, NCAA round of 32

    2004 – 2005 – 28-6 overall, 14-2 SEC, #1 recruiting class, SEC regular season Champions, SEC tournament runner-up, NCAA Elite Eight, SEC Coach of the Year, Jim Phelan National Coach of the Year, AP National Coach of the Year

    2005 – 2006 – 22-13 overall, 9-7 SEC, NCAA round of 32

    2006 – 2007 – 22-12 overall, 9-7 SEC, NCAA round of 32

  15. Scott
    7:46 pm August 19, 2013 Permalink

    Is joe B in the rafters? I really don’t know. If yes, then precedent set for tubby to be there too.

  16. Doo Doo Brown
    7:48 pm August 19, 2013 Permalink

    10. You’re dumb and simple so you likely won’t be able to understand this, but Tubby’s decade here replicated at Georgia would easily be the greatest decade in the history of their program. That’s just an idiotic comparison.

    Just think of how mad you’re gonna be when they raise his banner to a thunderous ovation. Sucks for you!

  17. Special
    7:50 pm August 19, 2013 Permalink

    What exactly did Rex Chapman do that was special?

  18. lonnieb
    7:54 pm August 19, 2013 Permalink

    Quite frankly there is only about 10 programs period that would not take that 10 year stretch as an elite period for said school

  19. Joey buttafucco
    7:54 pm August 19, 2013 Permalink

    16 If you are comparing Georgia basketball to Kentucky,then I think that us idiotic. Apples and oranges. Record breaking at Georgia equates to good at ky. Tubby was a very good coach but you have to acknowledge that ky basketball was in decline tubbys last 3 years. Should he be in the rafters? I say yes but I for one was happy when he left. Kentucky basketball should be great not good.

  20. Dee W.
    7:57 pm August 19, 2013 Permalink

    Hopefully they can have former players that Tubby Smith coached like Tayshaun Prince there to say a few words when they have the ceremony to retire Smith’s jersey – Tayshaun was recently on KSTV and talks a lot about the influence Coach Smith had on him as a player and a person starting at about 5:04 in the video below:

  21. Al/in/Indy
    7:59 pm August 19, 2013 Permalink

    I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, my heartburn with Tubby was with bringing in Saul who couldn’t have started for a D2 team. Then….overlooking Jason Garner in Indy WHO wanted to be a CAT but wasn’t going to sit the bench because he was the coach’s son, and Jason went to Zona. Plus the fact Bobby Humphrey was in town for a visit but Tubby decided to play golf instead.
    Not to mention he was negotiating a new contract with the Gophers while coaching the SEC and the NCAA tournaments, then doing an Irsay and slipping out of town leaving UK high and dry….You really want to hang a jersey for someone like this?
    Might as well hang Clyde’s also!

  22. scott
    8:05 pm August 19, 2013 Permalink

    Oliver Barnett was one of my favorite defensive football cats. It is amazing that he got all those sacks during an era when college football was run run run. He was a beast!

  23. Dee W.
    8:05 pm August 19, 2013 Permalink

    #21 – Minnesota did not even contact him until after Kentucky was out of the tournament –

    even if what you said was true, how exactly is that a scandal? If another organization was interested in hiring you for a job you mean to tell me you would quit your current job before even negotiating the terms of a potential new job?

  24. grumpycat
    8:08 pm August 19, 2013 Permalink

    That gif never gets old. And Tubby is the man!

  25. scott
    8:09 pm August 19, 2013 Permalink

    I believe it was a good time for tubby to depart when he did. I thought his teams had faded and I was tired of winning games we should and being in games with elite teams only to lose by 7.

  26. Sean D
    8:09 pm August 19, 2013 Permalink

    I always what would have happened if John Stewart the big man high school commit, had not passed.

  27. Sean D
    8:09 pm August 19, 2013 Permalink


  28. ushouldno
    8:42 pm August 19, 2013 Permalink

    Greatly respect Tubby, a fine man and coach. About fifteen years ago I was in Maryland and camped near Tubby’s childhood home of Scotland. A very small town of no more than 500 people, near the Chesapeake Bay and the Potomac river. I thought this would have been a great place to grow up, just fish and swim most days. Congrats coach on the award.

  29. Sad cat
    8:45 pm August 19, 2013 Permalink

    Please, don’t humiliate our great fans any more. We suffered so much during the tubble years.

  30. Indiana Tom
    8:45 pm August 19, 2013 Permalink

    So glad to see Tubby getting the credit he deserves. Not only a great coach but a class act as well. Playing Texas Tech in Rupp and having a ceremony for Tubby at the same time would be very special.

  31. TN cat fan
    8:54 pm August 19, 2013 Permalink

    Bring on the Tubby banner! It’s about time he got the credit that he deserves!

  32. NIT much?
    8:54 pm August 19, 2013 Permalink

    You “fans” would put Cal in the rafters right now, but I don’t see an NIT appearance in Tubby’s record at UK anywhere….

    The guy deserves a spot up there.

  33. Bobbum man
    9:04 pm August 19, 2013 Permalink

    Tubby doesn’t deserve it… Jus because your a “class act” which I agree he was, doesn’t mean you get a banner

  34. what
    10:41 pm August 19, 2013 Permalink

    Tubby deserves all kinds of credit for winning the title with that team, with Pitinos players or not. That team was beyond well coached and people act like he has nothing to do with winning. Also without an injury to Bogans we are in the final four and possibly champions. If we did not let Michigan state get 6 rebounds on one possession we are in the final four. Yes he clearly lost steam at the end and the change was needed. However that man deserves a to be in the rafters and will be.

  35. Dee W.
    11:27 pm August 19, 2013 Permalink

    33 – when you are a class act and have the strong record he has as indicated in post #14 above, and as relayed by a great player like Tayshaun Prince as indicated in post #20 above, he is more than worthy of having a banner. He is also a huge part of the program’s history being the 3rd longest serving Head Coach and was the Head Coach for a 10 years – a decade, with a total tenure of 12 years coaching in the program. His charitable work continues to impact the community to the present day through the Tubby Smith Foundation. He is more than worthy to have a banner honoring him in Rupp for all of his contributions, his longevity, and his strong record. If Tubby Smith isn’t worthy of a banner being hung in his honor with that kind of a history with the program, then no one is.

  36. wabaco
    11:39 pm August 19, 2013 Permalink

    @9: You do realize that the 97 team only lost 5 against Arizona right? The 3 peat was that close and you also failed to mention that Anderson was out that game. Again, the 3 peat was that close.

  37. Ruppeat Offender
    11:54 pm August 19, 2013 Permalink

    About GD time Sexy Rexy made it. What took so long?

  38. jimp
    12:05 am August 20, 2013 Permalink

    We have some of the only fans in the country who still cannot just enjoy that we won the championship in 1998 because it was coached by Tubby. Who gives a damn. Before that season started even UK fans were not thinking we had a chance to win the championship that year. Tubby did a great job coaching that team, especially in the NCAA tournament. Maybe we can get a petition going to give up that championship and take the banner down because it was coached by Tubby.

  39. Dee W.
    1:05 am August 20, 2013 Permalink

    Here’s an article about him coming back and being among those getting honorary degrees and being the person with the longest ovation from the crowd in attendance – a year after supposedly leaving them “high and dry” – really – he did the university that badly in the end and they invited him back so soon and welcomed him back so enthusiastically and so warmly?

    It’s amazing what the Tubby detractors do – just make one thing up after another.

  40. one upper
    6:24 am August 20, 2013 Permalink

    36) you do realize that the two best players on the ’97 team( mercer, anderson) were not on the ’98 team don’t you? Not to mention pitino’s last recruiting class at u.k was pretty say the least.

  41. unreconstructed
    7:37 am August 20, 2013 Permalink

    P.C. police say “Tubby gotta be in the rafters” or we all be racist, you know whut I’m sayin’??!!

  42. rickshelton
    8:34 am August 20, 2013 Permalink

    Hey KSR… please stop using animated GIF files. They are fun to watch for the first few seconds and then become totally annoying while trying to read the nearby text. The video clips are fun and they can be stopped and started and will.

  43. 1fan
    9:40 am August 20, 2013 Permalink

    Seriously guys…look at 14’s post. How can you look at those stats and not say he was successful at UK. Remember, there was no 1 and done rule. All the superstars went straight to the NBA. If anyone cares to remember, all the teams then were actual teams that required some real coaching. Not taking away from Cal but he doesnt have as hard of a “coaching” job as Tubby did. All Cal needs to be good at is recruiting and team building. His talented players carry him.

    Also, Tubby was obviously drained from all the pressure that he received from the program and fanbase. He went out on some down years, and when he realized he couldnt handle the pressure anymore he stepped away. He DEFINITELY deserves an banner and I am very happy for him and appreciative of everything he did in the decade he kept this program going.

  44. Al/in/Indy
    9:41 am August 20, 2013 Permalink

    23) I read that same article later after he left, I do know what I read and if memory serves me correctly he was (his agent) approached during the SEC tournament by a headhunter employed by Minnesota. I just didn’t make that up to be saying it.
    I also didn’t refer to it as a scandal, what I was saying (now bare with me) he could’ve have had one of the BEST point guards in the nation, (how do I know? B/C I worked with Jason’s uncle) had he REALLY tried to get Jason Gardner. Gardner’s family was/still is BIG UK fans, had he told Gardner that best player starts, Jason would’ve came to UK…..BUT he was not going to sit the bench behind a D2 coach’s son.
    That was my heartburn!

  45. 1fan
    9:42 am August 20, 2013 Permalink

    Ashamedly I have to ask, is Pitino in the rafters?

  46. KevinM
    11:22 am August 20, 2013 Permalink

    “Kentucky hasn’t been to the Final Four since 1998, and the program has lost 10 or more games in a season five times under Smith – more than any other coach.” This is from the article that Tubby agrees to go to Minnesota. Now, what coach leaves for a lesser program? And no way he wasn’t contacted prior to the end of our season…that’s laughable.

    What has Tubby done since he left and the years prior to leaving? He is the definition of mediocrity.

    This is from the article that Tubby agrees to go to Minnesota. And like what we have found out about Pitino, we should never be in any hurry to hang banners. We are proof of exactly that….let their careers play out totally. That’s an extreme honor to be hanging in Rupp.


  47. Jeff
    5:35 pm August 20, 2013 Permalink

    Proud Tubby will be honored in the rafters LIKE every other UK coach who has so. A national championship at Kentucky. Smith had more class than some of the UK fans on this site. Mr Keightley told me many times he loved Tubby and Tubby had more class than any coach ever to coach UK. That’s a mouthful to say. Congrats Tubby!