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.