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10 Things to Know About Belmont


Your Kentucky Wildcats will take on the Belmont Bruins tomorrow at noon at Rupp Arena. As the resident Nashvillian on the blog, I took it upon myself to do some research and give you the ten things you need to know about Belmont:

Photo via ESPN

1. Rick Byrd loves sweater vests

Rick Byrd is highly respected by his peers and ranks eighth among all active NCAA Division 1 head coaches in career wins with 671. He’s been at Belmont for 28 seasons, leading the Bruins to six NCAA appearances (2006, 2007, 2008, 2011, 2012, and 2013). His closet also ranks in the Top 10 nationally in most sweater vests, with 493. The man loves sweater vests more than Mitch Barnhart and Chandler Bing combined.

2. This is the first meeting between the Cats and the Bruins

Believe it or not, tomorrow is the first time Belmont and Kentucky have played each other. However, Rick Byrd and John Calipari have met once before during Cal’s time at Memphis, when the Tigers beat the Bruins by six points in 2003.

(AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

(AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

3. JJ Mann is really good, but almost didn’t get a scholarship

The senior scored 11 points in the final 2:22 of Belmont’s upset of UNC, including the game-winning three with 13.1 seconds left. He finished the game with 28 points and is averaging 17.7 points and 4.8 rebounds so far this season. Despite being Belmont’s best player, Mann almost didn’t get a scholarship. During his recruiting visit to Belmont, he had just gotten over the flu and did not impress the players during pick-up games. Belmont’s players reportedly went to Byrd and told them they didn’t think Mann was good enough to play for the Bruins, but Byrd decided to take a chance on Mann, and it clearly paid off. Get ready to see him shoot early and often from the outside tomorrow.

Adelicia Acklen

Adelicia Acklen

4. The Belmont Mansion is haunted

Montevallo’s not the only team on UK’s schedule with some ghosts in the closet. Adelicia Acklen was a wealthy Nashville socialite and businesswoman who built Belmont Mansion, the antebellum home at the center of campus, with one of her husbands in the 1850’s. Over the years, Adelicia had ten children, one fiance, and three husbands. The fiance, two of the husbands and six children died before she did, and after her death, she is said to haunt the halls of Belmont Mansion, reportedly setting off motion detectors on a regular basis while looking for her dead children.


5. They’re without their starting point guard

Starting point guard Reese Chamberlain injured his foot earlier this season and hasn’t played since November 24th. Up until his injury, he was averaging 10.9 points a game and 3.9 rebounds. Without him, Belmont has suffered, putting up 20 turnovers in their loss to Denver. He was listed as doubtful against Denver. No word on if he’ll play tomorrow.

6. The man who sang Miley will be in Rupp tomorrow

Charles Van Dyke, the Belmont fan who sang “Wrecking Ball” during the Bruins’ upset of UNC, will be in Rupp Arena tomorrow. I interviewed him this week, and he said that even though he’ll be in the upper deck, he’s going to sing during one of UK’s free throws.

Image via

7. There is a Kentucky boy on the team

Sophomore guard Taylor Barnette is a Lexington, Kentucky native who played high school ball at Lexington Christian Academy. He transferred to Belmont after one season at UVA, and is sitting out this season.

8. Tomorrow’s tip time is the earliest they’ve had in over two years

The last time Belmont had a tip time of 11 a.m. CT or earlier was November 15, 2011 against Memphis. Can someone make sure they only have decaf coffee in their hotel rooms?


9. It used to be a girls only school

Belmont used to be known as Ward-Belmont college, an all-girls finishing school for the wealthy families in the Nashville area. One of the most popular alumnae? Minnie Pearl, aka Sarah Colley Cannon. (Howdyyyyy!) In 1951, the Tennessee Baptist Convention bought Ward-Belmont and re-established it as Belmont College.

Photo via USA Today

Photo via USA Today

10. Vince Gill is their biggest fan

Country music star Vince Gill may be Belmont’s biggest fan, attending nearly every home game. Personally, I think Vince Gill has it made. After hitting it big, he and his wife Amy Grant live the good life in Nashville, doing various music gigs at their leisure, attending pretty much any sporting event they want, and in Vince’s case, playing golf and eating plenty of good food. Byrd introduced himself to Gill at a charity golf event in the 80’s and talked him into coming to a game. The rest, as they say, is celebrity fan history.
The two are also close friends with Vandy coach Kevin Stallings, a trio that you know gets into some major hijinks in Music City.

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.

16 Comments for 10 Things to Know About Belmont

  1. CYH
    2:08 pm December 20, 2013 Permalink

    My grandmother(from KY) went to Ward Belmont and was in the same sorority with Minnie Pearl. In the eighties they even had a reunion at her house in Nashville.

  2. Elmer
    2:13 pm December 20, 2013 Permalink

    They sure don’t make them like Minnie Pearl no more. She loved to make sandwiches

  3. Djdubious
    2:17 pm December 20, 2013 Permalink

    Is Vince Gill Belmonts biggest fan or is it Buce Willis who is clearly standing behind him?

    • Haha
      3:41 pm December 20, 2013 Permalink

      Haha good call. I missed that the first time but thats definitely Bruce Willis

  4. Jim Harris
    2:24 pm December 20, 2013 Permalink

    I’m an oldster who remembers when women often went by “Mrs (hubby’s name)”. But it’s been years since I’ve seen that–except for you. Would you share with us why you use this type moniker?

    • Mrs. Tyler Thompson
      2:28 pm December 20, 2013 Permalink

      LOL, my name is actually Tyler (and I’m a girl), and for that reason, I had to add the “Ms.” (and later “Mrs.”) to my handle to let people know I’m not a boy.

  5. Chris
    2:28 pm December 20, 2013 Permalink

    Is that Vince Gill or Mike Leach?

    2:42 pm December 20, 2013 Permalink

    SVP & Russillo just said the #1 pick in the NBA is really down to just Wiggins or Parker- to be fair they said maybe a 3rd player but didn’t name Randle by name. Why? Randle has a bad game and he’s no longer thought about nationally as a contender for the top pick? They obviously haven’t been paying attention because Wiggins isn’t really doing anything, and Kansas’ season has almost been as equally disappointing.

  7. KYranger74
    2:50 pm December 20, 2013 Permalink

    Tyler could you tell us what is wrong with the podcast on

  8. Raymundo
    2:55 pm December 20, 2013 Permalink

    NBADRAFT.NET has Zach Lavine getting drafted ahead of Julius Randle. Seriously?!! lol…someone’s a UCLA shill. The kids fine, but he’s averaging 13 pts, 2 rbs a game. Sound like a top 10 pick? He was ranked the 12th best SG coming out of HS last year by Rivals.

  9. Raymundo
    2:58 pm December 20, 2013 Permalink

    They have Andrew and Aaron Harrison both rated as 2nd rounders- Aaron as a late 2nd rounder.

  10. Orange Julius
    2:59 pm December 20, 2013 Permalink

    Because I am a turnover machine and cant go to my right

  11. NCAA Violation
    4:23 pm December 20, 2013 Permalink

    On #3, NCAA rules state that players cannot report back to coaches while the recruit works out on a recruiting trip. Coach can’t be there, players can’t report back to coach…

  12. ==== OL' PIX ====
    1:16 am December 21, 2013 Permalink

    ==== Can’t help but think Vince Gill vs Ashley Judd ……….. um ….. uh …………..

    I’ll take the conservative over the liberal ………..

    Cats over Bears ?


  13. Buckets
    6:12 am December 21, 2013 Permalink

    There is a huge hole in my heart. I’ve missed the last two days of KSR podcasts. I never miss a podcast, dammit!

  14. Not Erik Jarboe's mom
    3:37 pm December 21, 2013 Permalink

    Number 4 could also include Transy. Old Morrison is haunted. Yes I realize that Transy was only an exhibition game so I am sure that is why it was included. But it is “on the schedule.” Just thought you’d want to know.