Monday, November 12, 2012

Friday, August 31, 2012

August 31st: On this date...

... in 1982, a baby "Woo" was born in Poland to Marian and Grazylua Obrzut. Fan favorite Lukasz Obrzut was best known as an enforcer on the basketball court from 2003-2007. "Woo" finished his career with 196 points - 135 rebounds - 170 fouls. He was a part of a select group of players who really embraced being in the spotlight for Big Blue Nation. The Season Never Ends calendar says Woo's career highlight came against #4 Louisville during his junior season. He was inserted into the starting lineup and helped get the Cats to a 39-24 advantage by halftime. While only having four points, I'm sure he fouled the begeezus out of the Cards literally scaring them away from the basket. Woo's career high came against Vanderbilt and High Point, when he scored nine points in limited action. Woo was also a member of Lexington's ABA team, the Bluegrass Stallions. I always expected him to be the first player in history to break a backboard with a hook shot.

Big Blue Booyah on Tom Leach

Thursday, August 30, 2012

August 30th: On this date...

... in 2008, your University of Kentucky Wildcats gave its little brother the beatdown it deserved as they went into Little Caesar's Stadium and came out with a 27-2 victory. Steve Brown's defense controlled the game throughout, causing five turnovers, and shutting the Card offense down at will. Louisville's trendy preseason quarterback Hunter Cantwell turned the ball over four times in the fourth quarter alone to send the third largest crowd in Totino's Stadium history to the exits. It couldn't have been a more perfect way to start a career, as Mike Hartline watched his defense do most of the scoring in his first ever start. He won the job by default, as head coach Rich Brooks dismissed Curtis Pulley for a violation of team rules a few weeks earlier. Hartline also was responsible for Louisville's only score, as he was called for intentional grounding in the end zone.

Big Blue Booyah on Tom Leach

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

August 29th: On this date....

... in 2006, your University of Kentucky Wildcats head football coach Rich Brooks finally announced who would start at quarterback in the season opener vs. Louisville. It had been a very heated and competitive battle throughout the spring and summer, but junior Andre Woodson showed the greater improvement coming down the stretch. Coach Brooks said Andre seemed to have more desire to lead the Cats than his counterpart Curtis Pulley. In addition, Woodson was much better in getting the ball down the field, more of a pocket passer which they were looking. The Cats were confident in their running game, and were looking for ways to stretch the defense.

Big Blue Booyah on Tom Leach

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

August 28th: On this date...

... in 1983, nature model/all-time Kentucky basketball great Kenny "Sky" Walker helped lead the Uncle Sam's to the FIFA Junior World Championship. They won the gold medal game over the Russia Gorbachevs, 82-78. Walker's team-high 24 points sent a message to the communist world that Americans would not only destroy them in basketball, but produce a photo essay like the one here that is still unrivaled to this day. It was the second World Junior Basketball Championship for the Americans.

Big Blue Booyah on Tom Leach

Monday, August 27, 2012

August 27th: On this date...

... in 2009, your rabid University of Kentucky fanbase woke up to the news that their recently departed men's head basketball coach, Billy Clyde Gillispie, was arrested on suspicion of DUI in Anderson County. Rumors had circulated from the time Billy Clyde stepped foot in the Commonwealth that he wasn't scared to enjoy central Kentucky boozing it up, but doing it in Lawrenceburg of all places threw everyone off. It turns out, he and a friend had been playing some "night golf" and enjoyed a few pops. A gas station attendant called in the vehicle as driving erratically and the rest is history. Gillispie then went to a rehabilitation center and got the help he needed. Best of luck to BCG.

Big Blue Booyah on Tom Leach

Sunday, August 26, 2012

August 26th: On this date...

... in 1983, the University of Kentucky version of Michael Jordan...Jim Master...scored 16 points in a Pan-Am Games showdown with the Brazil Amazons. The victory (87-79) wrapped up the gold medal for the Americans, and pushed their Pan-Am Games winning streak to 28 games. North Carolina's Michael Jordan added 16 points to help lead Team USA in a supporting role. The team was coached by Kansas State's Jack Hartman and was the third consecutive Pan-Am Games gold medal for the basketball squad. Unbeaten with an 8-0 record, the Americans struck gold for the eight time in nine tries. Other notable members of the team included Mark Price, Sam Perkins, and Wayman Tisdale. But none went on to have as successful a career as Kentucky's Jim Master. Go Cats.

Big Blue Booyah on Tom Leach

Saturday, August 25, 2012

August 25th: On this date...

... in 2008, the mighty SEC and the even more powerful ESPN announced they would be teaming together in a television contract of epic proportions. The details of the deal being a 15-year contract for more than $2 Billion to televise SEC sporting events. Most importantly SEC Football and SEC Basketball (Men's and Women's). All of this started in fall of 2009, so...we did it! Commissioner Mike Slive said, "This agreement makes the SEC the most widely distributed conference in the country...The bottom line here is that fans of SEC football will have more access to games and better distribution than they ever have in the past." I'm almost certain his last statement was a direct shot at JP/Lincoln Financial/Raycom/the bowl of poop soup we'd been having to watch in year's past. So, in essence, Mike Slive is saying keep chanting "S-E-C, S-E-C, S-E-C" whenever you are in a large crowd in a foreign city and you may be rewarded with a Billion dollar contract.

Big Blue Booyah on Tom Leach

Friday, August 24, 2012

August 24th: On this date...

... in 2008, Tayshaun Prince single-handedly took home the gold for the Americans in the Beijing Olympics. His six crucial points, two critical rebounds, and 100% shooting on the night paced Uncle Sam's team. Semi-stars Dwayne Wade (27 points), Kobe Bryant (20 points) and Lebron James (14 points) played key supporting roles in regaining the title of World Dominators. The Americans took control early and held on as the Spaniards made a late run but couldn't get over the hump. Final score 118-107. The two teams had played earlier in the Olympics and Team USA destroyed Spain by 37 points. Prince became the most recent in a long line of University of Kentucky gold medal winners, joining Adolph Rupp and Tubby Smith. Who would've thought the skinny little kid from Compton would end up being one of the greatest Kentucky players in his generation, much less a gold medal winner. Tayshaun making us proud. Speaking of pride, something tells me Tayshaun had his puppies set off the bus.

Big Blue Booyah on Tom Leach

Thursday, August 23, 2012

August 23rd: On this date...

... in 2001, the University of Kentucky announced plans to retire all-time great Dermontti Dawson's #57 jersey. The event would take place during Kentucky's first game vs. Louisville, September 1, 2001. Dawson was a product of Lexington's own Bryan Station High School, where he was an all-state lineman. A four-year letterman at UK, Dawson played both guard and center while in blue and was a part of the 1984 Hall of Fame Championship team. The Pittsburgh Steelers drafted the All-SEC lineman in the second round of the 1988 NFL Draft. Dawson's NFL career lasted 13 seasons, all with the Steelers, included seven Pro Bowls, and contained a 170 consecutive game playing streak. Not currently a Hall of Famer Currently a NFL Hall of Famer, Dawson points to one man being the key to his success on the field and in life...former Kentucky head coach Jerry Claiborne. The discipline and character he received under Claiborne's tutelage led him to be a pillar in every community to this day. Someone finally get this Kentucky great in the Hall of Fame!

Big Blue Booyah on Tom Leach

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

August 22nd: On this date...

... in 1992, a 6-4 guard from Peachtree City, Georgia, committed to play for the University of Kentucky. Head coach Rick Pitino compared Jeff Sheppard to two all-time greats. He said Sheppard "shoots like Kyle Macy and jumps like Rex Chapman." Pitino couldn't have been more spot on with his description. Shep was a part of the ridiculous 1996 team, redshirted during the 1997 season that got to the NCAA Finals, and was named the NCAA Tournament's Most Outstanding Player during the 1998 title run.

Big Blue Booyah on Tom Leach

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

August 21st: On this date...

... in 2001, former University of Kentucky wide receiver Jeff Piecoro was named the new analyst for the UK football radio network, replacing Jeff Van Note. Piecoro began his broadcasting career with Lexington's WTVQ fresh out of college in 1985. From 1992-95, he was the weekend sports anchor for WLEX. Jeff is currently the play-by-play voice for the University of Cincinnati men's basketball team. As is that wasn't enough he handles the pre and post game shows for the Cincinnati Bengals and Cincinnati Reds. To top it off, he has a morning sports talk radio show on the Homer and does play-by-play for the AFL's Columbus Destroyers. Jeff currently lives in Villa Hills, KY, with his wife and three children. The duo of Tom Leach and Jeff Piecoro are two of the best in the business and paint a great image for Big Blue Nation on the radio.

Big Blue Booyah on Tom Leach

Monday, August 20, 2012

August 20th: On this date...

... in 1941, Kentucky head coach Rich Brooks was born in Forest, California. The path to 2009 wasn't the easiest a coach has ever been though as Tom Leach notes in the book above. Rich's time in Lexington was anything but rosy. But we have to remember Rich Brooks came to us when no one else the midst of an NCAA death penalty. I'll be the first to admit I was ready to part ways multiple times during PaPaw's first few years. And I'll be the first to admit I was wrong. At the end of the day it's still all about wins and losses, and Brooks still totes a 39-47 record in Lexington. But any Big Blue Nation member who was  around the program in the last three years can vouch for this program being in arguably the best shape of their lifetime. Rich Brooks simply changed the culture in Lexington. And while many people may not like to hear it, Mitch Barnhart deserves as much credit for sticking with Brooks as he does blame for the other mess. Rich Brooks succeeded and did what few others could do at Kentucky: make Big Blue Nation Believe.

Big Blue Booyah on Tom Leach

Sunday, August 19, 2012

August 19th: On this date...

... in 1994, even though Louisville native Derek Anderson had decided to transfer from Ohio State, it was anything but a given he would be going to Kentucky. The Wildcats didn't have any scholarships to offer Anderson anyway. Even the assistant-SID was quoted as saying, "There's not going to be an association between Kentucky and him." Anderson said he would not walk-on and since there were no scholarships available, he would need to move on. Enter Scott Padgett's bad grades. Suddenly, the Big Blue frowns turned upside down. The decision is reversed and D.A. comes to Lexington. Padgett's loss was Derek's gain. Anderson would be able to be an active member on the greatest team ever. The '96ers.

Big Blue Booyah on Tom Leach

Saturday, August 18, 2012

August 18th: On this date...

... in 1995, Kentucky coach Rick Pitino was ejected from an exhibition game in Italy while touring with the greatest team ever. It was a game the Cats would eventually lose, 123-115, to Montecatini. The loss was the first on the Exhibition Tour of Italy. The Italian referees whistled your University of Kentucky Wildcats for 42 fouls, Montecatini for 33. After falling behind 100-77, the Cats made a huge comeback, only to fall short at the end. Making only 38 of 100 shots didn't help anything either. I'm guessing the extra practice didn't hurt when molding the greatest college basketball team ever assembled. Years later, that same coach would continue his "strange-acting ways" in some of Louisville's finest eateries. But no, I cannot confirm whether Rick Pitino had sexual intercourse inside of an authentic Italian restaurant on this particular trip.

Big Blue Booyah on Tom Leach

Friday, August 17, 2012

August 17th: On this date...

... in 2006, the University of Kentucky Athletics Department received its largest donation in history as Joe Craft donated a cool $6 million toward a new basketball practice facility. In return, he would receive naming rights to the state-of-the-art building. Craft, a native of Hazard, KY, graduated from the University with a degree in accounting in 1972 and a law degree in 1976. He is President and CEO of Alliance Resource Partners, L.P., a diversified coal producer and marketer. The facility houses both men's and women's basketball teams along with administrative and UK Athletics staff offices. It officially opened in January 2007. To this day, it is the standard to which all other basketball facilities are measured. Chalk another one up for World Domination.

Big Blue Booyah on Tom Leach