Kentucky Wildcats

Kentucky Wildcats

Infobox college athletics
name = Kentucky Wildcats

university = University of Kentucky
conference = Southeastern Conference
Conference USA (Men's Soccer) | division = Division I
director = Mitch Barnhart
city = Lexington
state = Kentucky
stateabb = KY
teams = 109
stadium = Commonwealth Stadium
arena = Rupp Arena
mascot = Blue, The Wildcat, and Scratch
nickname = Wildcats
fightsong = "On, On, U of K", "Kentucky Fight"| color1 = Blue
color2 = White
hex1 = 00407a
hex2 = ffffff
pageurl =
pagename =

The Kentucky Wildcats are the men's and women's athletic teams representing the University of Kentucky (UK), a founding member of the Southeastern Conference. At one time, women's teams and athletes were called "Lady Kats", but the women's programs adopted the "Wildcats" nickname in the early 1990s. Teams sponsored by the UK athletic program include football, men's & women's basketball with 43 SEC titles, women's volleyball, baseball, softball, men's & women's cross country, men's & women's swimming/diving, women's gymnastics (known as the GymKats), men's & women's soccer, men's & women's track & field (indoor & outdoor), men's & women's golf, men's & women's tennis, and the coeducational sport of rifle. The men's soccer team competes in Conference USA because the SEC does not sponsor that sport for men. The men's hockey team competes at club level and plays in the American Collegiate Hockey Association's Division 2. The rifle team competes in the Great American Rifle Conference.

The nickname "Wildcats" became synonymous with UK shortly after a 6-2 football road victory over Illinois on Oct. 9, 1909. Commandant Carbusier, then head of the military department at old State University, told a group of students in a chapel service following the game that the Kentucky football team had "fought like Wildcats." Later the name Wildcats became more and more popular among UK followers as well as with members of the media. As a result, the nickname was adopted by the University. [cite web
title = University of Kentucky Traditions and Songs
publisher = University of Kentucky
date = 2005-02-17
url =
accessdate = 2007-05-04

The university adopted blue and white as its official colors in 1892. Originally, however, UK students had decided on blue and light yellow prior to the Kentucky-Centre College football game on December 19, 1891. The shade of blue, which is close to a royal blue, was chosen when a student asked the question, "What color blue?" At the time, Richard C. Stoll (who lettered in football at UK in 1889-94) pulled off his necktie and held it up. The students then adopted that particular shade of blue. A year later, UK students officially dropped the light yellow color for white. Yellow is occassionally used as a secondary "third color" in some UK merchandise, however.


Beginning in the 1890s, students at the university scheduled football games with neighboring colleges most include yellow creek middle school because they could not win any games.cite web | title=History Briefs | publisher=University of Kentucky | date=2007-05-23 | url= ] In 1902, the basketball program began on campus, originally as a women's sport; a men's team was added one year later. And today the UK's men have 43 SEC titles.

Several decades later, in 1930, then-high school coach Adolph Rupp was hired as a basketball coach for the university, a career that would span over 40 years until 1972. cite web | title=A Chronology of UK | publisher=University of Kentucky Special Collections & Digital Programs Division | date=2 January, 2008 | accessdate=2008-01-02 | url= ] During his tenure, he lead the Kentucky Wildcats to four NCAA crowns in 1948, 1949, 1951 and 1958.. The Wildcats later won a fifth championship under Joe B. Hall in 1978, another in 1996 under Rick Pitino and its last under Orlando "Tubby" Smith in 1998.

On 22 March, 2007, the school began looking for a new head basketball coach when Tubby Smith left for the University of Minnesota. On April 6, 2007, the school announced former Texas A&M and UTEP coach Billy Gillispie would be the new head basketball coach. [ [ - New Head Coach Announcement - Men's Basketball Photo Gallery ] ]

In 2007, the university unveiled the Joe Craft Center, a $30 million state-of-the-art basketball practice facility for both the men's and women's teams.


The University of Kentucky men's basketball team is considered to be among the most elite NCAA basketball programs, having earned a total of seven NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championships. Its seven titles were won by four different coaches - Adolph Rupp in 1948, 1949, 1951 and 1958; Joe B. Hall in 1978; Rick Pitino in 1996; and Tubby Smith in 1998. Kentucky is second only to UCLA, which has 11 National Championships. UK is also the winningest men's college basketball program in the nation. Through the completion of the 2008 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament on April 7, 2008, Kentucky now has a total of 1966 all-time wins (North Carolina is second with 1950 wins, and Kansas is third with 1943 wins). Kentucky also leads all NCAA schools in all-time winning percentage. (UK's all-time record: 1966-621; UK's all-time winning percentage: .760)


The very first University of Kentucky women's basketball team was organized in 1902, competing for the first time on Feb. 21, 1903. However, in 1924, the University Senate passed a bill to abolish women’s basketball in part because, according to state politicians, "basketball had proven to be a strenuous sport for boys and therefore was too strenuous for girls." After a 50-year absence, women’s basketball finally reached varsity status in 1974. The team was given the nickname “Lady Kats” and was coached by Sue Feamster. [cite web
title = Women's Basketball Timeline
publisher = University of Kentucky
date = 2005
url =
accessdate = 2007-05-05

Led by UK all-time leading scorer Valerie Still, Patty Jo Hedges, and Lea Wise, the Lady Kats won the SEC Tournament in 1982. The following year, the same trio led the team to a #4 ranking in the country, the highest in the team's history.

The team is currently coached by Matthew Mitchell.


*"Main article: Kentucky Wildcats football"Paul "Bear" Bryant EraAs a member of the football-heavy SEC, they compete against many of the top college football programs in the nation. They play at Commonwealth Stadium, which replaced Stoll Field in 1973. Paul "Bear" Bryant was Kentucky's head football coach for eight seasons.

Under Bryant the Wildcats won the 1947 Great Lakes Bowl, lost the 1950 Orange Bowl, won the 1951 Sugar Bowl and the 1952 Cotton Bowl. In final AP polls, the Wildcats were ranked #11 in 1949, #7 in 1950, #15 in 1951, #20 in 1952 and #16 in 1953. The final 1950 poll was taken prior to the bowl games; Kentucky then defeated undefeated and #1 ranked Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl and claims that this win earned them a national championship for the 1950 season, since they were ranked #1 in the Sagarin Ratings. The NCAA recognizes Kentucky as a co-national champion on its Past Football Bowl Subdivision National Champions Web site.

Fran Curci EraThe 1976 Wildcats retroactively claimed a share of the Southeastern Conference championship under coach Fran Curci via a loss later forfeited by Mississippi State (and despite losing at home to conference champion Georgia) and won the Peach Bowl, finishing #18 in the final AP poll. The 1977 Kentucky team went 10-1 and was undefeated in SEC play but, despite finishing the season ranked #6 in the AP poll, did not play in a bowl game due to NCAA sanctions. Kentucky finished at #6 and Penn State at #5 despite the fact that Kentucky defeated Penn State at Penn State during the regular season.

Jerry Claiborne EraCoach Jerry Claiborne led the Wildcats to the 1983 Hall of Fame Bowl. In 1984 Kentucky returned to the Hall of Fame Bowl and defeated a ranked Wisconsin team to finish the season with a 9-3 record and a #19 ranking in the final AP poll.

Bill Curry EraThe Wildcats played in the 1993 Peach Bowl under coach Bill Curry.

Hal Mumme EraCoach Hal Mumme led the Wildcats to the 1998 Outback Bowl and the 1999 Music City Bowl but the program was hit with severe sanctions for infractions during Mumme's tenure.

Guy Morriss EraUnder coach Guy Morriss the Wildcats posted a 7-5 record in 2002 but were not eligible for postseason play due to NCAA sanctions.

Rich Brooks EraThe team's current coach is Rich Brooks, who led the team to an 8-5 regular season record in 2006, including a memorable upset over the defending SEC champion Georgia, snapping a nine-game losing streak to the Bulldogs. Brooks also led the football team to its first bowl game since 1999 and its first bowl game victory since 1984, as Kentucky defeated the Clemson University Tigers 28-20 in the Music City Bowl. [] On September, 15 2007. Brooks led UK to a 40-34 upset win over #9 Louisville. This marked UK's first win over Louisville since 2002 and the first win over a top 10 team since #4 Penn State in 1977. The Wildcats were ranked 8th in the nation before a loss to South Carolina on October 4. After the loss to South Carolina, Kentucky bounced back on October 13 to defeat #1 LSU in a historic triple overtime game.

The 2007 Kentucky Wildcats football defeated the Florida State Seminoles 35-28 in the 2007 Music City Bowl in Nashville, Tennessee, on December 31, 2007. It was the Wildcats second straight bowl appearance after a drought dating back to 1999. Quarterback Andre' Woodson was named the Music City Bowl MVP for the second year in a row. The last three bowl appearances for the Cats have been in the Music City Bowl, which they have appeared in more than any other SEC team in the conference's affiliation with the game, which dates back to the inaugural game in 1998.

One obscure statistic illustrates the competitive challenge Kentucky has historically faced in football. The recruiting site "" recently pointed out that in the five seasons from 2003 through 2007, the Wildcats have only signed a total of six prospects who were rated by the site as four stars (out of five) or higher, (with the exception of Micah Johnson) none of them rated as five-star prospects. By contrast, Florida, who is grouped with Kentucky in the SEC East, signed 20 players rated four stars or higher by the same site in the 2007 class alone.cite web|url= |title=Olin's Mailbag: Everyone just looking for love |publisher="" |first=Olin |last=Buchanan |date=2007-10-05 |accessdate=2007-10-05]

University of Kentucky 100th Anniversary Teams

Chosen in 1990 by Kentucky Newspapers"Lexington Herald-Leader"
OE - Tom Hutchinson
OE - Steve Mellinger
OL - Sam Ball
OL - Warren Bryant
OL - Irv Goode
OL - Ray Correl
OL - Doug Mosely
QB - Babe Parilli
RB - Sonny Collins
RB - Rodger Bird
RB - Shipwreck Kelly
PK - Joe Worley
DE - Art Still
DT - Bob Gain
MG - Dave Roller
DT - Lou Michaels
DE - Jeff Van Note
LB - Joe Federspiel
LB - Jay Rhodemyer
DB - Paul Calhoun
DB - Jerry Claiborne
DB - Darryl Bishop
DB - Mike Siganos
KR - Dicky Lyons, Sr.
"Louisville Courier-Journal"
OE - Tom Hutchinson
OE - Steve Mellinger
OT - Sam Ball
OT - Warren Bryant
OG - Gene Donaldson
OG - Dermontti Dawson
OC - Jay Rhodemyer
QB - Babe Parilli
RB - Sonny Collins
RB - Bob Davis
RB - Mark Higgs
PK - Joe Worley
DL - Art Still
DL - Bob Gain
DL - Dave Correl
DL - Lou Michaels
DL - Jeff Van Note
LB - Joe Federspiel
LB - Jim Kovach
LB - Frank LeMaster
DB - Paul Calhoun
RB - Rodger Bird
DB - Mike Siganos
P - Ralph Kercheval


The baseball program, partly hampered by being the northernmost school in the heavily warm-weather SEC, has historically achieved only modest success at best. Wildcats baseball hit bottom at the turn of the 21st century, with only one winning season from 1997 through 2004, and last-place finishes in the SEC East division in every season from 2001 through 2005. In 2003, after the retirement of longtime coach Keith Madison, Kentucky hired Florida assistant John Cohen as head coach. Cohen was able to lead the Cats to a winning overall season in 2005, despite another SEC cellar finish.

Few could have expected the Cinderella season the Cats would have in 2006. They literally went from worst to first in the SEC, winning a regular-season conference title for the first time in three decades, and being ranked as high as fourth in the country by one major baseball poll during the season. However, the newly energized Kentucky baseball faithful saw the Cats crash out of the SEC tournament early and fail to make it out of the regionals of the NCAA tournament at home.

There were high hopes for the 2007 team and for the most part they delivered. After going undefeated at 19-0 they eventually fell against Arkansas They then fell into a tailspin but rebounded at the end of the year to just miss the SEC playoffs after a Tennessee Volunteers win. They finished with a 37-19 record.

The Kentucky club baseball team achieved success in 2008 by winning the National Club Baseball Association Division 2 World Series with a walk off single against Illinois.


The University of Kentucky cheerleaders have won the UCA Division I-A Cheerleading Championship 16 times, more than any other school. They are the only school to win more than two consecutive championships, having won each year from 1995 through 2002 and from 2004 through 2006, and are the only school to win consecutive championships on multiple occasions, having done so three times (1987-1988, 1995-2002, and 2004-2006). They have won championships in 1985, 1987, 1988, 1992, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2004, 2005, 2006, and 2008 have also placed second four times, and have finished in the top ten every year since the existence of the UCA National College Championships [] . The squad has been featured on the "CBS Evening News", Connie Chung's "Eye to Eye", and the "CBS Morning Show", NBC's "The Today Show", in "Southern Living" and "Gentlemen's Quarterly", "ESPN the Magazine", and "Seventeen" magazines.

A reality show on called "Cheerleader U." followed the team during the 2006-2007 season.


The men's and women's golf teams call the University Club of Kentucky their home course.

Notable alumni of the golf team include 1967 Masters winner Gay Brewer and current PGA Tour golfers J. B. Holmes and Steve Flesch.


The University of Kentucky Hockey Team (founded 1984) competes in the American Collegiate Hockey Association. The "coolcats" play their home games at the Lexington Ice Center. Traditionally the team ranks as the 3rd most popular spectator sport behind Football and Basketball. The hockey program is funded by private funds outside of the athletic department. In 1998 the cats released their first poster featuring actress and UK alum Ashley Judd. Since the debut of the first poster, the cats have issued an annual poster featuring a celebrity with ties to the bluegrass. The program has achieved great success including 3 national tournament appearances, 1992 national runner-up, and 18 winning seasons.

Recently, the Cool Cats simply became the Wildcats. The Wildcats have made a couple good runs the past couple of seasons. This included a regional bid in the 06-07and lost in the final game of the tournament. in the 2007-08 season the cats finished in the national tournament failing to make it out of pool play. All home games are played at the Lexington Ice Center at midnight and the arena is generally full. Still a major sport on UK's campus.


The University of Kentucky has [ three official mascots] :
*"Blue" — A live bobcat (note that in American English, "wildcat" generally refers to this particular mammal). He lives at the state-operated Salato Wildlife Education Center near the state capital of Frankfort. Unlike the school's two costumed mascots, he never attends games, because bobcats are very shy by nature and do not react well with large crowds.
*"The Wildcat" — A costumed student, he made his debut in the 1976-77 school year.
*"Scratch" — A later addition, he is a more child-friendly version of The Wildcat.

All-time records by sport

"All records are through 2005-06."

ee also

General interest

*Big Blue Nation
*Kentucky Fight
*C. M. Newton
*On, On, U of K


*Rich Brooks
*Paul "Bear" Bryant
*Keenan Burton
*Jerry Claiborne
*Commonwealth Stadium
*Tim Couch
*Mark Higgs
*Derrick Ramsey
*Art Still
*Jeff Van Note
*Moe Williams
*Jared Lorenzen
*André Woodson
*Wesley Woodyard
*Craig Yeast


*Joe Craft Center
*Memorial Coliseum
*Rupp Arena


*Billy Gillispie
*Joe B. Hall
*Rick Pitino
*Frank Ramsey
*Adolph Rupp
*Tubby Smith
*Eddie Sutton


*Matthew Mitchell
*Valerie Still


*Cliff Hagan Stadium
*Brandon Webb
*John Cohen



*Russ Cochran
*Steve Flesch
*JB Holmes


*Myra Blackwelder

External links

* [ Official UK site]
* [ Kentucky Sports Report]
* [ Official UK athletics site]
* [ Dedicated Wildcat Wiki]
* [ True Blue Kentucky - Kentucky Basketball and Football Recruiting Information]
* [ - UK Athletics for fans site]
* [ Jon Scott's Kentucky Basketball Statistics site]
* [ UK Hockey official site]
* [ UK Hockey media site]



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