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Pick a #myUKmoment from 2011-12

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Prompted by Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart's Letter to the Big Blue Nation posted here on Tuesday afternoon, I started thinking about all the amazing things that have happened in UK Athletics this season.

I've been fortunate to be up close for arguably the best season in the history of this athletic department and there are so many memories that will last a long, long time. Men's basketball's national championship and the unbelievable season that proceeded it sticks out, but 2011-12 was a seemingly endless parade of incredible performances and unforgettable finishes, so much so that I couldn't possibly pick just one.

However, that's exactly what I'm asking you to do.

We want to know your favorite moment from this year in UK Athletics and we want to hear some details. Were you at the event in person? Were you watching on television? Who was with you? How did you react?

Tweet your responses with the hashtag #myUKmoment and we will retweet some of the best from @UKAthleticsNews over the next day or so. You can also post your response as a comment on this post.

The national title will of course be a popular choice, but we want some diversity too. Baseball, volleyball, football, women's soccer, men's basketball, women's basketball and all of our 22 sports, we want to hear them all.

Don't limit yourself to games either. If you met a UK student-athlete or coach or head coach this year or took part in a "C-A-T-S, CATS! CATS! CATS!" chant in a random foreign country, we'd love to hear it too. We want to know what made you most proud to be a Wildcat this year.

Oh yeah, and if it's too hard to narrow it down, feel free to tweet more than one.

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Without a doubt 2011-2012 has been a year that I, along with BBN will never forget. As a 1981 Alumni and former 1977-78 football walk-on, the year started out as always following the ups and downs of UK football. Then basketball started with the anticipation and excitement of a new team. And when 2012 arrived the Cats had just beat UofL in a great game after beating UNC and losing to IU; well I could barely keep my optimism in check. Yet by then everyone could tell that this was a special team.

Soon into the New Year I found out that I had access to Final Four tickets through a friend of a friend of a friend! Without hesitation or knowing the cost I said put me down for two because I had not been to the Final Four since the 1993 loss to Michigan, ironically in New Orleans. Could this be another sign of a special year??

When the teams were set for the Final Four I was amazed, excited, confident and worried all at the same time. Playing UofL again and Coach Patino (I have and will always be a respectful fan of his because of what he did for our program) had me concerned. But my biggest worry was the possibility of playing the Buckeyes for the National Championship. I grew up in Ohio and the Buckeyes were all I knew until I attended UK; my heart is Buckeye scarlet, but it bleeds UK Blue!!!

So on to NOLA with my 22 year old son Derek who has watched UK Basketball with me since he could sit up on the couch next to me. And there is more irony, he transferred to OSU as a Junior last fall. We attended the 2010 SEC Tournament in Nashville and I dreamed then about how exciting it would be to attend a Final Four with him and watching our beloved CATS!!

While in NOLA we had the pleasure of meeting Coach Joker Phillips!! He was kind enough to talk with us for a few minutes and have his picture taken with my son. And when I explained that I was a 1977-78 walk-on who played with linebacker Coach Chuck Smith he graciously agreed to tell him hello for me.

Another fantastic memory for me was after beating UofL the sportsmanship displayed by the UK and UofL cheerleaders! What a moment to watch them standing together, embracing each other as the UK Band played My Old Kentucky Home. It brought tears to my eyes!! CBS missed a great opportunity to show how the two universities are forever connected by one glorious song. I doubt that any other state or commonwealth can match it!

Now it is the national championship game against KU and we don't have to be concerned with the OSU conflict, even though we would have been prepared for it. We are there with a great friend and his fiance who are of course aggravating us by cheering for the Jayhawks (they both graduated from UC). Once again our CATS demonstrated how to win as a team comprised of extremely talented individuals; young men who step up their game when other teammates are having a challenging game. Disciplined, well coached young men who believed in each other to accomplish the ultimate goal. And thank you Coach Cal and staff for a job well done throughout the year!

So for me this was a 22 year dream come true as I stood there hugging my son with tears in my eyes watching our Wildcats celebrating their eighth national championship!! A moment in time that will be cherished and difficult to beat. A moment that demonstrates how God has blessed me with two wonderful children and the opportunity to share an experience of a lifetime with one of them. Yes this was a great year to be a WILDCAT!!

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  • Jeffrey J Bush: Without a doubt 2011-2012 has been a year that I, along with BBN will never forget. As a 1981 Alumni read more