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Web Wednesday - UK Athletics Hall of Fame edition

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Each Wednesday here at Cat Scratches, we're going to take a look back at the latest week's news in UK Athletics from around the web.

Best on the 'net

All sports: Kentucky names six to Athletics Hall of Fame (Lexington Herald-Leader)

The University of Kentucky announced six new inductees Tuesday to its Athletics Hall of Fame.

The 2012 class, to be inducted Sept. 14-15, is Derek Abney (football), Leroy Edwards (basketball), J.B. Holmes (golf), Jeff Keener (baseball), Clayton Moss (diving) and Nancy Scranton (golf).

All sports: UK athletes changing lives, including their own, on foreign service trips (Jennifer Smith, Lexington Herald-Leader)

What started as an idea to build leadership within the football team has turned into a chance to build leaders across campus.

"I know the trip will have a dramatic impact on them," Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart said in June. "It will help them lead their teams differently. There's no doubt in my mind of that."

It's helped him lead his athletics team differently.

All sports: Fans should give Kentucky's Mitch Barnhart a break (John Clay, Lexington Herald-Leader)

So now that the UK AD has taken some vacation days to disappear and climb Mount Kilimanjaro -- he and his expedition party reached its peak Sunday -- some are complaining Barnhart's time would have been better spent back in Kentucky being seen with his embattled football coach.

My friend Kevin Faris of Ace Magazine tweeted: "So the UK AD can get to the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro, but can't make it to the Governor's Cup or Lexington Football luncheon?"

So let's see, if given the opportunity, do I want to undertake a once-in-a-lifetime experience or sit through another couple of rubber chicken dinners with the grip-and-grin set?


Football: Kentucky football coaches ask fans to believe in young team (Jason Frakes, The Courier-Journal)

Phillips pleaded with fans Friday to remain open-minded about this year's squad.

"I don't care how you feel about Joker Phillips or the staff," he told the crowd. "Do it for these young men that have agreed to come here and represent you the right way. ... These players don't need everybody to believe in them, but they sure need somebody to."

Football: Quarterback competition making whole team stronger (Jennifer Smith, Lexington Herald-Leader)

Two people that know the quarterbacks and their tendencies better than anyone other than their coaches, veteran offensive linemen Matt Smith and Larry Warford, said recently that they don't think a quarterback competition will be bad for UK when fall camp starts this week.

"We're all teammates, all family," Warford said recently. "We sweat together, work together, bleed together.

"Other people make such a big deal, call it a controversy. It isn't really true. We support both of those players. We want both to succeed. Whoever wins the position, we're going to support."

Men's basketball: What Kentucky Can Teach Penn State (Harvey Araton, New York Times)

There was no sugarcoating the situation when Rick Pitino met with C. M. Newton to be presented with a unique but perilous coaching opportunity. But unlike Bill O'Brien, who signed on to replace Joe Paterno at Penn State, Pitino knew exactly what he was getting himself into.

Newton, Kentucky's new athletic director, visited Pitino in 1989 at his home in Bedford, N.Y., to lay out what the first two years would look like if Pitino quit the Knicks to help resurrect a defamed college basketball program that had narrowly avoided the N.C.A.A.'s so-called death penalty for major recruiting violations and academic fraud.

Men's basketball: The heat is on Calipari and Girardi (Dick Vitale,

There are very few constant-pressure-cooker jobs in the world of sports. Two of the most intense ones are in the Bronx, N.Y., and Lexington, Ky. The leader of the New York Yankees has to face the media and all the tabloids, on a regular basis, while getting scrutinized for every move he makes. It's a difficult challenge.

In college hoops, it takes a special person to run the Kentucky Wildcats' program in front of Big Blue Nation. Kentucky fans expect nothing less than a consistent winner and anything less is a nightmare.

When you look at the Yankees and the Wildcats, both have the perfect men in place leading the way. Joe Girardi and John Calipari both fit to perfection what those jobs are all about.

Men's tennis: UK tennis promotes Kauffmann to head coach (Lexington Herald-Leader)

The University of Kentucky promoted associate head coach Cedric Kauffmann to head coach of the men's tennis program on Wednesday.

Kauffmann replaces Dennis Emery, who retired last week after 30 years guiding the program.

Kauffmann has served as an assistant coach since 2005, including his promotion to associate head coach in 2009.

"This is an opportunity that I have dreamed about since I was a student-athlete here at Kentucky," Kauffmann said. "Anyone who spends even a short amount of time with me knows how I feel about the University of Kentucky, and I am committed to work tirelessly to keep our program as one of the best in college tennis."

Former Wildcats in the headlines

But it was clear watching Davis play with a bunch of NBA All-Stars and superstars: He belongs on this team. He didn't look out of place. He didn't look lost. He fit. And as Doug Collins mentioned during the game on the broadcast, talk about an offseason training regimen for Davis. His coach Monty Williams was in the arena watching the game and has to just be giddy about a) Davis's incredible skillset and b) the kind NBA crash course he's getting.

Ex-Cats angling for starter status in Denver (Arnie Stapleton, Associated Press)

Woodyard, a fifth-year pro, is coming off his best season yet, one in which he piled up career highs in tackles (97), starts (seven) and forced fumbles (two) while replacing middle linebacker Joe Mays on passing downs and making spot starts for an injured Williams.

"He's a veteran guy, he's done it before," Smith said. "So, on the depth chart he's penciled in there right now at No. 1. But these things are evaluated not only in practice but in games. So, we've got enough pre-season games to find out who's going to be the starter at that position."

Bulls sign Nazr Mohammed (

The Chicago Bulls announced the signing of veteran center and Chicago native Nazr Mohammed on Friday.

A 14-year veteran, Mohammed will take the place of center Omer Asik, who left for the Houston Rockets after the Bulls declined to match a three-year, $25.1 million offer sheet.

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