Just in time for basketball and the end of football season, Cat Scratches will be undergoing maintenance on Tuesday beginning at 1 p.m. ET.
The blog's administrative will be getting an upgrade, meaning we will not be able to publish any new posts on Tuesday afternoon until the upgrade process is complete. During this time, readers will be able to view any content posted before 1 p.m., so your experience won't change during this time. Once we are back online, expect to see stories about men's and women's soccer, football and basketball.
In the meantime, make sure you are following @UKAthleticsNews on Twitter for any breaking news since you won't be able to find it here.
Since Cat Scratches launched in the early months of 2009, the official blog of UK Athletics has sought to give readers an insider's look into the athletic department. With added staff and a rethought approach to covering UK's 22 varsity teams, we believe Cat Scratches has never been better positioned to do so.
I, Guy Ramsey, have been primarily responsible for producing and overseeing content on the blog since Eric Lindsey left to take over CoachCal.com last August. Over that time, there have been some other familiar names pitching in with posts and feature stories during a memorable season in UK Athletics.
Cat Scratches will be more structured in 2012-13, with two new full-time writers joining our staff in addition to undertaking other responsibilities in the media relations department. I am pleased to officially welcome Ryan Suckow and Cory Weigel to the UK Athletics family and I can't wait to see what they bring to the blog.
Ryan has been with Cat Scratches on a part-time basis since this spring, but his duties will be expanding greatly with this latest move. He brings a strong writing background and knowledge of UK Athletics to our team. Cory joins us from the University of Louisiana, where he worked with the women's basketball, softball and women's soccer teams. He is eager for the chance to work at UK and in the nation's best conference, and I know he'll do great work.
Our added manpower is going to allow us to do some exciting new things and those things will all start with our new structure. I will continue to serve as the editor of Cat Scratches, but each of our teams - especially those that compete in Olympic sports - will be getting a significant boost in coverage.
All of our 22 teams will now have dedicated lead writers who work closely with players, coaches and staff to tell the best stories about each, both on and off the field. While each sport is in-season, we will be using feature stories, live blogs, videos and shorter-form blog posts to help provide fans an up-close perspective on the Wildcats, no matter the sport.
Here is the breakdown for which of us will serve as the lead writer for each sport. Of course, we will still be sharing the work for each sport among the three of us, particularly for sports like football and men's basketball, but the listings below will serve as guidelines for which of us will be covering each sport.
Guy Ramsey: Baseball, football, men's basketball, men's tennis, women's basketball, women's soccer Ryan Suckow: Gymnastics, men's golf, rifle, swimming and diving, volleyball, women's golf, women's tennis Cory Weigel: Cross country, men's soccer, softball, track and field
Also, Cat Scratches finally has its very own URL. Bookmark CatScratchesBlog.com for the latest on UK Athletics.
We are excited about the growth of this blog and new media as a whole here at UK, and we have you to thank for all of it. It's the passion of the Big Blue Nation and the support you show for your teams that make it possible for us to do what we do. As always, we appreciate your continual feedback. Please email questions or comments to CatScratches@uky.edu or tweet @UKAthleticsNews.
We can't wait to see what the 2012-13 season holds and we look forward to having you, the fans, with us every step of the way.
With the NBA Draft now in the rear-view mirror, we head into a Fourth of July week that looks to be pretty quiet. Starting on Wednesday, I am going to be going on a short vacation, so content here on Cat Scratches will be a bit slow.
Ryan Suckow will have coverage of the Dominican Republic National Team's bid to reach the London Olympics - a run that begins at 11:30 a.m. ET Tuesday - as well as a feature on new UK men's soccer head coach Johan Cedergren later in the week, but beyond that, we won't have as much on the blog as you're used to.
Before I do head out for the week, I'll be providing video and written coverage of a joint press conference with Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart and baseball head coach Gary Henderson on Tuesday afternoon. Stay tuned for that.
With baseball's NCAA Tournament run coming to an end, so has another season in UK Athletics.
It started with women's soccer and ended with
baseball. In between were freshman debuts, senior farewell, exhibitions
and even a national championship game. There were record-breaking performances, program firsts, returns to prominence and, of course, No. 8.
In a clear indication of how much different the summer months are going to be, I had time this morning to go back and count how many UK games I personally attended.
The verdict? 115.
The season began back in late August, so that means I was at nearly 13 games per month, or one every 2.35 days. But for the next 75 days or so, there will be none. For now, I'm grateful for the chance to relax, but I imagine it won't be long before withdrawal sets in.
Of course, there will be plenty to do in between. We have plans for a summer series we are still hashing out and knowing John Calipari, you can rest assured he'll have something up his sleeve to keep us all busy before fall camp rolls around for football.
All that's to say that things will be a little slower around here during June and July. We will still be posting regular content, but the features, live blogs, videos and photos you've gotten used to will be a bit more sparse.
Anyway, thank you for helping to make this season, my first working full time at UK, so memorable.
The season may not have ended the way Gary Henderson and his team wanted it to, but the good news for the Kentucky baseball team is that there are still games to be played.
UK (41-15, 18-12 Southeastern Conference) will play as the No. 4 seed in the SEC Tournament beginning on Tuesday at 10:30 a.m. ET in Hoover, Ala. The Wildcats will take on No. 9 Ole Miss (34-22, 14-16 SEC), a team the Cats defeated twice in a three-game series from April 6-8. Freshman A.J. Reed (4-2, 3.00 ERA) has been announced as the starter for UK's opener, which will be televised on SportsSouth.
The tournament is double-elimination, so UK will have another game to play this week regardless of the outcome against Ole Miss. If the Cats win, they will get a day off Wednesday before playing at a time to be determined against No. 1 LSU, No. 6 Arkansas or No. 7 Mississippi State on Thursday. Should they lose, UK will face the loser of Arkansas and Mississippi State at 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday.
Cat Scratches will have complete coverage of UK's run in the SEC Tournament, beginning with a story from Ryan Suckow later this afternoon after SEC Coach of the Year Gary Henderson speaks on the SEC Coaches' Teleconference today. Following that, we will have live blogs of each of UK's games, as well as columns afterwards.
Beyond Ryan's piece today, content will be a little bare on the blog as I travel down to Alabama, so bear with us.
As a heads up, expect to see just a little less of the everyday content you're used to seeing on the blog over the next couple weeks. I am currently working on a side project that will take up a chunk of my time, but things will still be pretty close to normal around here thanks to the help of Ryan Suckow.
Anyway, here are a couple noteworthy items for a warm Monday:
-In the wake of Winston Guy and Danny Trevathan being selected in the sixth round of the NFL Draft, a handful of other former Wildcats have also agreed to terms with NFL teams. Here they are:
Anthony Mosley - San Francisco 49ers
Matt Roark - New England Patriots
Ronnie Sneed - Detroit Lions
Ryan Tydlacka - Philadelphia Eagles
-The Kentucky baseball team is coming off its roughest week of the season having lost three of four games to Louisville and Vanderbilt, but the Wildcats remain highly ranked in spite of dropping their first weekend series of the year. UK is No. 3 according to Baseball America and No. 6 in the USA Today/ESPN Top 25 Coaches' Poll. The Cats will face No. 7/5 Florida beginning on Thursday with the first game being televised on ESPNU at 7:30 p.m. ET.
-Finally, Chanda Bell - who was player of the week in our weekly awards - was named SEC Pitcher of the Week on Monday. She was dominant in a pair of crucial upset victories over the weekend at No. 2 Florida. She turned in a pair of complete games, allowing just one run in the process and striking out 21 Gators.
The first day still resonates with me like it was yesterday. Of all days to start a first-of-its-kind blog, we somehow picked Jan. 14, 2009.
What happened Jan. 14, 2009? What didn't?
Maybe it was coincidence. Maybe it was fate. Whatever the case was, the day we picked to start one of the nation's first athletic department blogs just so happened to fall on the day after the biggest individual performance in Kentucky basketball history.
Think about that for a second. College basketball's premier program has been full of historic moments and legendary individual performances, but of all days to begin our blog, we had somehow picked the day after Jodie Meeks scored a record-setting 54 points against border-state rival Tennessee.
And that was just the morning. By early afternoon, for my first inside scoop, I was informed star cornerback Trevard Lindley was putting his NFL dreams on hold and was returning for his senior year with linebacker Micah Johnson and defensive end Jeremy Jarmon.
You want to talk about overwhelmed. Sit in an office chair, spin around for a minute and stand up. That nauseating feeling in your head - yeah, that's what I was experiencing that day.
Faced with trying to capture and cover a day UK fans would never forget was not an easy task for a rookie. I had been versed in journalism and trained in reporting long before I walked through the doors at the Joe Craft Center - thanks in large part to UK's journalism school, the Kentucky Kernel and the Lexington Herald-Leader - but charged with being one of the official voices of one of the nation's most proud athletic departments was no easy task. A longtime Kentucky resident and UK graduate, I already understood who was at the other end of the megaphone.
Don't get me wrong, I was unbelievably excited for the opportunity to write about UK Athletics, but I understood the enormous responsibility and privilege of writing for the most passionate fans in the country. I was unbelievably overwhelmed.
Obviously I made it through that first day. There were certainly some bumps along the road, a few typos here and there, and a lot of fun stories to cover. Eventually, I think this blog found its place in the UK world and things calmed down.
But as I close my UK laptop for the final time, consider me overwhelmed again. I'm overwhelmed with loose ends to tie up, overcome with the number of goodbyes I have to make and overjoyed with the new opportunity I've been blessed with. More than anything, I'm overwhelmed with emotion.
Today will mark my final day with UK Athletics. I'm proud to announce I've been hired as the new content manager of CoachCal.com. I will be responsible for creating and managing all content on John Calipari's website as well some of his social media avenues.
As excited as I am for my new opportunity, I'd be lying to everyone if I said this day isn't without great sadness. For the last two and a half years, I've had the honor of calling UK Athletics home. In player interviews with the media or tweets by the program's head coaches, you've probably heard people inside the walls of UK Athletics talk about how this place is about family, or "La familia," as John Calipari likes to tweet so often.
I've learned firsthand what that's all about. At UK, I've forged relationships that will last long after my career is over, taken the step from college to adulthood and made memories I will never forget. A reporter at heart, I was trained to have a skeptical eye at institutions like UK, but as I walk out of the media relations office as a UK employee for the final time - in reality, I'm only moving downstairs to the UK basketball offices - I have nothing but positive memories.
Never could I have imagined following the Kentucky basketball team on every step of its journey to the Final Four. Riding with Joker Phillips thousands of feet in the sky in a Blackhawk with the doors wide open as he visited our armed forces was obviously a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. And meeting LeBron James? Very, very cool.
I could go on and on and on about the experiences I've had over the past few years. I feel privileged to have covered all 22 sports at UK. The amount of time I've spent watching games, interviewing coaches and student-athletes, and sitting in front of a computer and typing is staggering.
All of it was done with one goal in mind: to provide an inside and unprecedented look into UK Athletics. When we set out to do this blog in early January of 2009, we did so with the intent of providing premium content without the premium cost.
As a worrier and constant self-evaluator, I've always wondered if we were accomplishing our goal. Just last week, I left a media panel with several of Lexington's finest reporters feeling like we have indeed achieved our objective.
One TV anchor looked at the position as a competitor in the media market. That was good. One thing we want to do is provide fans with another source for UK news. A couple of other reporters viewed the blog as a platform for stories that don't always get covered. Even better. As newspapers shrink and coverage is limited, it was my goal to continue to provide a spotlight on each and every sport, coach and student-athlete at UK.
As I walk away to a new adventure, I'm confident that goal will not change. Athletic Director Mitch Barnhart and senior associate athletics director of communications DeWayne Peevy took a gamble on me a couple of years ago when they turned my job from a voluntary position into an internship and eventually a full-time position as an assistant director for new media. It was a sign of commitment to new and social media, and Kentucky will stay behind that push long after I'm gone.
Now it's time for me to take the next step. Fortunately, that next chapter happens to be at CoachCal.com. For me, that means I'll still be blessed to be around the UK family and its fans. For those that enjoy my work, it means I'll be just a few keystrokes and a click away.
I'd be remiss if I ended this final post without thanking the people I've come to enjoy working with so much over the last few years, as well as the hundreds of student-athletes and coaches I've met and interviewed. It would be impossible for me to list everyone who has helped me along the way, but know that just about all of you made an impact on my life and I'm grateful I'll still see you around the building.
As for you, the fans, none of this is possible or worth it without you. It's your passion and support that drives UK Athletics, and I have appreciated the reads, support and feedback I've received over the years.
With that said, I ask one final thing of you: Pray my first day on Monday at CoachCal.com isn't quite as crazy as my first day with UK's blog. Knowing Coach Cal's 24/7 world, I have a feeling it's going to be. And when it is and my head starts to spin again, I'm going to look back to Jan. 14, 2009, and smile.
Just wanted to alert our readers that I'll be on vacation once again from Thursday through next Tuesday or Wednesday. Metz Camfield will have some men's basketball updates later Thursday, but after that things could be pretty slow on here again (not as if they weren't already with summer in full swing).
If a story breaks in the next few days, Metz or Guy Ramsey will do their best to fill in, but unless it's major, chances are we won't have it this week.
We'll get things rolling again late next week with some NBA Draft coverage, a men's basketball story from one of next week's camps and another part of the "Where are they now" series.
Just wanted to let everyone know that the blog could be a little slow this week since I'm on vacation through June 6.
If all goes according to plan, I won't be opening up my laptop very much during that time as I try to recharge my batteries from a busy but successful 2010-11 athletics year for the University of Kentucky.
Fortunately for you all, Guy Ramsey will be filling in periodically this week with some notes and a story or two, including the kickoff of a a six-part series we're going to do over the summer. Guy will have the details on that in a few days.
For the third straight year, Cat Scratches will be hosting a live Signing Day blog to bring fans the latest football Signing Day news.
With the help of the CoveritLive blog application, UKathletics.com will bring fans the latest and most accurate football Signing Day news on Wednesday. Cat Scratches will host a live blog from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Nutter Training Facility, the football headquarters for Kentucky.
As soon as UK receives the National Letter of Intent, Cat Scratches will be the first to report the official news.
In addition to the news of the signees, the live blog will also include interviews with some of the UK assistant coaches, live from the Nutter Training Facility. In between their busy day of recruiting, several of the coaches will sit down with Cat Scratches to discuss the latest signees, how the Cats' recruiting class is shaking up, and answer fans' questions and comments in a real-time format.
Fans can submit their questions and comments during the live chat from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Wednesday. Questions will be posted pending approval of the moderator.
UKathletics.com will also have coverage from the Signing Day news conference at 3 p.m. as well as video and bios of the signees. Cat Scratches will have additional posts on the blog throughout the day.