With four different teams adding to Kentucky's tally, UK Athletics is fast closing in on Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart's benchmark of 15 conference or national championships by the year 2015.
With the work of all UK's varsity teams, the Wildcats are also on the cusp of Barnhart's goals in the classroom.
For the second consecutive semester, UK student-athletes narrowly fell short of the 3.0 department-wide grade point average set forth by Barnhart. All UK student-athletes combined for 2.97 GPA and the GPA for scholarship athletes was a slightly higher 2.98 GPA. The average team GPA for the spring semester was 3.07.
"I am very proud of the effort our student-athletes logged in the classroom this semester," Barnhart said. "We fell just shy of our GPA goal and will work tirelessly to reach it, but I am happy with the academic culture we have fostered at UK. I appreciate everything our student-athletes, coaches and support staff have done to make that happen."
Among all teams, women's tennis had the highest GPA at 3.55, while men's cross country had the highest GPA among men's teams at 3.29. Of UK's 20 Division I teams, 12 had a GPA of over 3.0, including the championship-winning men's basketball, rifle and men's tennis teams. ***See below for complete grade information for each sport***
The work of the men's basketball team was particularly impressive. The Wildcats brought home the program's eighth national championship, spending essentially the entire month of March away from campus for tournament play, yet still excelling academically.
Five players off this year's championship team opted to turn professional early - all projected first-round picks and three in the lottery - but also demonstrated their commitment to both UK and eventually graduating by finishing the semester strong as full-time students. Anthony Davis, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Marquis Teague - three so-called "one and dones" - combined for a spring GPA well above 3.0. Additionally, the lone seniors on the team, Darius Miller and Eloy Vargas, each received their diplomas at May commencement.
"All these kids are good kids," John Calipari said. "We had a (3.12) GPA as a team for this term with five players who are leaving early, so all this stuff bitter old men say that they don't go to class, it's not true."
The men's basketball team is just the most high-profile example in a department full of student-athletes committed to excelling both on and off the field. With spring sports yet to be recognized, 90 Wildcats have already been named to the Southeastern Conference Fall and Winter Honor Rolls. UK student-athletes have also volunteered over 4,000 total hours to various charitable causes.
"I am excited about all the great things our student-athletes are doing," Barnhart said. "They do so much to enrich our athletic department, our University and the Lexington community. We are blessed to be a part of their development and take that responsibility seriously."
Forty-eight current or former Kentucky student-athletes completed their University of Kentucky degrees this spring and they received their diplomas at graduation on Sunday, May 6. The graduates came from 17 different teams, with football leading the way with 11 graduates.
The men's soccer team had five members earn their degrees, while women's soccer and women's swimming and diving each had four.
Spring graduation is the latest milestone in a strong academic year for UK Athletics. Ninety Wildcats have already been named to either the Southeastern Conference Honor Roll with the list for spring sports yet to be announced. During the fall semester, UK's scholarship student-athletes had an average grade-point average of 2.979, just shy of the department-wide goal of 3.0 set by Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart.
See below for a complete list of the 48 graduates by sport:
Football Nik Brazley Mark Crawford Jacob Lewellen Luke McDermott Billy Joe Murphy Cartier Rice Matt Roark Jon Thomas Ryan Tydlacka Collins Ukwu Dave Ulinski
Gymnastics Jasmine Minion (completed eligibility last year) Andrea Mitchell (completed eligibility last year) Colleen Williams (completed eligibility last year)
Earlier this week, the Southeastern Conference unveiled its Winter Academic Honor Roll. To be named to the list, student-athletes must have a grade point average of 3.00 or above for either the preceding academic year have a cumulative GPA of 3.00, among other criteria.
Forty-three Kentucky Wildcats were named to the Honor Roll, the fourth-highest total of any SEC school. Student-athletes from six different teams earned spots. Men's and women's swimming and diving led the way with 14 and 10 honorees each. Gymnastics and rifle each had six, while men's and women's basketball had four and three respectively.
Congratulations to all these Wildcats for their hard work and achievement in the classroom!
See below for a list of all 43 along with their majors.
Twany Beckham - M. Basketball - Communication Terrence Jones - M. Basketball - Communication Darius Miller - M. Basketball - Community Communications and Leadership Development Jarrod Polson - M. Basketball - Finance Kastine Evans - W. Basketball - Business Management Amber Smith - W. Basketball - Family Sciences Keyla Snowden - W. Basketball - Media Arts and Studies Caitlyn Ciokajlo - Gymnastics - Kinesiology/Exercise Science Audrey Harrison - Gymnastics - Business Management Kayla Hartley - Gymnastics - Hospitality Management and Tourism Storey Morris - Gymnastics - Community Communications and Leadership Development Whitney Rose - Gymnastics - Business Management Kayla Sienkowski - Gymnastics - Merchandising, Apparel, and Textiles Dayna Ferguson - Rifle - French Heather Greathouse - Rifle - Psychology Emily Holsopple - Rifle - Biology Henri Junghanel - Rifle - Mechanical Engineering Ed Ryznar - Rifle - Mechanical Engineering Stacy Wheatley - Rifle - Nursing John Bullock - M. Swimming and Diving - Finance/Business Management Greg Ferrucci - M. Swimming and Diving - Kinesiology/Exercise Science John Fox - M. Swimming and Diving - Political Science Blake Freeman - M. Swimming and Diving - Biology Travis Green - M. Swimming and Diving - Biology William Heidler - M. Swimming and Diving - Chemistry Luke Iannuzzi - M. Swimming and Diving - Biology Jonathan Keltner - M. Swimming and Diving - Finance/Business Management Pat Kemme - M. Swimming and Diving - Family Sciences Zack Peterson - M. Swimming and Diving - Kinesiology/Exercise Science Tyler Reed - M. Swimming and Diving - Secondary Education Matt Russell - M. Swimming and Diving - Psychology Maclin Simpson - M. Swimming and Diving - Marketing/Business Management Jacob Thomas - M. Swimming and Diving - Kinesiology/Exercise Science Claire Archibald - W. Swimming and Diving - Accounting Catherine Brueckbauer - W. Swimming and Diving - Marketing Megan Eppler - W. Swimming and Diving - Accounting Lindsay Lash - W. Swimming and Diving - Elementary Education Anna Mattox - W. Swimming and Diving - Communication Disorders Marisa McGlynn - W. Swimming and Diving - Marketing Chelsea Peterson - W. Swimming and Diving - Biology Jenna Willis - W. Swimming and Diving - Psychology Kristen Wilson - W. Swimming and Diving - Finance Samantha Wright - W. Swimming and Diving - Psychology
You know those DirecTV commercials where they tell you to get DirecTV to avoid a ridiculous and often hilarious set of happenings that ends up with you having a grandson with a dog collar or in a roadside ditch? Well here's Sports Video's spin on the idea.
As usual, the marketing and Sports Video departments put together a
great show on Monday night at the 10th annual CATSPY Awards. Over the
next couple days, we'll be sharing some of the videos shown during the
event. Appropriately first is the introduction.
Nearly a decade ago, the Kentucky Athletics Department gathered in Memorial Coliseum, student-athletes, coaches and staff. They came together to celebrate the 2002-03 athletic year, Mitch Barnhart's first at UK. They came together to celebrate the first-ever CATSPY Awards.
On Monday night, the same personnel, though comprised of many different people, united for the same purpose. The feel this time around was unmistakably unlike that inaugural event.
"This is 10 times," Barnhart said in his comments that closed the 2012 CATSPYs. "We started this in (2003) and the first time we had some folks that showed up in blue jeans and t-shirts and it has escalated to quite a different event."
And it wasn't just for the wardrobe choices that were different.
The 2012 CATSPYs were celebrated under the auspices of the best year in recent UK Athletics history. Kentucky's 22 varsity sports have attained an unprecedented level of success this season. From women's soccer to volleyball to men's basketball to women's basketball to rifle to baseball to men's tennis, the department as a whole is approaching the ambitious vision for on-field success that Barnhart laid out upon his arrival and later with his 15 by 15 by 15 plan.
"What you've accomplished athletically this year, unbelievable," Barnhart said. "Really, really good stuff. Never in this history of this program have we had this many champions in one year."
UK's championship pedigree was on full display from the outset of the CATSPY Awards. Members of the men's and women's basketball, men's tennis and rifle teams, the four squads who have already claimed conference championships - and in the case of men's basketball, a national championship - were called to the stage in recognition of their achievements. With their successes, Kentucky has 10 conference or national championships since 2008, just five short of the goal put forth by Barnhart. Moreover, UK ranks 21st in the latest Director's Cup standings, just six spots shy of his objective with men's tennis and baseball still in the midst of strong seasons.
"Unbelievable that we'd get this far this quickly," Barnhart said to student-athletes and coaches. "That's hats off to you all who have been a part of those championships. To you all that have not, there's still time to put your name on that list."
The work is not over as UK reaches new heights on the field of competition, but Barnhart believes firmly in the ability of the people involved with the program to take it there. With that bright future in mind, he is calling on players, coaches and staff to aspire for greatness in all aspects.
"My greatest concern is not our ability or desire to compete," Barnhart said. "We've clearly established that. You've done that amazingly well. It's how we get there and what we'll do once that moment arrives."
Closing out the 10th annual CATSPYs, Barnhart unveiled a new plan with a familiar format but a different message: "60 by one by 60." He is asking those at UK to improve themselves and the world around them by taking three simple steps in their daily lives.
First, Barnhart is calling for the Wildcats to spend 60 minutes a week communicating on a person-to-person level with a friend, colleague, family member or classmate. He is asking student-athletes, coaches and staff to speak face-to-face or via written note, eschewing Twitter, Facebook and other means of communication that dominate the modern world.
"We've got to get back to the relationships that help drive locker rooms, that drive people, that drive jobs and helps you go where you want to go," Barnhart said. "We've got to be able to communicate."
Next, Barnhart wants to inject the department with a sense of gratitude. To that end, he is calling on everyone involved with it to, once a day, say a genuine word of thanks to someone who has provided for them in some way.
"You cannot be grateful for what you think you're entitled to," Barnhart said. "You can't. We are not entitled to things; they are given to us. We got to be thankful."
Last, he wants student-athletes, coaches and staff to give others a reason to be thankful. He is calling on them to spend 60 minutes a week committing to help another, incorporating the example from the service trip he and members of the football program took to Ethiopia last summer.
"Who do you go to help?" Barnhart said. "Who do we have that we provide joy to in spite of circumstances? I'm asking you to find somebody like that. I'm asking you to pour 60 minutes into somebody else every week."
Just as with the 15 by 15 by 15 plan, Barnhart knows he is asking a great deal. At the same time, the way UK attacked that first gauntlet he laid down leads him to believe the group he leads can handle this next one too.
"Are we perfect in what we do?" Barnhart said. "Absolutely not. You're not perfect and we're not perfect. But at the end of the day, this is a heck of a good place and there's an awful lot of people in this room I am so proud of because you have represented Kentucky well and in doing so, you've done an awful lot for a lot of people. But I'm saying don't stop."
The Southeastern Conference (SEC) today announced the winners of its first ever Southeastern Conference Faculty Achievement Awards. The awards honor professors from SEC universities with outstanding records in teaching and scholarship who serve as role models for other faculty and students. The University of Kentucky recognized professor is Steven W. Yates, professor of Chemistry, Physics, and Astronomy in the UK College of Arts and Sciences.
In presenting the awards, the SEC becomes the only Division I conference within the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) currently recognizing university faculty for their achievements, unrelated to athletics or student-athletes.
To be eligible for the SEC Faculty Achievement Award, a professor must be a teacher or scholar at an SEC university; have achieved the rank of full professor at an SEC university; have a record of extraordinary teaching; and have a record of scholarship that is recognized nationally and/or internationally.
"This diverse group of men and women share a passionate dedication not just for teaching, but for empowering their students with the knowledge and wisdom to make a difference in our world," said Dr. Bernie Machen, President of the University of Florida and President of the Southeastern Conference. "Some of the finest minds have studied on our campuses, and we have the SEC university professors to thank for helping to position them for success."
SEC Faculty Achievement Award winners, one from each university, will receive a $5,000 honorarium and become his or her university's nominee for the SEC Professor of the Year Award. The SEC Professor of the Year receives an additional $15,000 honorarium and will be recognized during the annual SEC Spring Banquet in May.
SEC Commissioner Mike Slive said, "These winners are exceptional and have inspired their students and colleagues through a deep commitment to teaching and research in their chosen fields. The SEC is privileged to honor the men and women who motivate and encourage our students to be the best they can be."
Chosen by a selection committee of SEC Provosts, the SEC Faculty Achievement Awards and the SEC Professor of the Year Award are part of a set of non-athletically related academic initiatives the Southeastern Conference has undertaken through its SEC Academic Consortium to encourage academic leadership and collaboration within the SEC membership.
The 2012 SEC Faculty Achievement Award Winners are:
University of Alabama, Dr. David A. Dixon, Robert Ramsay Chair of the Department of Chemistry
University of Arkansas, Dr. Elliott West, Alumni Distinguished Professor of History
Auburn University, Dr. Christopher Roberts, Chair of the Department of Chemical Engineering and the George E. and Dorothy Stafford Uthlaut Professor of Chemical Engineering
University of Florida, Dr. Kenneth D. Wald, Distinguished Professor of Political Science
University of Georgia, Dr. Loch Kingsford Johnson, Regents Professor of Public and International Affairs and Meigs Distinguished Teaching Professor
University of Kentucky, Dr. Steven W. Yates, Professor of Chemistry, Physics, and Astronomy
Louisiana State University, Dr. J. Gerald Kennedy, Boyd Professor of English and former chair of the English Department
University of Mississippi, Dr. John O'Haver, Professor of Chemical Engineering and Associate Dean of Engineering
Mississippi State University, Dr. Keith H. Coble, Giles Distinguished Professor, Agricultural Economics Department
University of South Carolina, Dr. Scott Price, Professor of Piano and Piano Pedagogy, Head of the Piano Area, and Coordinator of Piano Pedagogy
University of Tennessee, Dr. Carol Tenopir, Chancellor's Professor at the School of Information Sciences and the Director of the Center for Information and Communication Studies and Director of Research, College of Communication and Information
Vanderbilt University, Dr. Cecelia Tichi, William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of English