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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.

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."

Team GPA's Spring 2012 - Cover sheet.pdf

Sport All Student-Athletes (Includes walk-ons but excludes non-competing 5th year and medicals All Scholarship (scholarship, 5th year and medicals but not walk-ons)
Baseball 2.72 2.61
Men's basketball 3.12 3.02
Women's basketball 2.61 2.61
Men's cross country 3.29 3.38
Women's cross country 3.34 3.43
Football 2.56 2.47
Men's golf 2.90 2.90
Women's golf 3.17 3.17
Gymnastics 2.89 3.06
Rifle 3.22 3.26
Men's soccer 2.90 2.94
Women's soccer 3.16 3.17
Softball 3.28 3.38
Men's swimming and diving 3.17 3.10
Women's swimming and diving 3.36 3.36
Men's tennis 3.01 2.97
Women's tennis 3.55 3.58
Men's track and field 2.93 3.03
Women's track and field 3.13 3.21
Volleyball 2.99 2.89
Men's sports 2.86 2.83
Women's sports 3.16 3.19
Overall 2.97 2.98

48 Wildcats graduate in spring commencement

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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:


Nik Brazley
Mark Crawford
Jacob Lewellen
Luke McDermott
Billy Joe Murphy
Cartier Rice
Matt Roark
Jon Thomas
Ryan Tydlacka
Collins Ukwu
Dave Ulinski

Jasmine Minion (completed eligibility last year)
Andrea Mitchell (completed eligibility last year)
Colleen Williams (completed eligibility last year)

Men's Basketball
Darius Miller
Eloy Vargas

Men's Cross Country
Sharif Webb
Trent Hasalek

Men's Golf
Mads Kristensen

Men's Soccer
Sam Brooks
Josh McCrary
Josh Mulvany
C.J. Tappel
Brad Walker

Men's Swimming and Diving
Tyler Reed
Matt Russell

Men's Tennis
Eric Quigley

Men's Track and Field
Sharif Webb
Steve Crouse
Trent Hasalek

Ethan Settlemires

Brittany Cervantes
Rachel Riley
Annie Rowlands(completed eligibility last year)
Megan Yocke (completed eligibility last year)

Ann Armes
Gretchen Giesler
Becky Pavan

Women's Basketball
Keyla Snowden

Women's Golf
Megan Moir

Women's Soccer
Jenna Goblirsch
Kelsey Hunyadi
Kiondra McGee
Emily Rogers

Women's Swimming and Diving
Claire Archibald
Anna Mattox
Chelsea Peterson
Jenna Willis

Women's Track and Field
Mary Angell
Jennifer Svoboda

Video: One take lip dub returns to CATSPYs

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Last year's CATSPY Awards were punctuated by a brilliantly executed one take lip dub by Kentucky student-athletes of "Dynamite." This year, they took a shot at "Party Rock Anthem." Enjoy.

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

2012 CATSPYs video: Senior Tribute

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Last but certainly not least, here is the video from the CATSPY Awards featuring the departing seniors from this year's teams.

2012 CATSPYs video: The Rising

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Here is one of my personal favorite videos from the CATSPY Awards, set to Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band's "The Rising."

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.

2012 CATSPYs video: Introduction

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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.

Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart addressed student-athletes, coaches and staff at the 2012 CATSPY Awards on Monday evening. (Britney McIntosh, UK Athletics) Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart addressed student-athletes, coaches and staff at the 2012 CATSPY Awards on Monday evening. (Britney McIntosh, UK Athletics)
2012 CATSPY Award winners

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."

Recent Comments

  • Guy Ramsey: The song is "The Mighty Rio Grande" by the band This Will Destroy You. read more
  • Griffin: What's the name of the song that this video starts playing when describing Cal getting ejected and Aaron talking about read more
  • Quinn : It was an amazing run! I hope you all return and make another stab at it. read more
  • Sandy Spears: I completely with the person's comment above. So proud of all the young men and their accomplishments. They have everything read more
  • BJ Rassam: The Cats came so close to winning another NCAA basketball championship. read more
  • chattyone: Congratulations to our Wildcats! They are terrific. All of us just like these young men are disappointed in the loss, read more
  • clint bailes: Such a great season! You guys fought hard til the end. Loved watchin the season! Can't wait til next season. read more
  • Andrea Boyd: you guys are AMAZING! as individuals and as a team. thank you for your tremendous playing and work and attitudes. read more
  • laura n: What an honor and privledge to watch all of you grow into incredible young men. Never enjoyed a season more. read more
  • Amy Carnes: Very proud of you cats you have really grow as a team .You proved all the doubters wrong. And have read more