UK Adds Seven in 2009 Hall of Fame Class
July 7, 2009
LEXINGTON, Ky. -- The University of Kentucky announced during the 2009 CATSPY Awards the 2009 inductees into the UK Athletics Hall of Fame. The class includes former volleyball coach Kathy DeBoer, football player Wilbur Hackett, baseball player and contributor Jim Host, swimmer Rachel Komisarz, basketball player Mike Pratt and pitcher Brandon Webb. The committee granted previously announced diver Tina Johnson Ybarra's request to be moved from the 2008 class to the 2009 class for induction.
The class will be formally inducted during Hall of Fame Weekend, Oct. 23-24 in conjunction with the football game against Louisiana-Monroe.
DeBoer (1984-2002) is the winningest volleyball coach in Kentucky history with a 209-97 record (.683; 1984-92), helping lead UK to the NCAA Tournament four years, claiming two SEC regular-season championships and two SEC Tournament titles. A former national and SEC coach of the year, DeBoer worked in the UK athletics administration, rising to senior associate athletics' director, before taking current position as the executive director of the American Volleyball Coaches Association.
Hackett (1967-70) served as a pioneer of integration in SEC football, becoming the first African-American team captain in SEC history in 1969. Began his career playing with the freshman team, and later served as a three-year varsity starter, earning sophomore All-SEC honors in 1968. Was also named UK's co-Most Valuable Player as a senior and later served as a graduate assistant coach for two seasons. Hackett is currently in his 12th season as an SEC football game official.
Host (1957-59) began his impressive career as one of the first scholarship baseball players at Kentucky, helping lead UK to a then-school record 18 wins as a senior. During his senior season, Host totaled a 1.66 ERA, striking out 69 in 75.1 innings, hurling six complete games in eight starting assignments before pitching in the minor leagues. Host then began a noteworthy career in business and government service, founding a company in 1972 that eventually became Host Communications, a pioneer in the sports marketing industry. He served in state government as Commissioner of Public Information, Commissioner of Parks, and most recently, Secretary of Commerce. Host's numerous honors include the State of Kentucky Athletic Hall of Fame, UK Hall of Distinguished Alumni, Kentuckian of the Year, National Tourism Foundation Hall of Fame, and lifetime achievement awards from two organizations.
Johnson Ybarra (1993-96) was an eight-time All-America diver, winning the honor in one-meter, three-meter and platform diving. She was the 1996 SEC one-meter diving champion and NCAA runner-up in the platform event, she was named SEC Swimmer and Diver of the Year by league coaches three times (1995-97). She was also an Academic All-American and a three-time member of the SEC All-Academic Team, leaving school as UK's record-holder in three categories.
Komisarz (1996-99) was an Olympic gold-medal winner and NCAA All-American swimmer. She was a versatile performer whose six All-America honors were spread over five separate events. Was UK's only three-time SEC champion women's swimmer, victorious in the 200 butterfly, 500 freestyle, and 1650 freestyle. Komisarz ended her career with school records in the 200 freestyle, 1000 freestyle, 1650 freestyle, along with the 100 and 200 butterfly. She holds four UK Lancaster Aquatic Center records and co-owns school records on four different relay teams, in addition to earning Academic All-America accolades as a senior. Komisarz was a part of the 2004 United States Olympics Team that won the gold medal in the 800 freestyle relay and the silver medal in the 400 medley relay. She was named to the 2006 United States World Championship Team.
Pratt (1968-70) was a second-team All-American basketball player in 1970, finishing his career with 1,359 points (still ranks among the top 25 UK scorers of all-time) and 718 rebounds. A two-time first-team All-SEC selection by the league's coaches (1969, 70), Prate was named an Academic All-American in 1970. Pratt helped lead UK to three SEC championships and two Elite Eight appearances, finishing the regular season ranked No. 1 his senior season. After finishing collegiate career, Pratt played two seasons for the Kentucky Colonels of the ABA and was later an assistant coach on UNC-Charlotte's 1977 Final Four team, later serving as UNCC's head coach for four years. Since 2002, Pratt has served as radio color analyst for UK men's basketball games.
Webb (1998-2000), one of the top pitchers in UK school history, led the major leagues with a career-high 22 wins in 2008. The 2006 National League Cy Young award winner for the Arizona Diamondbacks became the first former UK pitcher to earn MLB All-Star honors and a Cy Young after his league-high 16 wins and 3.16 ERA in 2006. An eighth-round draft pick by Arizona in 2000, Webb has developed one of the most dominating sinkerballs in all of professional baseball. At Kentucky, Webb ranks among the school record holders in career strikeouts (259) and games started (46), also ranking in UK single season records in games started (16), innings pitched (112.2) and strikeouts (123). He is also active in the community, sponsoring the Brandon Webb K Foundation that benefits at-risk children.
The UK Athletics Hall of Fame was started in 2005 to recognize and honor persons whose participation and contributions enriched and strengthened the University's athletic program. The charter class included 88 individuals who had previously had their jersey retired by UK.
There is a five-year waiting period - after leaving UK - to be eligible for inclusion into the Hall of Fame, and a 10-year waiting period to have a jersey retired. An individual must be a member of the Hall of Fame to be eligible for jersey retirement.
A committee consisting of Hall of Famers, media members, campus representatives and current coaches and administrators elects new inductees each year.