Pick Your Community: | Hopkins | Muhlenberg | Daviess | Christian | Henderson | Lakes | McCracken | Webster

UK Athletics Hall of Fame Adds Six Celebrated Wildcat Greats

uk logo 300LEXINGTON, Ky. (8/20/13) – Six University of Kentucky greats will be inducted into the UK Athletics Hall of Fame in late September. The 2013 class includes former UK student-athletes and coaches Oliver Barnett (football), Rex Chapman (men’s basketball), Leslie Nichols (women’s basketball), Orlando “Tubby” Smith (men’s basketball), Press Whelan (track/cross country) and Jesse Witten (men’s tennis). The class will be formally inducted during Hall of Fame Weekend, Sept. 27-28, in conjunction with the football game against the University of Florida.

 

 


hof barnettOliver Barnett (1986-89) capped his career as UK’s all-time quarterback sack leader. He earned third-team All-America and first team All-Southeastern Conference distinction as a senior. Barnett registered 271 career tackles and 26 quarterback take-downs as a defensive lineman. In addition to his tackling prowess, Barnett notched 12 forced fumbles and 43 career tackles for loss. As a junior, he was named to the National Strength Coaches Association All-America Team for his on-field performance and excellence in strength training. Furthermore, he was tabbed All-America honorable mention and second-team All-SEC as a junior. His 850-pound squat lift is still the record at UK. Following his collegiate career, Barnett suited up for the Blue-Gray and Senior Bowl all-star games before beginning a six-year stint in the NFL. His professional highlights include a trip to the 1994 Super Bowl as a member of the Buffalo Bills.
 

hof chapmanRex Chapman (1987-88) is one of the most successful players in program history. In just two seasons in the Blue and White, he poured in 1,073 career points. He was a two-time All-SEC first team selection, while also garnering National Association of Basketball Coaches third-team All-America honors following his sophomore season. Chapman claimed Most Valuable Player accolades at the 1988 SEC Tournament, while also excelling in the classroom and being named to the SEC Academic Honor Roll. After concluding two successful seasons as a Wildcat, Chapman was selected eighth overall in the 1988 NBA draft by the Charlotte Hornets. He enjoyed a 12-year career in the NBA before becoming an NBA scout and executive.

 

hof nicholsLeslie Nichols (1983-86) remains one of UK’s greatest performers on the hardwood. She was a three-time All-SEC honoree by the league’s coaches en route to a career record of 72-41 and a pair of NCAA Tournament appearances during her tenure. She still ranks fourth all-time in UK’s career scoring chart with 1,797 career points good for an average of 18.2 per game. A four-year starter at forward, Nichols remains the only player in program history to log a triple-double. She totaled 18 points, 13 rebounds and 11 steals against Louisville in 1986. Furthermore, she ranks second all-time at UK in double-doubles (35), fourth in steals (278), fourth in career rebounds (877) and fifth in blocks (102).

 


hof smithOrlando “Tubby” Smith (1998-2007) coached the Wildcats to the program’s seventh national championship in his inaugural season. At the time, the 35 victories during the 1997-98 title run were tied for the second most in a season in program history. Smith was a three-time National Coach of the Year (1998, 2003, 2005), as well as a three-time SEC Coach of the Year selection. During his term, the Blue and White claimed five regular-season SEC championships and five SEC Tournament crowns. In NCAA Tournament play, Smith finished his career at UK with the sixth-best winning percentage (.690) among active coaches with a sterling 29-13 record, including 23-9 while with the Wildcats. Along with the national title, he guided UK to three additional Elite Eight appearances. In SEC Tournament action, he owned a 20-5 mark in winning five of the events. Smith coached UK to 22 or more victories in all 10 seasons at the helm.

 
hof whelanPress Whelan (1957-61, 1967-73) starred as a national champion and All-American as an athlete before returning as UK’s head coach. As an athlete, Whelan (pronounced “WHAY-lan”) won a national title in the two-man, 10-mile relay. He set a record time while winning the 1957 SEC cross country championship and also captured the SEC track title twice in the two-mile run. His stellar performances led the Blue and White to SEC cross country championships in 1958 and 1959. Following his career, he served as an assistant coach in 1961. He was named the cross country/track and field head coach in 1967 and held the post until 1973. Whelan guided the cross country squad to an SEC title in 1970. His athletes won four individual national titles and 33 conference crowns. Whelan played a role in the integration of the SEC as he coached the league’s first African-American track athlete, Jim Green. Following his collegiate coaching career, he assisted the U.S. State Department by coaching foreign track teams in Turkey and Lebanon. Over the years, he has continued to run and competed in three Senior Olympics and one national senior indoor championship.


hof wittenJesse Witten (2002-05) capped his career as the most decorated men’s tennis player in program history. Upon the conclusion of his career, Witten was the only four-time men’s singles All-American in NCAA history. He earned five All-America honors during his career, four of which came as an individual and one as a doubles player. Witten was a four-time All-SEC selection and the 2005 SEC Player of the Year after claiming 43 singles victories. He advanced to two Grand Slam finals (2004 ITA National Indoor Singles Final and 2002 NCAA Singles Championship) as a Wildcat, and is still the only UK player in school history to achieve the feat. His career got off to a blazing start as he hauled in SEC Freshman of the Year accolades after helping the Wildcats to a 23-10 mark and eighth-place finish at the NCAA Championships in 2002. As a professional player, he qualified for several Grand Slams including the US and French Opens.

The UK Athletics Hall of Fame was started in 2005 to recognize and honor those whose participation and contributions enriched and strengthened the university’s athletic program. A committee consisting of Hall of Famers, media members, campus representatives and current coaches and administrators elects new inductees annually.
 
SurfKY News
Information provided by Tony Neely (UK Athletics)
Photos provided by Ukthletics.com

© Copyright 2014 SurfKY News Group, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, or rewritten without permission. SurfKY News encourages you to share this story by using one of the social media links below.

3/13 - 16
3/13 - 16
button coupons

Stock Report

1 DOW 17,804.80
+26.65 (0.15%)    
2 S&P 2,070.65
+9.42 (0.46%)    
3 NASDAQ 4,765.38
+16.98 (0.36%)    
3/13 - 16
3/13 - 16
button classifieds

In Other News...

DeArmond Looks Back as Retirement Nears

GREENVILLE, Ky. (12/18/14) — Ed DeArmond has worn many hats, so to speak, during his service to Muhlenberg County, the… Read More

Wells Named Commended Student in 2015 National Merit Scholarship Program

MARSHALL COUNTY, Ky. (12/19/14) — Amy Waggoner, principal at Marshall County High School announced today that Caroline… Read More
3/13 - 16

Most Read This Week

December 16, 2014 9980

Coal Miner Fatally Injured in Underground Mining…

in Top News For All Sites by Dick Brown
December 14, 2014 8733

Muhlenberg Pays Homage to U.S. Armed Forces

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Charles W. Riley II, SurfKY News
December 17, 2014 6948

Elderly Couple Found Shot to Death in Muhlenberg

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Trooper Stu Recke
December 17, 2014 6550

Three Men Charged with Burglary

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Madisonville Police Department
December 15, 2014 4912

Hopkins County Woman Charged Second Time in Two…

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Charles W. Riley II, SurfKY News
December 15, 2014 4365

Woman Leads Police on High-Speed Chase in Stolen…

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Madisonville Police
December 18, 2014 3732

Cat Scratching over Dog Ownership Escalates

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Amber Averitt, SurfKY News
December 15, 2014 3376

Vehicle Careens down 150 Foot Embankment with…

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Madisonville Police Department
December 16, 2014 3287

Highway Crews Pre-Treating Roadways for Potential…

in Hopkins News by Keith Todd
December 16, 2014 3277

KFWC Proposes 2015-2016 Deer Season Dates and…

in General News For All Sites by Department of Fish and Wildlife

Stories Trending Today

December 18, 2014 3732

Cat Scratching over Dog Ownership Escalates

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Amber Averitt, SurfKY News
December 19, 2014 3144

Dawson Springs Man Charged with Sexual Abuse of…

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Detective Sean McCance
December 19, 2014 2876

Woman Flown to St. Mary's after Two-Car Collision

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Trooper Stu Recke
December 19, 2014 2575

Vehicle Explodes into Flames on Pride Avenue

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Gwen Smith
December 19, 2014 2441

Armstrong Mine to Layoff 39 by End of Day

in Top News For All Sites by Rita Dukes Smith, SurfKY News Director
December 19, 2014 1911

Vehicle Fire Causes Traffic Back-Up on Pennyrile

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Doreen Dennis
December 18, 2014 1841

Hopkins County Sheriff's Reports Released

in Hopkins News by Sheila Hopper
December 18, 2014 1781

UK Track and Field Announces Initial Eight…

in General Sports For All Sites by UK Athletics
December 18, 2014 1733

Madisonville Police Arrest Reports - Dec. 18, 2014

in Hopkins News by Madisonville Police Department
December 18, 2014 1727

DeArmond Looks Back as Retirement Nears

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Paul McRee, SurfKY News

SurfKY News Group, Inc.
Corporate Office & Studio
1125 Nebo Rd.  •  Madisonville, KY 42431
270.452.2727 (phone)
  •  270.452.2249 (fax)


Contact a member of our staff: www.surfky.com/contact
Copyright © 2014 SurfKY News Group, Inc.  •  Terms of Use  •  Site Map

social fbsocial twsocial yt
social gpsocial flrsocial rss