By LARRY VAUGHT
Ohio’s 24th annual UK Convention is coming up July 20 at Eastview Baptist Church in Franklin, Ohio — two miles off I-75 at the Middletown exit — and convention director Jim Porter again has put together a diversified program for Big Blue fans.
For basketball-minded fans, he has Jeff Sheppard, 1998 Final Four MVP, and Preston Spradlin, the current assistant director of basketball operations for coach John Calipari. In addition, he has Jeff House, the newest addition to Matthew Mitchell’s coaching staff.
For football-minded fans, he has former UK defensive end Matt Layow along with Lakota West (Ohio) coach Larry Cox, who had Kyle Meadows as part of UK’s 2013 recruiting class and will have Mikel Horton in the 2014 class. Cox also has a junior that UK has offered a scholarship. I will be on a panel with Cox and Layow to open the convention talking football.
He also had Bill Richer, a 101 Club member, coming to share some unique stories about his experiences with the Cats.
Registration is again only $25 for the full day and Porter always has door prizes and special awards.
The convention’s silent auction helps offset costs and this year ESPN college basketball analyst Dick Vitale has donated four autographed books for Big Blue fans along with a basketball from his 2012 Gala that raises money for the V Foundation and cancer research. Calipari and North Carolina’s Roy Williams were the featured guests at that event and both have their pictures on the basketball along with Vitale’s picture. Vitale also autographed this unique basketball which is unlike any I have seen.
Porter and others with the convention are especially excited about the way UK football coach Mark Stoops has recruited in Ohio. However, he says there is so much reason for optimism.
“Can you believe all that has happened since our convention last year? Our football team under the helm of new coach Mark Stoops appears to be headed in a positive direction. Coach Cal’s fifth UK basketball team has the highest rated recruiting class ever. Matthew Mitchell’s team has played in the Elite Eight three of the last four years. Wow!” Porter said.
If you live anywhere close to Franklin, come to this event that starts with registration at 8:30 and ends in mid-afternoon. You won’t regret the time you spend with other UK fans and UK personalities. This is my favorite event of the year and one I enjoy for the people I see as much as the information I always learn.
For more information, contact Porter at 937-746-8758, Mike Johnson at 937-477-4115, David Starkey at 937-746-1866 or Linda Heagen at 513-424-5278. Hope to see you there.