Most Recent Posts
- Video: Larry hears cowbells, makes a chocolate cow and soaks up the culture in Switzerland
- Video: UK offensive coordinator Neal Brown talks about recruiting the home state of Kentucky
- What role did Drew Barker’s mother play in his athletic development?
- Calipari will be keynote speaker at Iba Awards June 3 in Tulsa
- D.J. Eliot understands coach Mark Stoops “very well” can bring new ideas to UK defense
- Swiss Cat Part 2: Larry continues his adventure in Switzerland
- Brumbaugh understands junior college talent, feels he can bring JUCO players to UK
- Volleyball training, personality will both help Marcus Lee at Kentucky
By LARRY VAUGHT
This is not exactly a Kentucky-related post, but certainly I thought it was worth sharing.
Remember for Kentucky assistant coach Mike Sutton? He worked under Tubby Smith and then became head coach at Tennessee Tech before his career was cut short by his own illness.
Now he’s trying to help raise funds for his 4-year-old granddaughter, Libby, and pediatric brain cancer research with his second annual “Stache-Bash.” Here’s information that his charming wife, Karen, sent:
“Okay … see this very pleasant, clean shaven face? At the end of January, it will be marred by the existence of a probable hideous mustache. Beginning January 1st Mike ( or Pop Pop as he is known around these parts), will attempt the grow the mustache I made him shave over 28 years ago. Of course, the facial hair growth is part of the 2nd annual ‘Stache-Bash benefiting our almost 4 year old granddaughter, Libby, and pediatric brain cancer research.
“Many of you are aware of Libby’s story and her brave and courageous fight. She was diagnosed with an optic pathway glioma in September 2010 and just recently completed 61 weeks of chemotherapy. An MRI was done on Friday and shows the tumor to be stable … the best news we could ask for at this time. Christmas was wonderful for Libby and her big sisters and we are delighted to be living near to be a bigger part of their lives. We’re all hoping for a much healthier 2013!
“The outpouring of support in our local community has been breathtakingly tremendous … and it continues. One of the fundraisers is the ‘Stache Bash.’ Mike isn’t able to do much physically, but wants to do his part to help Libby. This precious little girl owns his heart. He can grow a mustache(I think) and he is soliciting your sponsorship of this very worthy cause. One very important aspect of this event is to raise awareness and to fund research for a cancer that is way more prevalent than one would guess. Part of these proceeds will help offset Libby’s mounting medical bills not covered by insurance.
“Kevin and Kelly have also been very generous in ‘paying it forward’ by sharing these “gifts” with others in the community who share these same experiences. Of course, you are under no obligation to participate, but should you choose to help Mike and the other guys exceed last year’s total contribution (in excess of $13,000), you may send a check, of any amount, made payable to Love for Libby and sent to: Karen and Mike Sutton, 515 Sailview Drive, Tega Cay, SC 29708. Sponsor contributions should be received by January 31st.
“Our hearts will love you for it and I promise to send a picture of the ‘finished product.’ Libby sends a big, smiling thank you too!”
* * *
For additional information, email Mike Sutton at firstname.lastname@example.org and you can follow his granddaughter’s journey on Facebook at www.caringbridge.org/visit/libbykern/journal.
By LARRY VAUGHT
For several years Tim Bess had been encouraging his wife, Danville artist Anne Crawford to do a painting based on the tradition of the University of Kentucky basketball. Last summer she found herself considering the best way to portray the deep tradition of UK basketball in an original oil portrait.
“Her artistic, creative mind went to work. She then invited our family to share ideas, to discuss the painting, to conduct research, and to take a close look at all that is encompassed by UK Basketball’s tradition throughout the decades,” said Jean Crawford Griffin, Anne’s sister.
Finally, the idea came. Why not a painting with each of the UK coaches — Adolph Rupp, Joe Hall, Rick Pitino, Tubby Smith and John Calipari — who won a national championship with the Wildcats.
“Each coach and championship trophy became a part of Anne’s vision for the painting,” Griffin said.
The painting shows each coach with the trophy — or trophies for Rupp — he won. They are all standing on the Rupp Arena court.
“We looked at things to see how to portray each coach, but Anne creates her own vision. She has to have some reference for facial features, but everything Anne does is an original and this certainly is a unique piece of art,” Griffin said. “We thought about including all the UK coaches, but we decided we did not want one (Billy Gillispie) of them in it. So we thought the best thing to do was go with coaches who won a championship.
“We started the research and started looking at the trophies and how they have changed over the years. We wanted to make sure we were as historically accurate as possible.”
Anne Crawford, 51, is well know for her portrait and equine art. She has done historical medical art, but this is her venture into what she hopes might turn into a series of legacy paintings.
“We don’t think there is anything like this piece of art anywhere,” Griffin, who has two degrees from UK and once worked in the UK athletics department. “Our whole family is Wildcat fans and we knew if Anne was going to broaden her horizons into the sports world this would be the best way to start and a very talked about piece of art because there is nothing like it. We looked at maybe doing one for football, and thought no. Anne is really good at catching game action, but this one with all the coaches is what came to mind and what all the family liked best.”
Griffin, a six organ transplant recipient , calls herself a grassroots donate life ambassador and is active in the annual UK-UofL Gift of Life Challenge between Kentucky and Louisville during basketball season. It’s a drive to sign up organ donors that began in 2001 and the winner will be announced when UK and Louisville play at the YUM Center in December.
Crawford and Griffin would like to think there might be a way to get Kentucky coach John Calipari involved with using the painting to promote organ donations. They are considering producing a limited number of prints and Griffin and hopes there might be a way to involve Calipari and/or Louisville coach Rick Pitino in the project.
“We would just do a limited number of prints so that people would be very proud of having print No. 1 or print 100,” Griffin said. “We want the original painting to be in the best possible place whether that be in an individual owner’s hands or one of the UK coaches or his family. Maybe it belongs in the UK basketball offices. It’s not easy to know exactly where it belongs or what will be the right thing to do.
“But if there is a way to promote organ donation and the tradition of UK basketball at the same time, that would be great for everyone. This is a unique painting and we are open to any and all ideas because we know how unique this is from anything else.”
This comment by King Ghidora about coach John Calipari caught me eye the other day:
“I’m starting to think that maybe Cal is the best coach to ever walk the sidelines at UK. Yes I know that’s blasphemy to many but what he’s accomplished in this era rivals the best things Rupp did. It was a lot easier for Rupp to recruit the best players IMO because many teams didn’t give a hoot about basketball. Many did of course but still it’s not like today where every school in the country realizes the awesome moneymaking potential of a good basketball team. Heck they had assistant football coaches and guys from the PE department coach many of the SEC teams back in Rupp’s era. Rupp lobbied hard to get the SEC to take basketball more seriously. Cal doesn’t have to do that.
With the 4 straight #1 recruiting classes, the national title, 5 players going in the first round draft, two players drafted first and second, two #1 draft picks in 3 years, a final 4, undefeated in the SEC, and all this in a time when recruiting wars are epic battles is just amazing. I can only wonder what he could have done with a 40 year run in Lexington. And I have barely scratched the surface on what Cal has brought to the table. His accomplishments just keep stacking up and there doesn’t appear to be any end in sight. Several polls have the Cats ranked #1 for next season.”
What Calipari has done in three year is amazing. But rather than rate where he belongs on the all-time UK coaching list after just three seasons, it brought another question to mind: Where would you rank Calipari among UK coaches when it comes to in-game adjustments?
How does Calipari stack up against Joe Hall, Eddie Sutton, Rick Pitino, Tubby Smith and Billy Gillispie (yes, we have to acknowledge he really did coach at UK for two years)?
Hall, Pitino and Smith also won national titles. Sutton might have if his run at Kentucky had not been so disjointed by personal issues. But which of those coaches, including Calipari, made the best in-game adjustments?
By LARRY VAUGHT
With Kentucky product Rajon Rondo doing his best to keep Boston alive in the NBA playoffs, there is a great read by Daniel Solzman at wildcatbluenation.com.
It’s an in-depth story with comments from noted Boston columnist Bob Ryan to Cats Pause founder Oscar Combs to UK play by play announcer Tom Leach and many more. It also has some insights from former UK coach Tubby Smith, who recruited Rondo and never quite unleashed him like the Celtics have.
With Solzman’s permission, here is what Smith had to say:
“Like any other coach that’s had the good fortune to be around young men like Rajon, you’re fortunate to coach him,” former Kentucky coach Tubby Smith said in a phone interview. “You’re just so proud of what he’s able to accomplish, reach his dreams, his goals, take care of his family, and those are things you talk about when you recruit young men. You tell them—Hey, look, if you do certain things, do the right things, then guess what, stay true to your commitment. Rajon’s always had a passion for the game. He did everything we asked him to do at Kentucky. I know that even when he decided to leave early, he finished up the right way with his mom right by his side, academically left here in good standing, and those things are, that’s critical, because I appreciate that about Rajon.”
“Rajon is good of an athlete, pound for pound, side for side, he’s as good of an athlete as I’ve ever been around,” Smith said, echoing the comments made by other coaches about the Celtics point guard.
“I’ve had the good fortune to work with guys with the Olympics, whether it’s Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, Jason Kidd,” Smith added. “I don’t think I’ve coached someone, a better athlete, in my coaching career than Rajon Rondo so you knew he was gonna be great.”
Read the complete story at http://wildcatbluenation.com/