My Kentucky Sportsman of the Year ballot is in!

By: Steve Moss
By: Steve Moss

The annual voting for the Kentucky Sportsman of the Year is closed and I'm set to reveal my ballot.

The annual voting for the Kentucky Sportsman of the Year is closed and I'm set to reveal my ballot.

The award is given annually to the athlete, coach or administrator (or horse), with ties to Kentucky, who had arguably the biggest impact on the statewide sports scene.

The 2011 winner was Kenneth Faried, who led Morehead to an NCAA tournament upset of Louisville.  He finished his career as the all-time modern leader in rebounding in NCAA history, parlaying his time with the Eagles into a first-round selection in the NBA Draft.

Faried actually was second on my ballot.

This year's list of nominees is deep, but there seems to be a clear cut favorite to win the 2013 Kentucky Sportsman of the Year.

Let's see what you think.

Here, in reverse order, is my ballot:

10. Dale Romans (horse racing) - one of the leading trainers in the sport, Romans enjoyed his best season ever in 27 years.  The Louisville native trained Grade 1 winners that included Shackleford and Dullahan.  His starters won 125 races for more than $11 million.

 9. Rick Pitino - Kentuckians either love him or loathe him, but there's no denying he's a great coach.  His Louisville team lost four of six games to close out the regular season, but then got hot, winning eight straight to get to the Final Four.  

 8. Justin Thomas (golf) - The former St. X player enjoyed one of the greatest amateur seasons in history.  Honored as the National Player of the Year and National Freshman of the Year, the Alabama freshman earned an exemption into the PGA Tour Greenbrier Classic, where he made the cut.  That's pretty remarkable.

 7. A'dia Mathies - The UK junior capped off a great season by winning the SEC Player of the Year award.  Mathies also was named an All-American.  Mathies was a major reason the Wildcats won the SEC title and made a deep run into the NCAA Tournament.

 6. Matthew Mitchell - UK coach led the Wildcats to the school's first SEC regular season title since 1982.  Mitchell's team came within a game of UK's first Final Four.

 5. Teddy Bridgewater (Louisville football) - The Louisville quarterback stamped his name into next season's Heisman Award talk with an outstanding 2012 season, capped off by U of L's win over Florida in the Sugar Bowl.  Barring injury, Bridgewater is destined to enter the NFL draft after the upcoming season.

 4. John Calipari - Three was a charm for coach Cal.  His third group of Wildcats won it all in 2012, defeating Kansas for the school's eighth national championship, despite leaning heavily on a trio of talented freshmen.

 3. Dermontti Dawson - In any other year, Dawson would be a lock for the Kentucky Sportsman of the Year.  In 2012, Dawson, the former Bryan Station product and Kentucky Wildcat, was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.  He joins George Blanda as the only UK players enshrined in Canton.

 2. Charlie Strong (Louisville football) - Strong enjoyed the best season ever by a Cardinal football coach.  In his third season at Louisville, Strong coached the Cards to their second straight Big East title and the second BCS Bowl bid in school history.  The Cardinals upset heavily favored Florida in the Sugar Bowl and should be a Top 10 team entering 2013.

 1. Anthony Davis - Most athletes of Davis' caliber arrive on the scene with tremendous hype, but very few live up to the billing.  Davis' one season in Lexington exceeded everything imaginable. Davis set an NCAA record for single-season blocked shots, won every National Player of the Year award, led the Wildcats to a national championship, was chosen the overall number one pick in the NBA Draft and won an Olympic gold medal with Team USA.

Whew!  It'll be hard for anyone ever to top the season Davis had.

So, for the season Davis enjoyed last year, he earns my vote as the Kentucky Sportsman of the Year.

Any objections?

Those are the highlights... Stay tuned.

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