UK connections are top newsmakers of 2010

By: Steve Moss
By: Steve Moss

A couple of weeks ago, posed the question, "What 10 Kentuckians do you think were the top newsmakers of 2010?" Over a 5-day period, many readers voted, and as you might expect, the University of Kentucky is well represented, with five of the top 10 vote-getters.

A couple of weeks ago, posed the question, "What 10 Kentuckians do you think are the top newsmakers of 2010?"

Over a 5-day period, many of our readers voted, and as you might expect, the University of Kentucky is well represented, including five of the top 10 vote-getters.

Checking in at No. 6 is outgoing UK president Dr. Lee Todd. 

No. 5 on our list is UK Hoops coach Matthew Mitchell.  The fourth-year coach enjoyed his best season yet, leading the UK women to a 28-8 record in 2009-10, advancing to an Elite Eight appearance in the NCAA Tournament and was voted the SEC Coach of the Year.

The 28 wins and 11 conference victories are school records.  Mitchell's Cats finished ranked in the Top 10 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches' Poll.

Viewers voted Joker Phillips No. 4 on our list.  UK's first year coach is only the fifth former Wildcat to coach his alma mater.  He is just the second African-American head coach in SEC history.

The Franklin, Ky. native led the Cats to a 6-6 season in 2010, good enough to land UK in the BBVA Compass Bowl in Birmingham, the fifth straight postseason appearance for the Cats.

The Great Wall of Kentucky is No. 2 in our readers' poll.  John Wall was as good as advertised last season, coming out of high school as the nation's top-ranked recruit.

Wall instantly became a household name, leading the Cats to early season wins against Miami and UConn, both in dramtic fashion.  He graced the cover of Sports Illustrated and helped the Cats back to national prominence.

Wall blazed the way for his team to win another SEC championship and an appearance in the Elite Eight, before bowing out to West Virginia in the NCAA Tournament.

Wall parlayed his efforts into becoming the first UK player ever to be selected with the No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft.

And the top newsmaker for 2010 is UK coach John Calipari.  The reigning Sportsman of the Year in Kentucky, Calipari brought the nation's top-ranked recruiting class to Lexington for the second straight year and already has led his team to a 9-2 record this season.

Calipari was the 2010 Adolph Rupp National Coach of the Year, a 2010 Naismtih Coach of the Year finalist and the 2010 Associated Press, Sporting News and Yahoo! Sports SEC Coach of the Year.

As my friend Tony Neely says, "it's a great day to be a Wildcat."

Those are the highlights... Stay tuned.

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