Cats Get Locker Room Makeover

LEXINGTON, Ky. – When the Kentucky football team reports for the beginning of practice in August, the Wildcats will have the use of a new locker room in the Nutter Training Center.

The new area replaces the locker room that was part of the original 1987 construction of the Nutter Center. The total number of individual player lockers has been reduced from 156 to 130, enabling each new locker to be larger. The new lockers are made of oak, measuring 42 inches wide, 24 inches deep, and more than seven feet high, and will be more functional than the previous set.

Each of the new lockers features an electrical outlet, a padded seating bench, and more storage space than the previous lockers. The room will have a new layout, which will make it easier to locate individuals and communicate with the entire team at one time. In addition, the room will have televisions which also can be used as message centers in order to distribute announcements to the players. New shower and bathroom facilities also are being installed.

The new locker room costs approximately $590,000 and is part of the continuing effort to keep Kentucky at the top of football facilities. In just the last two years, athletics director Mitch Barnhart has invested approximately $3,550,000 on four projects that enhance the safety, convenience, and efficiency of the players and are attractive to prospective student-athletes. In addition to the new locker room at the Nutter Center, completed projects include:

a state-of-the-art practice area at the Nutter Center, including two beautiful grass fields, a sports-turf field, drainage system, and stadium-style lights;
a new locker room in Commonwealth Stadium, consolidating the team from two locker rooms to one; and
a new playing surface at Commonwealth Stadium.

Brooks Receives Blanton Collier Award from NFLPA Alumni: Coach Rich Brooks recently received the Blanton Collier Award from the Kentucky chapter of the National Football League Players Association Alumni.

Collier, who was from Paris, Ky., was head coach of the Wildcats for eight seasons, 1954-61. He posted a 41-36-3 record at UK and was best known for his 5-2-1 mark against Tennessee. He went on to the National Football League and became head coach of Cleveland, leading the Browns to a 76-34-2 record (.688) from 1963-70. Cleveland won four divisional championships and the 1964 NFL title under Collier.

“When you read about Blanton Collier and all the things he stood for, one of the things he believed in was that you can be successful without worrying who gets the credit,” said Frank Minniefield, past president of the Kentucky NFLPA Alumni. “Rich Brooks exhibited that type of attitude with Kentucky. He went about his job, and when all was said and done, didn’t worry about who got the credit.”

Brooks inherited a program on probation in 2003 and steadily rebuilt the team. In 2006, his patient coaching and recruiting bore fruit with 8-5 record, capped by a win over Clemson in the Gaylord Hotels Music City Bowl. It was UK’s best record and first bowl win in 22 years.

Woodson Named to Maxwell Award Watch List: Senior quarterback Andre’ Woodson has been named to the preseason watch list for the Maxwell Award, given annually to the most outstanding player in college football.

Woodson is one of 65 players on the watch list, which is selected by the Maxwell Football Club of Roslyn, Pa.

Woodson threw for 3,515 yards and 31 touchdowns last season, leading the Southeastern Conference in total offense, passing yardage, and touchdown passes. He was named second-team All-SEC behind the eventual NFL No. 1 draft pick, JaMarcus Russell of LSU. He enters the 2007 season with an active school-record streak of 162 consecutive passes without an interception.

Woodyard Named to Bednarik Award Watch List: Senior linebacker Wesley Woodyard has been named to the preseason watch list for the Chuck Bednarik Award, given annually to the best defensive player in college football.

Woodyard is one of 65 players on the watch list, which is selected by the Maxwell Football Club of Roslyn, Pa.

Woodyard was named first-team All-Southeastern Conference by league coaches in 2006. He made 122 tackles last season, second in the SEC and 18th nationally. He also led the Wildcats with 9.5 tackles for loss. Consistency has been his hallmark, as he has made at least four tackles in 24 consecutive games and could become the first Wildcat in 14 years to reach 300 tackles in his career.

The Chuck Bednarik Award is presented in honor of the legendary Bednarik, a former great with the University of Pennsylvania and the Philadelphia Eagles. He is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame and National Football League Hall of Fame.

Woodyard also is on the preseason watch lists for the Ronnie Lott Trophy (national defensive player of the year/character) and the Bronko Nagurski Trophy (national defensive player of the year).