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Coach Cal, Ky. soldiers top list of 2011 Kentucky newsmakers

What do powerful politicians, all star athletes, and glamorous movie stars all have in common? They all made the top ten 2011 newsmakers list voted on by visitors to wkyt.com.

1. Coach John Calipari
The number one goes to the man who leads the Kentucky Wildcats on the floor at Rupp Arena. Coach Calipari, who is entering his third season with UK, is a man who's connected with the central Kentucky community as a philanthropist, a coach, and a champion for the region. He lead the Cats to the Elite Eight in 2010, then the Final Four in 2011. The Big Blue Nation is now anxiously awaiting what this team will do in both the regular season and in tournament play.

2. Kentucky Soldiers
Voters recognized all Kentucky soldiers. Many of whom are now coming home for good after lengthy deployments in Afghanistan and Iraq. For their bravery, sacrifice, and service, Kentucky soldiers were only seven votes shy of taking the top spot.

3. Dakota Meyer
Medal of Honor recipient Dakota Meyer is number three on the list. President Obama awarded Meyer the Medal of Honor after his heroics under fire in Afghanistan saved the lives of both American and Afghan fighters. Meyer has roots in both Green and Adair counties but the entire state has claimed his as their own.

4. Josh Harrellson
Known for the now famous "jorts," Josh Harrellson was a fan favorite on wkyt.com. After just 22 games playing for the Big Blue, Harrellson endeared himself to Kentucky fans and hopes to do the same in NBA where he now plays with the New York Knicks.

5. Gov. Steve Beshear
Now beginning his second term as governor after defeating Senate President and Republican David Williams, Gov. Steve Beshear says this budget cycle will be the most challenging yet and that he will aggressively push for a constitutional amendment to legalize additional forms of gambling in his second term.

6. Coach Matthew Mitchell
UK Hoops Coach Matthew Mitchell takes the sixth spot after leading the team to four consecutive post season tournaments and back-to-back NCAA tournament appearances.

7. Kenneth Faried
Former Morehead State standout Kenneth Faried made a name for himself during the NCAA tournament in the spring. After being picked 22nd in the NBA draft, Faried is now in his rookie season with the Denver Nuggets.

8. George Clooney
Kentucky native, international movie star, and son of former WKYT anchor Nick Clooney, actor George Clooney remained in the world spotlight. It will be George Clooney vs George Clooney at the 2012 Golden Globe awards. Two of his 2011 films are up against each other in four categories. Clooney is also up for best director for "The Ides of March."

9. (tie) Coach Joker Phillips and Ashley Judd
Tying for the number nine spot are actress Ashley Judd and UK football Coach Joker Phillips. Judd was recognized for her outspoken Big Blue spirit while Coach Phillips for what looked to be a disappointing season but ended with Kentucky breaking a 26-year losing streak to Tennessee.


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