Mark Story: Martin's departure hurts on two fronts

Herald-Leader Sports ColumnistFebruary 16, 2012 

Tee Martin, Passing Game Coordinator and Wide Receivers coach, talked to players on the first day of the University of Kentucky spring football practice held at the Nutter Training Center on the UK campus in Lexington, Ky., Wednesday, March 23, 2011. Charles Bertram | Staff


Fast-break points from the Sportsman ticker-tape parade:

21. Tee Martin. As a national championship-winning quarterback in his playing days at Tennessee, the now former Kentucky wide receivers coach gave UK football a certain cachet.

20. Tee Martin's exit. It's a good thing to have coaches that a school with the football pedigree of USC hires. So Kentucky's loss of its wide receivers coach to the Men of Kiffin is a positive — that is, if UK can lure a replacement of similar potential.

19. Tee Martin's recruiting impact. According to the recruiting data base, Martin was the lead recruiter on seven players who signed with Kentucky in 2011. However, he was the lead recruiter on only three players who signed with the Cats in 2012.

18. Joker Phillips' quandary I. On the one hand, Martin's replacement needs to be a young coach. Tee was the only coach under 40 on the entire Kentucky football staff. You need a young gun (or two) on a coaching staff both to relate to recruits/players and to supply some "up-and-comer" hunger.

17. Joker Phillips' quandary II. On the other hand, the wide receivers were the weakest position on Kentucky's 2011 team. So there is also a need for an experienced receivers coach who can "coach up" a position that requires dramatic improvement in 2012.

16. Lane Kiffin. I wouldn't want to work for him.

15. Jared Lorenzen talks Patrick Towles. "He is smart, intelligent. When you tell him to do something or tell him he did something wrong, you only have to tell him once," the last Fort Thomas Highlands quarterback to play for UK says of the next one who will do so.

14. Valerie Still. Is considered the best women's basketball player ever to play at Kentucky.

13. Victoria Dunlap. Is considered the second best women's basketball player ever to play at Kentucky.

12. Brian Agler. The head coach of the WNBA's Seattle Storm acquired Dunlap in a trade this week with the Washington Mystics. In the late 1990s, he was head coach of the Columbus Quest when Still played for that team in the now-defunct American Basketball League.

11. UK Hoops trivia answer. Assuming Dunlap plays for the Storm this coming WNBA season, Brian Agler will be the answer to the trivia question: Name the person who coached the two best women's basketball players ever to play at Kentucky — even though they played at UK some 30 years apart.

10. Sean Woods. Mississippi Valley State has won twice more since I wrote about their head coach, the former UK point guard, last week. That means that, after their 1-11 start, Woods and the Delta Devils have now won 13 games in a row.

9. Anthony Davis. My favorite thing about UK's fabulous frosh isn't his prodigious shot blocking nor his dynamic alley-oop dunking. It is this: In a trash-talking age, Davis never says a word. He just plays.

8. More Anthony Davis. Whoever photo-shopped in Davis blocking Christian Laettner's shot on the play that beat Kentucky at the buzzer in the 1992 NCAA Tournament is a genius.

7. Murray State. I'm not an RPI geek, but I think Murray State should clinch an NCAA Tournament bid no matter what happens in the OVC tourney if the No. 16 Racers beat No. 21 St. Mary's Saturday.

6. Morehead State basketball history. After the Eagles lost to graduation the nucleus of the team that went to back-to-back NCAA Tournaments in 1983 and '84, MSU went 7-20 and 8-19 in the next two seasons.

5. Donnie Tyndall. In the first season since Morehead lost the heart of teams that went to the NCAA tourney in 2009 and '11, the MSU coach has the Eagles at 15-13.

4. The 2011 Lexington Herald-Leader Kentucky Sportsman of the Year. The 93 members of the commonwealth's sports media who voted for this year's award are the most to cast ballots for the honor since 1998.

3. Pikeville's Sportsman preview. Last Oct. 8, a traveling all-star team of locked-out pros and former college stars played an exhibition game against the University of Pikeville Bears. Kenneth Faried, Josh Harrellson and Shelvin Mack all played for the pros; Kelly Wells coached UPike. Meaning that four of the 10 finalists for the 2011 Sportsman of the Year were in Pike County that night.

2. Kenneth Faried. With the ex-Morehead State star becoming the 31st Kentucky Sportsman of the Year, basketball has now tied football at 11 each as the sport that has produced the most winners. Baseball and golf have two wins each, and swimming, gymnastics, track and field, sports announcing and university administration have all produced one victor.

1. The winner tweets. Thursday morning, @KennethFaried35 wrote:

So I heard I won #KentuckySportsmanOfTheYear.. WOW that is amazing I'm happy to have won it & have #MoreHead a house hold name again

Mark Story: (859) 231-3230. Email: Twitter: @markcstory. Blog:

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