UK women's notes: Assistant AD Figgs steps down

jsmith3@herald-leader.comNovember 1, 2013 

  • Sunday

    Exhibition: Eckerd at Kentucky

    When: 1 p.m.

    Where: Memorial Coliseum

Kentucky's Ukari Figgs, an assistant athletics director for women's basketball, is leaving the program to accept a private sector job.

In a news release, the school said the Miss Basketball from Scott County is taking a position as an assembly engineering specialist at Toyota in Georgetown.

Figgs was in her third year in the UK position and was responsible for scheduling, team travel, supervising all non-coaching personnel, management of the budget, and facility coordination among other duties.

"Stepping away from this position at UK was a very difficult decision," Figgs said in the release, citing the opportunity she was given by Coach Matthew Mitchell and Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart.

"I love working at the University of Kentucky, the college I grew up cheering for, and I was so happy to be given the chance to return to college athletics," Figgs continued. "However, circumstances surrounding my family in the past few months have put things in perspective for me as far as my priorities and where my time and energy need to be devoted."

Figgs graduated from Purdue with a degree in mechanical engineering in 1999 and spent more than five years as a production engineer at Toyota before she entered the coaching ranks in 2009.

Figgs was making $105,000 a year in her position with women's basketball.

UK spokesman Susan Lax said Figgs' duties will be spread throughout the women's basketball staff until a replacement is hired.

UK pre-season No. 7

Kentucky started last pre-season ranked No. 6 in the nation, the school's highest rating ever, and it will start in a similar position this season, coming in at No. 7 in The Associated Press poll released Friday. UK is ranked No. 8 in the pre-season coaches' poll.

The AP poll has Kentucky, which ended last season at No. 7 as well, facing eight teams ranked in the pre-season Top 25 including, No. 2 Duke, No. 4 Tennessee, No. 5 Louisville, No. 10 Baylor, No. 15 LSU, No. 16 Texas A&M, No. 22 South Carolina and No. 24 Georgia.

Other UK opponents Middle Tennessee State, Vanderbilt and DePaul also received votes in the poll.

On the 30-plus media ballots, Kentucky's highest rating was No. 3 and its lowest rating was No. 10 (on two ballots).

Goodin-Rogers trying to stay positive

Freshman forward Kyvin Goodin-Rogers, who will miss this season after a pulmonary embolism was discovered this week, is being treated with blood thinners for at least the next six months, a UK spokesman said.

The former Marion County standout will receive "ongoing evaluation throughout her treatment," UK officials said when asked about her future.

Goodin-Rogers is on the sideline for practices and Mitchell said he expects "a range of emotions here early on.

"She's trying to have a really positive attitude through this very difficult situation," he said Thursday. "You can imagine coming to play at Kentucky has been something she's been looking forward to doing for so long, and to work so hard during the summer and work harder than you've ever worked before, then you get right here to the beginning of the season and it's taken away from you. It's a very difficult set of circumstances for her."

Starters set?

After Friday morning's practice, Mitchell said his probable starting lineup for Sunday's exhibition game will look a lot like the Cats' starting lineup at the end of last season, including forwards DeNesha Stallworth and Samarie Walker, with fellow senior Kastine Evans and Bria Goss and Jennifer O'Neill at the guard spots.

Mitchell said in his mind the point guard spot is a dead heat between O'Neill, who started 32 games last season, and sophomore Janee Thompson.

"There's not much difference between O'Neill and Thompson right now and that's a good thing for us," Mitchell said Friday. "They are both playing good basketball. And Janee Thompson, I think people are going to be really excited to see the progression from her freshman to sophomore year."

If that starting lineup stands, it would mean UK has three McDonald's All-Americans coming off the bench.


Sunday

Exhibition: Eckerd at Kentucky

When: 1 p.m.

Where: Memorial Coliseum

Jennifer Smith: (859) 231-3241.Twitter: @jenheraldleader. Blog: ukwomen.bloginky.com.

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