UK Men's Basketball

Calipari says ‘curious minds’ helped UK athletes earn academic awards

John Calipari’s men’s basketball team won the APR award for a third consecutive year.
John Calipari’s men’s basketball team won the APR award for a third consecutive year. AP

The University of Kentucky matched a school record Wednesday that it set last year when four of its athletic teams received awards for their Academic Progress Rate scores.

Every team that placed in the top 10 percent of Division I schools in their respective sports were honored, according to the NCAA. For Kentucky, those teams were men’s basketball, men’s golf, softball and volleyball. Their scores will be announced at a later date.

“We have graduated 17 players over the last eight years,” men’s basketball head coach John Calipari said in a UK news release. “Our kids who leave early leave in good academic standing so they can come back anytime they choose to finish their degree. They have lifetime scholarships here at Kentucky. We already have players who have left early who have begun that process. I said this a year ago: Whether it’s getting off a plane at 2 in the morning and going to class the next day or sitting in a classroom and doing projects with the student body, it’s well known that our kids are committed to learning. They have curious minds and are on the paths to being lifelong learners. Winning the APR award for a third straight year is based on all of those things. Congratulations to (academic counselor) Mike Stone and the entire CATS staff for instilling that mindset in our kids.”

While men’s basketball met the award standard for a third year in a row, the men’s golf team extended its streak to a school-record six years. UK softball and volleyball were first-time winners.

“I am fortunate to coach a superb group of young men who make academic excellence a priority,” golf coach Brian Craig said. “Our season basically does not stop all year and these guys continue to get it done in the classroom. A huge and sincere thank you to Amy Craiglow, our academic adviser and coach. I am always amazed at Amy’s commitment to the academic success of our student-athletes. She is truly exceptional.”

The APR provides a real-time look at a team’s academic success by the progress of each student-athlete on scholarship. The APR measures academic eligibility, retention and graduation. The scores are a four-year composite, covering the 2012-13 through the 2015-16 school years.

“I’m proud of how all our teams have achieved their APR scores over the years,” said UK Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart. “Earning a top-10 award is a difficult and significant achievement. It is a credit to the students for their diligence, to the academic support staff for their guidance, and to Coach Calipari, Coach Craig, Coach (Rachel) Lawson and Coach (Craig) Skinner for their success in managing their programs.”