Men's Basketball

Mark Story: On his 29th birthday, Andre Woodson gets a life-changing gift

Former Kentucky quarterback and assistant Andre Woodson chatted with Morgan Newton. Woodson is now the wide receivers coach at Morehead State.
Former Kentucky quarterback and assistant Andre Woodson chatted with Morgan Newton. Woodson is now the wide receivers coach at Morehead State.

On his 29th birthday, Andre Woodson received a gift of life-changing proportions. The ex-Kentucky quarterback's wife, Erica, gave birth to the couple's first child, a little boy they named Andre Chandler Woodson III.

Woodson, now the wide receivers coach at Morehead State, said he was in the delivery room Thursday at Norton's Suburban Hospital in Louisville when his son was born.

"I joked that I would be teaching (the baby) how to receive (quarterback) snaps as he came out of the womb," Woodson said.

Asked if he could provide recruiting geeks an early evaluation of the football potential of his days-old son, Woodson laughed. "He is very muscular," Woodson said. "He's got a real good head of hair, and they say his lungs are strong."

Woodson, whose nickname is 'Dre, said his wife is calling the baby 'Tre — short for the trey in Andre Woodson III.

On his personal thrill meter, the ex-UK QB says neither his last-minute, game-winning pass to Steve Johnson to beat No. 9 Louisville in 2007 nor his TD toss to Johnson in the third overtime of UK's upset of No. 1 LSU compare to what happened Thursday.

"This is number one," he said of becoming a father. "What a thrill it is to get to share my birthday with my new son."

Film on UK fans delayed

Last September, I told you about the four Kentuckians, including local film director Jason Epperson and TV personality Lee Cruse, working on a documentary about the University of Kentucky basketball fans phenomenon. At that time, the hope was that the premier of Sixth Man — A Krazy Love Story would coincide with March Madness, 2013.

That didn't happen.

"A couple of things happened," said Cruse, the WLEX-TV personality. "There were a couple of elements we still wanted to add to the film and it was a case of, 'Why rush to finish this. Let's do it right.'"

Cruse said the lackluster 2012-13 Kentucky Wildcats season, which ended with the shocking NIT loss to Robert Morris, also played a role in the decision to delay release of the film. "We just didn't feel like it was the right environment to release our film into," he said.

That decision meant that Cruse and partners, who also include brothers Tim and Steve Bates, had to watch as Turner Sports unveiled its own UK basketball documentary. Bluegrass Kingdom: The Gospel of Kentucky Basketball was narrated by hip-hop star Drake and debuted on truTV the night of Selection Sunday.

"I'm not going to lie, among the four of us, we second-guessed ourselves," Cruse said of watching another Kentucky basketball documentary get to market first. "But our film is more a psychological study of the UK fan base made by Kentuckians who understand it. Theirs was more a chronological history of the Kentucky program which came from an outside perspective."

The new plan for Sixth Man — A Krazy Love Story is for it to premier around the time of Big Blue Madness this coming October, Cruse said.

Happy vs. Georgetown?

When former longtime Georgetown College men's basketball coach Happy Osborne was named the new head man at Kentucky Wesleyan last week, it created the possibility for a fascinating new rivalry.

In 2012, Georgetown, long an NAIA power, was turned down for admission to NCAA Division II. Tigers Athletics Director Brian Evans said recently the school's goal is to re-apply to the NCAA for acceptance to Division II. If Georgetown is successful in that effort, Evans said the plan is to play in the new Great Midwest Athletic Conference — one of whose founding members is Kentucky Wesleyan.

That would mean Osborne coaching against the school where he spent 31 years as either a head coach or an assistant before leaving in 2011. It would mean Georgetown going against a coach who went 456-81 as Tigers head man and won the 1998 NAIA Division I national title for the school.

It would also pit current Georgetown coach Chris Briggs, who last month led the Tigers to their second NAIA national hoops title, against his former boss, Osborne.

For both coaches, Georgetown and Kentucky Wesleyan in the same conference would create a complicated personal dynamic.

Said Osborne: "Number one, Georgetown will always be my school. And I love Chris. But, if this happens, we'll compete like heck for 40 minutes on game nights and then after that we'll go back to being friends."

Said Briggs: "If it happens, it will be quite odd going against him, no question about that. But in this profession, people compete against friends, go up against guys they used to coach with, all the time. It's just part of it. I'll always love Happy, be grateful to him for everything he's done for me."

The wild card that might save Osborne and Briggs from a scenario neither relishes is that Georgetown is changing presidents. Longtime GC president William Crouch is retiring in June. Presumably the new Georgetown leader will have final say on whether or not the school goes ahead with plans to try to join NCAA Division II.

State now has 19 NCAA titles

Louisville's 2013 NCAA men's basketball championship makes it the third straight year that a team from our state has won a national title at the highest level of college sports.

In 2011, the University of Kentucky won the NCAA rifle championship, and John Calipari's men's basketball team claimed the 2012 NCAA crown for the Wildcats.

Overall, schools from our state have now won a combined 19 NCAA Division I team national championships. To put that in perspective, UCLA all by itself has won 108.

Below, in descending order of national titles won, is the history of NCAA Division I team championships by Kentucky schools:

Kentucky (10 NCAA championships). UK has eight men's hoops crowns (1948, '49, '51, '58, '78, '96, '98, 2012) and one each in women's cross country (1988) and rifle (2011). (I'm not counting the 1950 mythical national title UK claims in football based on the Sagarin Ratings for that season).

Louisville (3 NCAA championships). Rick Pitino's men's hoops title this season joins the NCAA basketball crowns claimed by Denny Crum's teams in 1980 and '86. U of L has had recent near misses in women's basketball (national runners-up in 2009 and 2013), and men's soccer (second in 2010).

Murray State (3 NCAA championships). The Racers team national titles were all claimed by its rifle program in 1978, '85 and '87.

Eastern Kentucky (2 NCAA championships). Roy Kidd's football teams brought EKU its sole national titles by claiming what was then called the Division I-AA national crowns in 1979 and '82.

Western Kentucky (1 NCAA championship). Jack Harbaugh's football team won the 2002 NCAA Division 1-AA national title. WKU came close with national runner-up finishes in men's cross country (1974) and women's basketball (1992).

Morehead State (0 NCAA championships). The Eagles have never won an NCAA team title (bowling, a club sport at MSU, has four women's national titles but they were not in NCAA-sanctioned competition).

Northern Kentucky (0 NCAA Division I championships). NKU is in the first year of its transition process while moving from NCAA Division II to Division I. In their Division II days, the Norse claimed three team national titles, two in women's basketball (2000 and '02) and one in men's soccer (2010).

Mark Story