While waiting for the Kentucky skies to clear, and for the baseball and softball fields to dry out, we'll duck back into the gym for a few basketball notes.
■ Barney Thweatt celebrated his 85th birthday last week, and he hoped the icing on the cake would be an NCAA title and 40-0 record for Kentucky.
Alas, Wisconsin spoiled the party. Not that Thweatt was surprised. "I predicted UK wouldn't do it." he said. "I'm sorry they didn't, but I thought all year they had too many dry spells where they couldn't score. They had some close games where that happened, and I thought some night it was going to bite them. It finally did against Wisconsin."
Thweatt played for the last undefeated boys' Sweet Sixteen champions in Kentucky — the Brewers Redmen, who went 36-0 in 1948.
Brewers was state runner-up in 1947, then came back to win it all in '48.
UK was national runner-up in 2014, but its pursuit of perfection in '15 ended in the semifinals. "I think Kentucky beat themselves more than Wisconsin beat them," Thweatt said. "They made some bad decisions, and they just couldn't score.
"But it's so hard to go undefeated on any level. I still don't know how we did it."
McCoy "Red" Tarry, who coached Brewers to its unbeaten title, died in 1975. His widow, Martha Tarry Simpson, is 101 and living in Florida. Thweatt called her a few weeks ago to let her know that for the 67th year in a row, Brewers was still the last undefeated champ. "She was glad to hear that," Thweatt said.
■ The Kentucky all-stars boys' and girls' basketball teams are expected to be announced within the next week. To save money, the selection process this year did not include tryouts. Instead, the all-star coaches — Elizabethtown's James Haire (boys) and Calloway County's Scott Sivills (girls) — met with other coaches from across the state and came up with their choices. (As Mr. and Miss Basketball, Camron Justice of Knott Central and Maci Morris of Bell County have guaranteed spots on the roster). Brian Miller, head of the Bluegrass Sports Commission which is running the all-star game for the Kentucky Lions Eye Foundation, said letters were sent to the selected players, and they have until Friday (April 10) to accept. Kentucky will play Indiana in Transylvania's Beck Center on June 12, and in Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis on June 13.
■ The 24th annual Kentucky-Ohio all-star basketball games are Saturday at Thomas More College in Northern Kentucky. The girls play at 5:30 p.m., the boys at 7:30. The Kentucky boys will be coached by Boyle County's Steve Adams. Two of his Rebels, Jeremiah Bell and Hagen Tyler, are on the team. The roster also includes Camron Justice and Evan Hall of Knott Central, JaQualis Matlock of Hopkinsville, David Simmons of Henderson County, Drew McDonald of Newport Central Catholic and Dwayne Sutton of Manual. The Kentucky girls, coached by Boyd County's Pete Fraley, include UK signees Maci Morris of Bell County and Morgan Rich of Allen County-Scottsville, Alexis Brewer of Bardstown, Chelsey Ford of Woodford County, Ajaycia Cotton of Clay County, Asia Sims of Bourbon County, Kristen Hayes of Madison Southern, Katie Moore of Leslie County, Cameron McPherson of Danville, Alexis Robinson of Ashland Blazer and Logan Fraley of Boyd County.
■ Mason County athletics took a double hit in the last week. Football coach David Buchanan, who built the Royals into consistent winners over the last 19 years, announced he was leaving for Mercer County. A few days later, basketball coach Chris O'Hearn, who led Mason County to the 2008 state championship, announced he was stepping down to become the school's principal. O'Hearn, who was a standout player for the Royals in the 1980s and won 260 games in 11 years as coach, said "basketball has been a big part of my life. I'll miss it because I love it." O'Hearn has been an assistant principal the last 12 years, so he's not new to administration.
Buchanan, meanwhile, is going home. He was a standout quarterback at Mercer County in the early 1980s, and was an assistant there early in his coaching career. "I think Mercer County can win state championships," he said. "That's the selfish side of it. But the bigger thing is, that community was really good to me growing up, and now I get a chance to give back." Buchanan turned Mason County's program around, leading the Royals to 150 victories and six district titles. They made it to the state quarterfinals five times and the semifinals twice. "There's nothing wrong here," he said. "But you get to the point where you don't want to be the one holding things back. I think a new voice, a new face, will help Mason County be even better. And I think with a fresh start, I can be a lot more effective at Mercer County."
■ Mark Fudge is retiring as boys' basketball coach at Adair County. He had a 12-year record of 214-148, including 5th Region titles in 2007 and '09.
■ Covington Catholic baseball coach Bill Krumpelbeck got his 900th career victory last week. In his 39th season with the Colonels, Krumpelbeck is fifth on the state's all-time win list. Pleasure Ridge Park's Bill Miller (1,044) is tops, followed by Harrison County's Mac Whitaker (1,021), Green County's Larry Gumm (1,006) and Madison Central's Don Richardson (952). Apollo's Bob Mantooth (894) is closing in on 900.
■ Wayne County senior center fielder and left-handed hitter Tanner Bell, a Kentucky Wesleyan signee, is batting .688 with 12 runs, 11 RBI and two homers in five games. The Cardinals, like a lot of teams, have had their schedule hijacked by bad weather.
■ Harrison County baseball coach Mac Whitaker had a rooting interest in Dayton during the women's NCAA basketball tournament. Dayton beat UK and Louisville before it lost to eventual national champ Connecticut in the Elite Eight. Whitaker's daughter Camryn is an assistant coach at Dayton. In her playing days, Camryn was an all-stater at Harrison County (Mac was her coach) and a standout point guard at Western Kentucky. In her three seasons at Dayton, the Flyers have a 78-18 record.
■ Zyler Cosby (Tates Creek) is having a big senior season of baseball at the University of Northwestern Ohio. Cosby, a second baseman, leads the Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference in batting average (.470) and runs (47). He has a .338 career average, and more than 100 hits and 100 runs. Northwestern Ohio is an NAIA school in Lima, Ohio.
■ The spoils of victory keep coming for Pulaski County's state championship football team. According to the Somerset Commonwealth Journal, a few years ago businessman Ward Correll pledged $50,000 to the first football team in the county to win a state title. Coach Johnny Hines' Maroons beat Graves County in the Class 5A finals last December. Correll recently presented the Pulaski County football team with a $50,000 check. The money will go to upgrading the Maroons' weight room.
■ Skyler Griffith, who quarterbacked Williamsburg to a Class A state runner-up finish last season, signed to play at the University of the Cumberlands. Griffith starred at wide receiver for three seasons before moving to quarterback. He generated 3,438 yards and 59 touchdowns passing and rushing last fall and was a member of the Herald-Leader's Class of the Commonwealth. Griffith was also a basketball standout and helped Williamsburg reach the Sweet Sixteen for the first time in 69 years.
■ Nominations are being taken for the inaugural Jessamine County Athletic Achievement Award, an honor that will recognize, preserve and promote the heritage of interscholastic athletics in Jessamine County. For more information about the award, go to www.jessamine.kyschools.us and click on "athletics."
■ J.B. Holmes (Taylor County, UK) won the Houston Open last weekend for his fourth victory on the PGA Tour. Other Kentucky high school grads and their victory totals on the PGA Tour: Kenny Perry (Lone Oak, WKU) 14; Bobby Nichols (St. Xavier, Texas A&M) 12; Frank Beard (St. Xavier, Florida) 11; Gay Brewer (Lafayette, UK) 10; Steve Flesch (Covington Catholic, UK) four; Jodie Mudd (Butler, Georgia Southern) four; Ted Schulz (Ballard, Louisville), two; and Russ Cochran (Paducah St. Mary, UK), one.
■ Brad Bachand, girls' golf coach at Lexington Catholic last season, has been named the Knights' boys' coach, too.