A former head coach and a player who were major contributors to the University of Kentucky football team’s most recent run of sustained success will be honored this weekend.
Rich Brooks and Wesley Woodyard head a class of six to be inducted into the UK Athletics Hall of Fame on Friday night. The group, which also includes Chuck Hayes (men’s basketball), James Johnson (wrestling), Molly Johnson-Belcher (softball) and Bernadette Madigan-Dugan (cross country/track and field) will also be honored during Saturday’s home football game against South Carolina.
Brooks, who coached at UK from 2003-09, is the only football coach in school history to guide UK to bowl games in four consecutive years and win three straight bowls. Woodyard, a linebacker at UK from 2004-07, was named to the All-Southeastern Conference First Team as a junior and senior and led the Wildcats in tackles three straight seasons. He helped lead the Cats to back-to-back appearances in the Music City Bowl before going on to play in the NFL with Denver and Tennessee.
Hayes (2002-05) was known for relentless defense and tenacious rebounding. He was named 2005 Southeastern Conference Defensive Player of the Year.
Johnson (1977-80) finished with a career record of 65-21, winning the Southern Open twice. He was a three-time SEC medalist.
Molly Johnson-Belcher (2007-10) was UK’s first softball All-American, its first four-time All-SEC honoree and led the Wildcats to their first NCAA Tournament berth.
Madigan-Dugan (1981-85) became the first UK female to win a national track championship when she won the NCAA 2-mile run in 1982.
The UK Athletics Hall of Fame was started in 2005. The charter class included 88 individuals who had previously had their jersey retired by UK. There is a five-year waiting period after leaving UK to be eligible for inclusion into the Hall of Fame. A committee consisting of Hall of Famers, media members, campus representatives and current coaches and administrators elects new inductees each year.