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Kentucky Athletic Hall of Fame announces eight-member class of 2017

Mike Battaglia has set the morning lines for Churchill Downs, Keeneland and Turfway Park.
Mike Battaglia has set the morning lines for Churchill Downs, Keeneland and Turfway Park. Herald-Leader

The Kentucky Athletic Hall of Fame announced a 2017 class Monday that includes eight individuals from a variety of backgrounds, from Thoroughbred racing to college football to media members and more.

The 2017 class is Mike Battaglia, Howard Beth, Rodger Bird, Rob Bromley, Swag Hartel, Kenny Klein, Dennis Lampley and Marion Miley.

The Kentucky Athletic Hall of Fame, working with Kosair Charities, recognizes athletes and sports figures who were born in, or played their respective sport, in Kentucky. Each inductee is recognized with a bronze plaque.

Past inductees into the Hall of Fame include Muhammad Ali, Pee Wee Reese, Adolph Rupp, Paul Hornung, Pat Day, Denny Crum, Joe B. Hall, Secretariat, Mary T. Meagher, Johnny Unitas and others.

The inductions will take place June 1 at 6 p.m. at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Louisville. Tickets are $100 per person, or $800 for a table of eight. For information go to Kosair.org. Tickets will go on sale in April.

Here is a closer look at the class of 2017:

Mike Battaglia: One of the faces of Thoroughbred racing in the commonwealth since he began calling races in 1972. Battaglia called races at Turfway Park, Keeneland and Churchill Downs where he called 19 Kentucky Derbys. He also worked for NBC on Triple Crown and Breeders’ Cup coverage from 1993 until 2014. He’s been the morning-line maker for Churchill Downs, Turfway Park and Keeneland.

Howard Beth: One of only two high school girls’ basketball coaches in state history to surpass the 700-win mark. The longtime Marshall County High School coach won two Kentucky state titles, made 19 trips to the Sweet Sixteen and when he retired in 2010 was the all-time winningest girls’ coach in state history with a mark of 794-149.

Rodger Bird: One of the state’s greatest football players of all time, Bird was a high school All-American at Corbin and then went on to play at the University of Kentucky. With the Wildcats, Bird was a first-team All-American as a running back and was drafted by the Oakland Raiders. He was switched to defensive back and was named AFL Defensive Rookie of the Year in 1966.

Rob Bromley: The longtime WKYT sports anchor is a familiar face for many wanting coverage of the Kentucky Wildcats in Central Kentucky. He’s been at WKYT for more than 40 years, among the longest standing television anchors in Kentucky. His career at WKYT included a run of 30 years on the UK Television Network doing play-by-play, color commentary and sideline reporting.

Swag Hartel: The former Western Kentucky University star runner owns Swags Sports Shoes in Louisville. A former winner of the Kentucky Derby Festival MiniMarathon, Hartel opened his first store in 1985 and now has two locations in the Louisville area.

Kenny Klein:The longtime senior associate athletic director and sports information director at the University of Louisville has been with the U of L staff since 1983. The Murray State graduate is a member of the College Sports Information Directors of America Hall of Fame.

Dennis Lampley: A legend in Kentucky high school football coaching, Lampley arrived at Trinity High School in 1971 as an assistant coach. He served as the defensive coordinator on three state championship teams before taking over as head coach. He compiled a record of 138-21, winning five state titles in 10 years in that role. Lampley’s teams won 50 straight games from 1988-91 — which is still the state record.

Marion Miley: She was the best female golfer in America from 1936 to 1941, winning numerous amateur championships in the years before the formation of the LPGA Tour. At the age of 27 in 1941, she was murdered in an apartment at Lexington Country Club during a robbery attempt.

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