John Clay

Kentucky baseball reportedly undergoing some staff changes

Zack Thompson reflects on ‘awesome moment’ of UK curtain call

UK ace Zack Thompson threw his final pitch as a Kentucky Wildcat on Saturday in a 7-4 loss to Vanderbilt that eliminated the Cats from SEC Tournament consideration.
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UK ace Zack Thompson threw his final pitch as a Kentucky Wildcat on Saturday in a 7-4 loss to Vanderbilt that eliminated the Cats from SEC Tournament consideration.

Random notes:

After a disappointing 26-29 season, including 7-23 in the SEC, Kentucky baseball is in the midst of a staff shakeup for next season.

The Cats Pause reports that recruiting coordinator Roland Fanning will not be on Nick Mingione’s staff in 2020. Former Mississippi State assistant Will Coggin is expected to replace Fanning. Meanwhile, UK pitching coach Jimmy Belanger is departing to join new Florida State coach Mike Martin Jr. in Tallahassee.

According to Chris Harry of floridagators.com, UK target Kerry Blackshear broke the news of his commitment to Florida this way to Gators head coach Mike White. Blackshear told White over the phone, “Coach, I’ve got some bad news for you” before saying, “Sorry, but . . . I’m going to . . . the University of Florida.”

Phil Steele’s 2019 College Football Yearbook is out, meaning the season is getting closer. Among NFL Draft-eligible players, Steele lists UK’s Logan Stenberg as the 12th-best offensive lineman and Lynn Bowden as the 14th-best wide receiver and the No. 1 punt returner. He lists Max Duffy No. 7 among punters.

The fact that the Washington Wizards have applied for a disabled player exception from the NBA could mean that former UK star John Wall will miss the entire 2019-20 season, according to Candace Buckner of the Washington Post.

“When teams apply for the exception, which provides financial flexibility to sign a free agent, claim a player off waivers or trade for one, the purpose is to replace the player on the roster who is likely to be sidelined for the season. If a league-appointed doctor deems it possible that Wall will miss the full year, Washington will be able to spend about $9 million on this season’s roster at its discretion.”

Triple Crown winner American Pharoah has his first stakes-winner as a stallion. The 2-year-old colt Maven won the Grade 3 Chantilly’s Prix du Bois, a 5-furlong turf sprint last Saturday in Ireland. Out of Richie’s Party Girl and bred by trainer Wesley Ward, Maven won his racing debut April 19 at Aqueduct before being shipped to Ireland.

The NCAA hit former UConn basketball coach Kevin Ollie with a three-year show cause penalty this week while putting the Huskies on probation for two years. Ollie coached UConn to a 60-54 win over John Calipari and Kentucky in the 2014 NCAA Tournament title game.

Proof not everyone is bothered by Megan Rapinoe: Nike reports that the U.S. Women’s National Team stadium home jersey is now the No. 1-selling soccer jersey, men’s or women’s, on its website in one season.

Remember former Florida guard Brett Nelson, who played under Billy Donovan with the Gators? He’s the new head coach at Holy Cross.

From the you’re never-too-old department: LSU has hired 83-year-old former Southern Cal coach John Robinson as a “senior consultant.”

Good tweet from ESPN’s Myron Medcalf: “All college basketball players should be required to watch every summer league game so they can see how many talented guys are fighting for a potential spot in the NBA.”

Ohio’s 30th (and perhaps final) Annual UK Convention will be held Saturday, July 20 at the Eastview Baptist Church in Franklin, Ohio. Founder and director Jim Porter is retiring from the event. The 80-year-old Porter says he is stepping down for health reasons. Among this year’s speakers are former UK basketball star Reggie Hanson, the UK radio broadcast team of Tom Leach and Mike Pratt and former UK women’s star Maci Morris. Registration is $25 and begins at 8:30 a.m.

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John Clay is a sports columnist for the Lexington Herald-Leader. A native of Central Kentucky, he covered UK football from 1987 until being named sports columnist in 2000. He has covered 20 Final Fours and 37 consecutive Kentucky Derbys.
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