The implosion of the University of Louisville men's basketball program with the subsequent ousters of Rick Pitino and Tom Jurich was the dominant story of the 2017-18 college sports year in Kentucky.
Yet college athletics in the commonwealth in 2017-18 supplied its share of uplift, too.
Louisville women's basketball made its third all-time Final Four trip.
Now, with both the good and bad of the last school year in the rear-view mirror, it is time to turn the page and identify the key stories to watch in 2018-19 at Kentucky's NCAA Division I schools.
Reason to be stoked: The addition of standout Stanford graduate transfer Reid Travis will inject John Calipari's ever-youthful Wildcats men's basketball roster with the maturity and experience that was sorely lacking a season ago.
The big question(s): 1.) Can a veteran UK football roster with 16 returning starters overcome a more difficult schedule in 2018 to produce Kentucky's third straight bowl trip? 2.) If that doesn't happen, is Mark Stoops feeling some heat?
Reason to be stoked: After the misery of recent years for U of L men's basketball fans, new Cardinals Coach Chris Mack is in the coaching sweet spot: He has enough talent on his first Louisville roster to be competitive but expectations are so lowered by the recent program adversity that any success will carry a Cinderella feel.
The big question: After Bobby Petrino 1.0 at Louisville (2003-06) yielded 41 football wins for the Cardinals including an 11-1 season and a 12-1 year, Bobby Petrino 2.0 (2014 through the present) has produced "only" 34 wins and no double-digit-victory seasons. If U of L does not make a major step upward this fall, does some coaching heat build beneath Bobby P., too?
Reason to be stoked: After leading WKU (27-11) to the NIT semifinals, Hilltoppers men's hoops coach Rick Stansbury has continued to make hay as a recruiter. For next season, Stansbury has added lavishly-hyped Nigerian big man Charles Bassey and Auburn graduate transfer forward Desean Murray to a talented returning nucleus that starts with Lexington product Taveion Hollingsworth.
The big question: After a difficult first year (6-7) as WKU football coach, can Mike Sanford Jr. return the good feelings to Hilltoppers football in spite of the graduation of star quarterback Mike White and facing a brutal 2018 schedule that includes only five home dates and road games at Wisconsin and Louisville?
Reason to be stoked: After EKU men's hoops went 38-55 the past three seasons, the Colonels have turned to former Scott County High School standout A.W. Hamilton as head coach to right the ship.
The big question: After Mark Elder went 3-8 and 4-7 in his first two seasons as Eastern football coach, can the former Butch Jones assistant turn the tide in year three?
Reason to be stoked: The Eagles have never played in a women's NCAA basketball tournament. After back-to-back 20-win seasons, Coach Greg Todd has three senior starters who scored in double figures last season back for one more shot at making program history.
The big question: After Preston Spradlin went 8-21 in what everyone knew would be a rebuilding project in his first full season as MSU men's hoops coach, how far back up the OVC ladder will the Eagles climb this winter?
Reason to be stoked: The NKU women's hoops program has gone 9-22 in each of head coach Camryn Whitaker's first two seasons, but it is adding a highly-touted recruiting haul of in-state stars in Taylor Clos (Campbell County), Ally Niece (Simon Kenton) and Emmy Souder (Mercer County).
The big question: Even with Kentucky's 2018 Mr. Basketball, Trevon Faulkner, joining an NKU roster that returns senior star Drew McDonald (17 points, 9.6 rebounds), can Norse Coach John Brannen withstand the transfer of 2016 Mr. Basketball Carson Williams (to WKU) and and lead Northern to its third straight 20-win season?
Reason to be stoked: After helping Murray High School to three 1st Region titles and two All "A" Classic championships, Macey Turley, Alexis Burpo and Lex Mayes are joining their old high school coach, current MSU women's head coach Rechelle Turner, to try to turn around the Racers' program.
Mark Story: 859-231-3230; Twitter: @markcstory