THE THREAD [06.16.08] :: Moving On Up

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The ballad of Eric Hyman. Person does a great interview with Eric Hyman about the basketball coaches, facilities and Hyman's immune system. Okay, so the last part we could have done without.

Some of the highlights:

On Dawn Staley:

I’ve had women, men, people in the African-American community, I’ve had a wide cross-section of people that are so excited. She is an African-American woman, but she’s also the assistant Olympics coach. She also had a lead editorial in the Philadelphia Inquirer the day that we hired her (detailing) what an impact she’s had on the community. So yes, it makes a statement, but there are so many other things that make a statement because of the kind of person she is.

On expanding the WB:

Whatever we’re going to do, I want to do it right. I don’t want to piecemeal things. If I’m going to do it, I want to do it correctly as opposed to Band-Aiding stuff. I want to have a plan in place. It may be the next athletic director, but they’re going to have a plan with all that we’re doing so that when a new athletic director comes in here, they’ve got stages and phases.

And on other facilities stuff:

Coming down the pipeline pretty soon, we’re looking at a student performance area, training room, weight room, sports medicine room, locker room on one side of what we call that little village (near the Roost). On the other side, we’re looking at coaches’ support building, coaches’ offices, administration.

Again, though, C&F encourages you to read the whole interview. It's worth it.

Jason Richardson takes the gold. In the 110m hurdles. What does the South Carolina track team not do? It helps those endangered by floodwaters, wins medals and ... well, runs. A lot. The women's 4x400m relay got in on the action, too, winning a bronze.

Richardson's take on his win:

It didn’t hit me, and as I write this it still hasn’t hit me. To see my seasonal goals come to fruition is an amazing blessing that I thank God for every minute of every day that I can. I did some post race interviews and went to drug testing. Though the process is somewhat of an inconvenience, I will gladly take it in stride. I brought home a National Championship to Carolina.

Tonight I’m having fun and celebrating. This journey has not been without its up and downs, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Till next time… well, I guess there won’t be a next time. Though it’s been a long time coming, I’m finally going out on top.

Congratulations to those who won. And thanks again to all the athletes who represented us so well in Iowa.

Elsewhere...

Rich Brooks: I can remember when they printed those mags on papyrus. The Kentucky head coach is thumbing his nose at preseason rankings that place his Wildcats, well, where they have traditionally resided: fifth in the SEC East.

On paper, it's understandable why the pundits placed Kentucky where they did. The offense was the staple of the past two season's successes, and six players from that unit (quarterback Andre Woodson, receivers Keenan Burton and Steve Johnson, tight end Jacob Tamme, center Eric Scott and running back Rafael Little) will be in NFL training camps when UK starts practice in August.

But Brooks is banking on what should be the best defense he's had at UK along with an influx of new faces to keep the program above water.

"I'm not expecting to fall off at all," he said. "Our overall talent level is a lot higher now than it was a couple of years ago. I thought that was pretty evident in the spring. And while we lost a great group of seniors, we've got some talented and experienced lettermen returning and then some young guys who are ready to step up to the plate.

"We're just going to have to keep beating people and proving the magazines wrong. Then maybe they'll rank us higher in the pre-season."

Actually, maybe a bit of a fall-off, but not much. Norfolk State, Middle Tennessee, Western Kentucky and Vanderbilt make up four likely wins. At Louisville, at Alabama, South Carolina, Arkansas and Mississippi State are five toss-ups. At Florida, Georgia and Tennessee make up three likely losses. That makes for a 6-6 or 7-5 season pre-bowl, the latter being right where the Wildcats were last season.

So, if nothing else, treading water. Which, for Kentucky, would actually be an accomplishment, marking their third straight non-losing season.

That said, C&F currently has Kentucky -- ahem -- fifth in the division.

Mental note: Never, ever piss off SMQ. Go after one of the most respected college football bloggers around, and this happens. Warning: Not for the faint of heart.

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Hope you had insurance.

Ouch.

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