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Crossroads Classic Extended Through 2019 Season

Aug 15, 2014 -- 10:48am

Phil Baker

@ESPN680 | @Phil__Baker

PhilB@ESPNLouisville.com

 

Aug. 14, 2014

INDIANAPOLIS - The highly successful Crossroads Classic will continue through 2019, the athletics directors at the four participating schools announced today.

One of college basketball's premier non-conference events will continue to be played at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. The additional dates and matchups are Dec. 16, 2017 (Purdue vs. Butler and Notre Dame vs. Indiana), Dec. 15, 2018 (Purdue vs. Notre Dame and Butler vs. Indiana) and Dec. 21, 2019 (Purdue vs. Butler and Notre Dame vs. Indiana).

The three-year cycle is in addition to previously-announced games on Dec. 19, 2015 (Purdue vs. Butler and Notre Dame vs. Indiana) and Dec. 17, 2016 (Purdue vs. Notre Dame and Butler vs. Indiana).

"We are thrilled to be the home of the Crossroads Classic through 2019," said Rick Fuson, chief operating officer of Pacers Sports & Entertainment. "The Classic has become a popular and prestigious annual doubleheader bringing together four great in-state institutions. We are grateful for Bankers Life Fieldhouse to remain the host venue for this event, and we take pride in sharing a great tradition with Butler, Indiana, Notre Dame and Purdue."

Barry Collier of Butler, Fred Glass of Indiana, Jack Swarbrick of Notre Dame and Morgan Burke of Purdue announced the creation of the Crossroads Classic in August of 2010. The initial two-year contract was followed by a two-year extension in May of 2012 and another extension in July 2013.

More than 19,000 fans have attended each of the first three Crossroads Classics. This year's event is set for Dec. 20 and will feature Notre Dame vs. Purdue and Indiana vs. Butler. Notre Dame will serve as the host school.

The coming together of the four most-storied college basketball programs in the state of Indiana, the Crossroads Classic is a nod to the Hoosier Classic of years past, when the schools played a doubleheader non-conference showcase at Butler's Hinkle Fieldhouse. 

DIRECTV to Carry SEC Network for Launch on Aug. 14

Aug 05, 2014 -- 9:28am

Phil Baker

@ESPN680 | @Phil__Baker

PhilB@ESPNLouisville.com

 

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. and BRISTOL, Conn., August 4, 2014 - DIRECTV and ESPN have entered into an agreement for DIRECTV to provide the new SEC Network to fans and followers of the Southeastern Conference when the network launches Aug. 14.  The first college football game on the new network will air Aug. 28 featuring #20 Texas A&M vs. #9 South Carolina.

"The SEC boasts powerhouse athletic programs, especially in football, representing deeply loyal communities, many of which do not have any professional teams," said Dan York, DIRECTV's Chief Content Officer. "The depth of SEC competition and the quality ESPN brings to game production and complementary programming makes SEC Network a valuable addition to our sports programming lineup, and we're excited to bring it into our customers' homes and on their devices."

"Our agreement with DIRECTV continues to push the SEC Network towards one of the most successful network launches when it debuts on August 14," said Sean Breen, Disney and ESPN Media Networks Senior Vice President, Affiliate Sales. "We're proud to deliver the SEC Network nationwide via DIRECTV in advance of the Texas A&M and South Carolina game later this month."

The SEC Network will deliver at least 45 exclusive SEC football games this season. Recently released pre-season polls rank seven SEC teams in the college football preseason top 25, ensuring consistently close, competitive match-ups on SEC Network. The network will also serve as an all-access pass to nationally competitive events, news and information, expert analysis, classic games and in-depth features on the most storied conference in college athletics.

SEC Commissioner Mike Slive said, "With opening day now firmly in sight, we are happy to count DIRECTV, the country's largest satellite provider, among our many distributors for the SEC Network. The SEC is home to the most passionate fans in college sports and I am pleased to have such a wide distribution by launch date for the benefit of SEC fans everywhere."

"With the launch of SEC Network just days away, we look forward to serving these legions of current and prospective students, alumni and loyal supporters with quality content and coverage nationwide," added Justin Connolly, ESPN Senior Vice President, College Networks.

About SEC Network:

The Southeastern Conference and ESPN have signed a 20-year agreement through 2034 to create and operate a multiplatform network that will launch August 14, 2014. The new network and its accompanying digital platform will air SEC content 24/7 including more than 1,000 events in its first year. The network will televise 45 SEC football games, more than 100 men's basketball games, 60 women's basketball games, 75 baseball games, and events from across the SEC's 21 sports annually. Programming will also include in-depth commentary and analysis in studio shows, daily news and information original content such as SEC Storied, spring football games, and more. Hundreds of additional live events from various sports will be offered exclusively on the digital platform.

Barbee Joins Staff as Special Assistant to the Head Coach

Aug 01, 2014 -- 1:05pm

Phil Baker

@ESPN680 | @Phil__Baker

PhilB@ESPNLouisville.com

Barbee Joins Staff as Special Assistant to the Head Coach

LEXINGTON, Ky. –  Former UTEP and Auburn head coach Tony Barbee has joined the Kentucky men’s basketball staff as the special assistant to the head coach, John Calipari announced Friday.

He will take on an administrative role in operations formerly held by Rod Strickland, who left to become an assistant coach at the University of South Florida.

Barbee was previously the head coach at UTEP and at Auburn and has served as an assistant coach under Calipari for a total of nine seasons in his career.

“Tony has been a part of my basketball family for over 20 years,” Calipari said. “I’ve had the pleasure of watching him grow up and mature with this game since I started recruiting him when he was 16 years old. I’m thrilled with the knowledge and experience he brings to this program and our staff and am looking forward to working with him again.”

"I’m so excited to reconnect with my coach, mentor, and friend Coach Cal on his staff at Kentucky,” Barbee said. “I can't wait to join the Big Blue Nation in its quest for No. 9."

Barbee played for Calipari at UMass before starting his coaching career as a graduate assistant on the Massachusetts staff in 1995-96. The Minutemen advanced to the NCAA Final Four in Barbee’s first season as a member of the coaching staff.

He served as an assistant coach for two seasons at UMass before taking an assistant coaching position at Wyoming. Barbee rejoined Calipari as an assistant at Memphis for six seasons from 2000-06. The Tigers earned a 20-win season in each of his six years on staff. The Tigers claimed a pair of Conference USA titles and advanced to the NCAA Tournament three times during his tenure including an Elite Eight run in his final season.

Barbee was hired as UTEP’s head coach in 2006. During his four-year tenure at the helm of the Miners program he averaged 20.5 wins per seasons and exceeded his win total from year-to-year. His most prolific season at UTEP was his last in which he led the Miners to a 26-7 overall record, a C-USA regular-season title and an NCAA Tournament appearance in 2009-10.

He became Auburn’s head coach prior to the start of the 2010-11 season. He spent four seasons as the head coach of the Tigers and has amassed an overall 131-127 record as a head coach.

As a player, Barbee helped lead the Minutemen to a pair of Atlantic 10 championships and two NCAA Tournaments. UMass went 91-39 during his four-year career. Barbee still ranks among the school's all-time leaders in numerous statistical categories, including scoring with 1,643 points. He was a second-team All-Atlantic 10 player in 1991 and 1993 and All-Atlantic 10 Freshman team selection in 1990.

The Indianapolis native played professionally in Spain and France after his playing career at UMass. He earned his B.A. in sports management from UMass in 1993, with a minor in African-American studies. He and his wife, Holly, have a daughter, Hayden Alexandra, and son, Andrew Marsh.

Wallace 'Wah Wah' Jones dies

Jul 29, 2014 -- 4:53pm

Phil Baker

@ESPN680 | @Phil__Baker

PhilB@ESPNLouisville.com

A/P

LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Wallace "Wah Wah" Jones, a multisport star who helped Kentucky win the first two of its eight national titles and is considered the school's greatest all-around athlete, has died. He was 88.

Jones, an All-American, was the last surviving member of the Wildcats' "Fabulous Five" that won the 1948 national championship and went on to claim Olympic gold that year with the U.S. team. He returned with three teammates under Hall of Fame coach Adolph Rupp to repeat as titlists in 1949.

That wasn't Jones' only talent.

Jones played football from 1945 to '48, including three seasons for legendary coach Paul "Bear" Bryant, and earned all-Southeastern Conference honors in 1946 and '48. Tall and chiseled, he also played baseball for the Wildcats.

 

Jones is the only Wildcat to have his jerseys retired in basketball and football.

Anderson, Laws & Jones Funeral Home in Harlan, Kentucky, confirmed that Jones died Sunday. His funeral will be Friday at 1 p.m. at Immanuel Baptist Church in Lexington.

As good as the Harlan native was in football, he is best remembered for basketball skills that helped Kentucky begin its run of championships in the late 1940s.

Two years after the 6-foot-4 Jones teamed with Ralph Beard to lead the Wildcats to the 1946 NIT championship -- then considered equal in stature to an NCAA title -- those two joined Alex Groza, Kenny Rollins and Cliff Barker to form the so-called "Fabulous Five" that went 36-3 and beat Baylor 58-42 for Kentucky's first national title. The entire starting quintet was named to the U.S. Olympic team that routed France 64-21 for the gold medal in London.

All but Rollins returned the next season as Kentucky beat Oklahoma A&M 46-36 behind Groza's 25 points to repeat as champions. Jones, Beard and Groza were named All-Americans that year.

Jerseys of the "Fabulous Five," including Jones' No. 27, were retired by the school. In 2012, he was part of the inaugural class inducted into the Kentucky High School Basketball Hall of Fame.

Jones was also elected Fayette County sheriff in 1953 and founded Blue Grass Tours, a bus charter company that transports Wildcats basketball teams.

 

WKU Joins C-USA

Jul 01, 2014 -- 12:42pm

Phil Baker 

@ESPN680 | @Phil__Baker

PhilB@ESPNLouisville.com

BOWLING GREEN, Ky.- Conference USA proudly welcomes Western Kentucky University to its membership as the Hilltoppers officially join the league today. WKU is well positioned for success upon entering Conference USA based on a storied athletic history, administrative and community support, and a solid academic foundation.

Since 2000, WKU has won more than 80 conference championships, graduated more than 85 percent of its student-athletes and invested more than $100 million in new construction or renovations of athletic facilities. Additionally, the men's basketball program ranks 18th in NCAA history for wins, women's basketball has appeared in three NCAA Final Fours and the school has boasted more than 70 football All-Americans.

WKU will join 13 other institutions - Charlotte, FIU, Florida Atlantic, Louisiana Tech, Marshall, Middle Tennessee, North Texas, Old Dominion, Rice, Southern Miss, UAB, UTEP and UTSA - to make up the 2014-15 membership. The Conference USA footprint reaches over 10 states with a combined population of approximately 30 million.

Conference USA sponsors competition in 19 sports - nine for men (baseball, basketball, cross country, football, golf, soccer, tennis, and indoor and outdoor track and field) and 10 for women (basketball, cross country, golf, soccer, softball, swimming and diving, tennis, indoor and outdoor track and field, and volleyball). WKU will compete in 17 C-USA Championships, with the exception of only men's soccer and men's tennis.

Throughout the day, WKU Athletics has invited the community to help "Paint BG Red" today to celebrate the official start of WKU's affiliation with Conference USA.

Beginning at 8 a.m. and continuing until noon, WKU Athletics will be traveling around the community with C-USA prizes to distribute at businesses, offices and restaurants who are wearing WKU red. Fans are encouraged to tweet a picture of themselves and their co-workers dressed in WKU attire to @WKUSports using the hashtag #PaintBGRed to show the Prize Patrol where you are located.

The day culminates from 5-7 p.m. CT at the 6-4-3 Sports Bar in Hitcents Park Plaza in downtown Bowling Green with the official Conference USA Kickoff Celebration. There will be meet and greet chances with Conference USA Commissioner Britton Banowsky, WKU head coaches, cheerleaders, Big Red and other special guests. The first 250 fans will receive a free Conference USA Kickoff Celebration t-shirt.

UofL versus UK will be Hall of Fame Shootout

Jun 17, 2014 -- 9:42am

Phil Baker 

@ESPN680 | @Phil__Baker

PhilB@ESPNLouisville.com

Press Release: 

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - The University of Louisville's men's basketball game against Kentucky at the KFC Yum! Center on Dec. 27 will have an added element this season.

The game will be featured as the 2014 Basketball Hall of Fame Shootout, with a portion of the game proceeds benefitting the non-profit Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass. The game will be televised on ESPN2, with the tipoff time to be set at a later date.

"The Louisville and Kentucky rivalry is one of the best in college basketball," said John L. Doleva, President and CEO of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. "It's an honor to be a part of this event and we are thankful for the continued support."

Louisville trails 32-15 in its series against Kentucky, the 2014 NCAA national runner-up. Last season, the Cardinals fell 73-66 in Lexington on Dec. 28 and lost 74-69 in the NCAA Midwest Region semifinals in Indianapolis, Ind., on March 28.

UofL will manage the Basketball Hall of Fame Shootout as a regular season home game, with tickets included in the Cardinals' season ticket package.

The significant contribution from this game will help the Basketball Hall of Fame in its on-going efforts to preserve and promote the game at all levels. Located in Springfield, Mass., the city where basketball was invented, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame promotes and preserves the game of basketball at every level - professional, collegiate, men and women. 

 

 

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