Kentucky Sports Timeline
July 15, 1858, Louisville’s earliest box scores appeared in the Louisville Daily Democrat. The “Louisville Base Ball Club” played on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons. The paper noted the club wore uniforms of blue cottonade pants, white flamed shirts with blue piping, dark blue caps and leather belts.
Baseball In Louisville by Anne Jewell
July 19, 1865, Louisville hosted the first baseball game west of the Alleghenies played under standard rules. The Louisville Grays hosted and defeated the Nashville Cumberlands. When Louisville businessman Walter Haldeman and others formed the National League in 1876, this Louisville club was a charter member. The Grays finished fifth in 1876 and in 1877, led the league in the final weeks of the season, losing to the Boston Red Caps in the last game. Later it was discovered that gamblers had paid four Louisville players to lose games in 1877 so that Boston would win the championship. Baseball’s first major scandal led to the demise of the Grays, and the four were players banned for life.
September 28, 1875, the Red Mile ran their first race, named the Lexington Stakes, where a small crowd witnessed Odd Fellow cross the finish line first. Today the Red Mile host the Kentucky Futurity, one leg in the Triple Crown of Harness Racing for Trotters. The track is the second-oldest harness racing track globally and the oldest horse racing track in Lexington. This historical track is one mile and made of red clay.
April 9, 1880, the first organized football game played in Kentucky was played when Kentucky University (now Transylvania University) beat Centre College 13 ¾ – 0 in a cow pasture. There were fifteen players on each team and when a player was injured and removed, he could not re-enter the game. Concrete stands were added in 1916, creating UK’s first football stadium, Stoll Field.
May 2, 1882, Louis Rogers “Pete” Browning, a lifelong resident of Louisville, made his Major League Baseball debut for the Louisville Eclipse. Pete was one of baseball’s pioneers, a genuine pre-modern national star and one of the sport’s most enduring and intriguing figures. A skilled marbles player and figure skater, Browning was a talented baseball player from the start. He was one of the sport’s most accomplished batters of the 1880s. A three-time batting champion, Pete finished among the top three hitters in the league in each of his first seven years. Twice in the decade, he hit for the cycle in 1886, and again in 1889. He also led the league in hits, total bases and on-base percentage in 1885. Nicknamed the “Louisville Slugger,” he was enormously attentive to the bats he used and was the first player to have them custom-made, establishing a practice among hitters which continues to the present. Pete’s 44-year life spanned from 1861–1905.
May 9, 1888, Tony “Icebox” Chamberlin became the first and only switch pitcher to win a game. It was during Louisville Colonel's win over Kansas City 18-6.
Baseball In Louisville by Anne Jewell
September 27, 1892, the first Eclipse Baseball Park in Louisville caught fire. The team built seats and a new fence within 48 hours so that the scheduled games would not be interrupted.
Baseball In Louisville by Anne Jewell
October 9, 1893, the Kentucky Futurity, one of the Commonwealth's oldest and richest horse races debut at The Red Mile. The crowd watched the shiny black colt Oro Wilkes score a grueling five-heat victory for driver J.A. Goldsmith. Oro Wilkes's fastest Futurity heat was 2:14 ½, and the purse for the inaugural was only $11,880. The Kentucky Futurity, which dates back 121 years, is the oldest harness horse race of any importance. By contrast, the Hambletonian only goes back 88 years.
July 18, 1897, Honus Wagner began his illustrious major league career, in Louisville for the Colonels.
Baseball In Louisville by Anne Jewell
August 12, 1899, fire swept through the second Eclipse Park in Louisville. It was said to have started by a lightning strike.
Baseball In Louisville by Anne Jewell
September 2, 1899, the last major league baseball game for Louisville and Kentucky took place at Eclipse Park. Louisville beat Washington 25-4.
Baseball In Louisville by Anne Jewell
"A setting for the game will mark the beginning of a new era for the gridiron sport in this vicinity," the newspaper wrote. "College football is coming into its own in Louisville. For the first time in the short history of athletic games at the local institution the students have been aroused to the pitch that can come only with time. The university has found itself, and a loyal body of hundreds of student supporters will cheer the Cardinals this afternoon in their efforts to defeat the Wildcats."
March 4, 1916, Kentucky played their last basketball game in Woodland Park Auditorium. The Cats, coached by James Park, lost on their Senior Day game to Marietta 23-27. Kentucky played 22 games in Woodland, located on East High Street and Kentucky Avenue over three years with a 15-7 record.
November 30, 1916, the Kentucky Wildcats tied the Tennesse Volunteers in one of college football’s major upsets. The Volunteers going into the last game of the season were unbeaten and had only given up 13 points in two games the entire season. Tennesse hosted at Waite Field.
August 17, 1920, Raymond Johnson Chapman from Beaver Dam passed away after being hit by a pitch while batting in a Major League Baseball (MLB) game. He remains the only player to die from an injury received during an MLB game. During a dark, rainy afternoon, at Yankee’s Polo Grounds, the Cleveland Indians played the Yankees. In the first pitch of the fifth inning, a loud crack was heard and the ball trickled toward the mound. The Yankee pitcher quickly fielded it and tossed it to first base for what he thought was routine out. However, Chapman had sunk to a knee in the batter’s box, his eyes closed and his mouth open. They carried him off the field and he died 12 hours later after surgery. Raymond married before the start of the season to Kathleen Daly. She was pregnant when he died. Before the season started, he had hinted this would be his last season. The Indians won the game and the World Series later that year.
November 20, 1922, in the early morning hours, the third Eclipse Park burned to the ground.
Baseball In Louisville by Anne Jewell
On October 4, 1924, Male High’s football team was in Chicago to play Austin High School in the first football game in a brand new lakefront sports facility named Grant Park Municipal Stadium. Male defeated Austin by a score of 26-0. A little over a year later, Grant Park Municipal Stadium was renamed Soldier Field.
Cats Conquer Centre With Ease, 45 to 25: Lexington, KY Jan. 21 – Playing listlessly but outclassing their opponents, the University of Kentucky basketball team tonight easily defeated Centre College’s quintette, 45 to 25. Centre was no match for the smoothly functioning Wildcat five, which while far off on its basket-shooting, never was pushed after the first quarter of the contest. Centre drew first blood when O’Neil was successful in shooting a foul but State soon was out front by 11 to 2. Centre rallied here and sinking the majority of its tries for field goals gained a total of ten points. The Blue and White tossers then began taking a more accurate aim and were out front, 23 to 17, at the half. Mohney registered two fouls for the first points in the second half and from that point on, the game was one-sided. Centre never being able to penetrate close to the basket. State ran in a string of subs late in the game and they succeeded in holding Centre’s scoring to a minimum. State missed may shots for field goals and displayed but little of the form exhibited against Georgia Tech last Saturday night. Centre, although held to fewer scoring chances than the Blue and White, took advantage of most of its opportunities.
September 26, 1930, following the installation of field lighting, the first night game was held at Maxwell Field for the Louisville Male Bulldog Football team. The contest with Georgetown ended in a 7-7 tie.
December 18, 1930, Adolf Rupp coached his first game as Kentucky’s head basketball coach. The Wildcats beat Georgetown College 67-19 in Kentucky’s Alumni Gymnasium. Coach Rupp, reintroducing the fast-break system of basketball to Kentucky fans, used 17 of the 19 men on his squad in the opening encounter. Harry Lancaster, Kentucky’s future assistant basketball coach and Kentucky’s future Athletic Director, was the top scorer for Georgetown, with 11 points.
September 14, 1931, the first night baseball game in Kentucky took place at Parkway Field in Louisville. The traveling “House of David” team from Michigan brought their portable lighting system to town for a game against the Louisville All-Stars. Fleming County native, “King” Benjamin Purnell started the House of David team. Seven thousand paid patrons came for the triple attraction night: the star-studded players, the incandescent lights and the presence of Grover Cleveland Alexander, one of baseball’s immortals.
December 23, 1931, Kentucky basketball team hosted Berea in Alumni Gymnasium for the fifth time. The Cats won 52-27. John DeMoisey #00 from Walton, was high scorer with 16 points. His jersey is retired. Kentucky played Berea nine times, all in Lexington. The average margin of defeat was 26 points and the last time they played in 1939, Kentucky won by 50.
September 28, 1941, just days after playing in the U.S. Women's Amateur tournament, Marion Miley was murdered in an apartment at Lexington Country Club. Miley was 27 years old. Her mother, Elsa Miley, 50, was mortally wounded. In an era of great amateurs, Miley had established a period of her own. She died in the most horrific crime in the game's history.
December 6, 1947, the Kentucky Football Wildcats met the Villanova Wildcats in Cleveland Stadium to play the one and only Great Lakes Bowl. Kentucky was in its second season Under Coach Bear Bryant. Bryant’s cats were 7-3 going into the game with losses to AL, TN and Ole Miss. The two teams scored ten points in the first three quarters and 28 points in the fourth quarter. Kentucky won 24-14. George Blanda scored the first points of the game with a 27-yard field goal.
March 23, 1948, Adolph Rupp coached the Fabulous Five for University of Kentucky’s first basketball NCAA Championship by beating Baylor University 58-42 in New York City. Eight teams participated in the tournament and Wildcat Alex Groza was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player. Watch a Video
March 26, 1949, in Seattle, Coach Rupp won his 2nd NCAA title. Paced by Alex Groza’s 25 points and a defense that limited the Aggies to a mere nine field goals, the Wildcats were crowned NCAA Champions for the second straight year. Groza, a unanimous selection as the “Player of the Tournament,” scored more than twice as many points as any other player. A&M’s Jack Shelton was the game’s only other player to score in double figures. He finished with 12 points.
February 25, 1950, Kentucky played their last game in Alumni Gymnasium. They were victorious over Vandy 70-66, overcoming a 29-41 first half, in the season closer. Kentucky’s Alumni Coliseum record was 249-24, the first game played in 1924. Alumni held 2,800, and was the fourth home for Kentucky basketball. The Coliseum saw five head coaches. Rupp lead the transition from Alumni to Memorial.
January 1, 1951, the Kentucky Wildcats, led by Coach Bear Bryant, beat the Oklahoma Sooners 13-7 in the 17th Sugar Bowl, considered one of the biggest upsets in college football. The game pitted Big Seven champion Oklahoma (ranked #1 in the Associated Press poll) against the Southeastern Conference champion Kentucky (ranked #7). Oklahoma’s regular season record was 10-0; Kentucky’s was 10-1. Oklahoma averaged 34.5 points per game and entered the game with a 31-game winning streak. Only one team had scored more than twice in a game against Kentucky that season. Walt Yowarsky was named the game’s Most Valuable Player. His position was defensive tackle and recovered a fumble on the Oklahoma 22-yard line, leading to Kentucky’s first score: for a 7-0 Kentucky lead at the end of the first quarter. He had played less than 5 minutes on defense during the regular season.
March 27, 1951, wins his 3rd NCAA title in Minneapolis. Bill Spivey scored 22 points and an ailing Cliff Hagan sparked the Wildcats to their third NCAA title. With a squad consisting of only six healthy players — Walt Hirsch was ineligible and an infected throat plagued Hagan — the Wildcats hardly looked like championship material as Kansas State broke out to a 20-12 lead. It was then that Rupp inserted the ailing Hagan. It was a move that may have proved the difference as the sophomore forward sparked a rally that saw UK cut the Kansas State lead to 29-27 at the half. Led by Hagan and Spivey, who dominated the boards, UK outscored Kansas State 41-29 in the second half to complete the come-from-behind victory. Most Outstanding Player: Bill Spivey - scored a game-high 22 points on nine field goals and four free throws.
February 4, 1954, Paul William “Bear” Bryant resigned as the head football coach at the University of Kentucky, after signing a twelve-year contract a month earlier. He attributed his decision to the highly competitive nature between himself and Coach Rupp. Both men wanted top billing for their program. When Bryant signed his new contract, he believed that Rupp would soon retire. When Rupp signed a ten-year extension, Bryant resigned. Coach Bryant enjoyed an impressive 60-23-5 record while coaching the Wildcats, including 3-1 in bowl games. (Great Lakes ’48, Orange ’50, Sugar ’51 and Cotton ’52)
October 3, 1954, Barney Frazier caught a state record 36 lbs. 4 oz. sturgeon in Lake Cumberland. Mr. Frazier is from Corbin.
July 9, 1955, David L. Hayes from Leitchfield caught an all-tackle world record 11 lb. 15 oz. smallmouth bass in Dale Hallow Lake, Phillip’s Bend area. He used a pearl-colored Bomber 600 lure. David reeled in the 27-inch long small-mouth-bass from the Kentucky side of the lake. The Dale Hollow State Resort Park Marina renamed their boat ramp the David L. Hayes Boat Ramp to commemorate this legendary catch. The sign marking the ramp includes a life-sized image of the record fish.
On September 5, 1960, Muhammad Ali won his Olympic light-heavyweight gold medal in Rome. Despite being only 18, he won all four of his fights easily. In the final, he defeated three-time European champion, Zbigniew Pietrzykowski. Ali, then named Cassius Clay, cherished his gold medal from the 1960 Olympics so much that he wore it all the time, even while sleeping. The Ali/Gold medal story is of great mystery to this day. Some say he lost it but Ali and his brother tell another story. One day, sickened by a horrific bout of racism he encountered after a meal in Louisville, the 18-year-old champion stood on the Second Street Bridge and threw the medal into the Ohio River.
October 29, 1960, Muhammad Ali makes his professional debut in his hometown of Louisville. He won a six-round unanimous decision over Tunney Hunsaker, whose day job was police chief of Fayetteville, West Virginia.
April 19, 1961, Louisville native Jimmy Ellis won his first professional fight with a third-round knockout. A sparring partner of Muhammad Ali, Ellis went on to win the World Boxing Association (WBA) heavyweight championship. To unify the heavyweight title, he faced World Boxing Council champion “Smokin” Joe Frazier on February 16, 1970; Frazier knocked Ellis out in the fifth round.
April 9, 1967, Gay Brewer wins a green jacket by one stroke over lifelong friend Bobby Nichols. It was the first live television broadcast of a golf tournament from the United States to Europe. Brewer called winning the Masters "the biggest thrill I've had in golf." In the 1966 Masters, Gay bogeyed the final hole to finish in a three-way tie after regulation play but ended up finishing third to Jack Nicklaus, following an 18-hole playoff. The Masters is Gay's only major win. Video
Ron King’s 44 points for Central in the state finals set a record, eclipsing the previous championship game mark of 41 points set by Owensboro’s Cliff Hagan in 1949. Clay County’s Richie Farmer eclipsed King’s mark when he scored 51 points, in a losing cause, against Ballard in the 1988 finals. After Kentucky high school sports was integrated in 1956-57, Central’s Robert Graves became the first black coach to win the Sweet Sixteen. The total attendance, 138,035, was a record that stood until 140,266 saw the 1987 state tourney in Rupp Arena.
June 13, 1970, A.E. Sellers of Louisville, set a state fishing record by catching a 7 lbs. 10 ozs. Kentucky Bass. The Kentucky Bass, also known as a Spotted Bass, is the Kentucky State Fish. In Kentucky, adult spotted bass are commonly 8 to 15 inches in length, weighing 2 lbs and 8 ozs. Mr. Sellers caught the bass in a farm pond. It’s believed that the fish got trapped in the pond by receding floodwaters, where it grew to such enormous size.
December 1, 1970, Tom Payne plays his first game for the Kentucky Wildcats under Coach Rupp. Rupp signed Tom Payne, an athletic 7'-2" center out of Louisville. This ended the all-white Kentucky basketball teams forever and marked a new era with black Kentucky basketball legends.
On October 1, 1975, the second rematch with Frazier was called the “Thrilla in Manila.” Part of the pre-fight hype included Ali calling Frazier a gorilla. Ali won when Frazier is unable to come out for the 15th and final round. The temperature approached 100 degrees and Ali describes the fight as the closest he had come to death.
November 27, 1976, Rupp Arena was home for the first time to the University of Kentucky basketball team. Wisconsin rolled into town and got beat 72-64. Kentucky was ranked #6. Rick Robey was the high scorer for the Cats with 13, followed by the Goose with 12. 23,266 saw Coach Joe B. Hall get his first win in Rupp, but the snack stands ran out of hot dogs by halftime. The exhibition game against Marathon Oil, played five days earlier, was the last game in Memorial Coliseum.
February 15, 1978, Muhammad Ali, 36, loses his Heavyweight title by split decision after 15 rounds to Leon Spinks. The 25-year-old pulled off one of the great upsets in boxing after only seven professional fights and a Gold Medal. Ali had beaten all the other Olympic gold medalists of his era, and he expected to trounce Spinks. But Ali trained very little for the fight and lay on the ropes as Spinks built a lead. For the first time, however, Ali could not rally and lost a split decision in Vegas.
March 27, 1978, Joe B. Hall led the Kentucky Wildcats over Duke to win their 5th National Championship in St. Louis's Checkerdome. Those who witnessed it call Jack Given's 41 point game, one of the finest college basketball history performances. The Cats went 30-2 for the season and won the SEC Tournament.
September 15, 1978, Muhammad Ali still 36 gets the heavyweight title back by beating Leon Spinks in a 15-round unanimous decision. Ali was the first fighter to reign as champion three times. He then retires for the first of two times.
March 16, 1979, The Board of Control of the Kentucky High School Athletic Association met at the Hyatt Regency, Lexington. The meeting was called to order at 9:00 a.m. by President Jack Burkich. All Board members were present. Commissioner Tom Mills, Assistant Commissioners Louis Stout and Billy V. Wise were present. Conley Manning was present representing the State Department of Education and Darrell Wells represented the State School Boards Association. The invocation was given by Glendon Ravenscraft.
March 24, 1980, the Louisville Cardinals won their first NCAA national championship with a 59–54 victory over the UCLA Bruins at the Market Square Arena in Indianapolis. Denny Crum's team, led by Darrell Griffith, aka "Dr. Dunkenstein," was the tournament's Most Outstanding Player. Coach Larry Brown and Kiki Vandeweghe gave a valiant effort. The Bruins would later forfeit their season's standings after players representing the school were declared ineligible by the NCAA. Structurally speaking, this was the first tournament of the modern era. For the first time: 1) an unlimited number of at-large teams could come from any conference. 2) the bracket was seeded to make each region as evenly competitive as possible. Previously, geographic considerations had trumped this. 3) All teams were seeded solely based on the subjective judgment of the committee.
October 2, 1980, Muhammad Ali, at the age of 38, attempts a comeback in a title fight against Larry Holmes, a former Ali sparring partner. Ali’s trainer stops the fight after ten rounds, marking the only time that Ali lost by anything other than a decision.
September 5, 1981, Kentucky's Greg Long put on a defensive clinic, tying a school record with three interceptions and setting a school record with 155 interception return yards, in a 28-6 Wildcats victory over North Texas.
December 11, 1981, Muhammad Ali’s final fight is a 10-round unanimous decision loss to Trevor Berbick. It took place before 10,000 fans at the Queen Elizabeth Sports Centre in Nassau, Bahamas. Ali was attempting his second comeback from retirement.
August 1, 1982, Happy Chandler was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Though he served just one six-year term as commissioner, he oversaw significant changes in the game. He succeeded Kennesaw Mountain Landis as baseball’s second commissioner in 1945. Governor Chandler became a leading candidate for the job after advocating for the continuation of play during World War II. During the 1947 World Series, Chandler moved the two alternate umpires in each crew from the sidelines to the foul lines, a positioning that is still used today.
August 12, 1984, Pee Wee Reese, from Ekron, was inducted in Baseball's Hall Of Fame. His primary team was the Brooklyn Dodgers, playing shortstop. His most significant action on a baseball field may have been before a game. In 1947, the Dodgers visited Cincinnati, and the fans and opposing players were getting on rookie Jackie Robinson. Reese calmly walked over to Robinson, put his arm around his teammate's shoulder, and chatted. The gesture was a critical moment in both Robinson's career and for African Americans' being accepted in baseball and American society. Earlier, Reese had refused to sign a petition circulating among Dodger teammates concerning Robinson's participation. Jackie's widow, Rachel Robinson, said, "I thought it was a very supportive gesture, and very instinctive on Pee Wee's part. You shouldn't forget that Pee Wee was the captain, and he led the way. Pee Wee was more than a friend. Pee Wee was a good man."
September 1, 1984, Mississippi Valley State passes for Division I-AA record 536 yards and nine touchdowns in 86-0 win over Kentucky State. Jerry Rice catches 17 passes for 294 yards and five touchdowns.
December 11, 1985, Roger Foster set a Kentucky record by catching a 58 lbs. 4 ozs. Striped Bass (rockfish) Lake Cumberland. The fifth-largest inland striper certified for Hall of Fame world records. It weighed nine pounds less than the world record yielded by the Colorado River in Arizona.
March 31, 1986, Louisville Cardinals won their 2nd NCAA Championship defeating Duke in Dallas, Texas. Coach Denny Crum also wins his second title by winning 72-69 over Coach K. Pervis Ellison was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player and Johnny Dawkins scored the most points during the tournament. The 1986 NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship Tournament was the first tournament to use a shot clock set at 45 seconds. It was moved to 35 seconds beginning in 1994 and 30 seconds in the 2016 NCAA Men’s Tournament. The 1986 tournament was also the last not to feature the three-point shot.
January 25, 1987, Phil Simms, from Springfield, and the NY Giants beat Denver in Super Bowl XXI, 39-20. Simms had one of the Super Bowl's finest performances, to win his first ring. He completed 22 of 25 passes (2 drops) for 268 yards, setting Super Bowl records for consecutive completions (10), accuracy (88%) and passer rating (150.9). Besides, he threw three touchdown passes and his passer rating set an NFL postseason record. "This might be the best game a quarterback has ever played," Giants coach Bill Parcells later said. Two of the most famous plays from the game were the flea-flicker to McConkey and McConkey's touchdown pass off of the fingertips of Giant's tight end, Mark Bavaro. Simms was named MVP. The Kentucky native was the first sports figure to use the phrase "I'm going to Disney World!" following a championship victory. See the commercial here.
September 3, 1994, in a game that had been wanted by both fan bases for several decades, the Kentucky Wildcats and Louisville Cardinals squared off on the gridiron for the first time in 70 years to renew the state's most heated rivalry. A then Commonwealth Stadium record crowd of 59,162 watched as Kentucky won their only game of the season. The single victory came on a late game-winning touchdown run by backup quarterback Antonio O'Ferral.
April 1, 1996, Tony Delk tied a championship game record with seven 3-pointers and the Wildcats withstood a late Orangemen rally to win UK’s sixth national title before a capacity crowd of 19,229 in the Continental Airlines Arena at the Meadowlands. Delk, the Final Four’s Most Outstanding Player, canned seven of 12 3-pointers to lead the Cats with 24 points. Kentucky strung together 25 consecutive wins, including a 16-0 mark in Southeastern Conference play, midway through the 1995-96 season and rolled to its sixth national championship and the first under head coach Rick Pitino. The dynamic duo of Tony Delk (17.8 ppg) and Antoine Walker (15.2 ppg) led the Wildcats’ team dubbed “The Untouchables” by Pitino.
August 4, 1996, James Paul David Bunning, from Southgate, was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame. Jim Bunning, Bill Foster, Ned Hanlon and Earl Weaver made up the 58th induction class in Hall of Fame history. Jim Bunning was a tough right-handed sidearm pitcher during his 17-year big league career, but the consistency was what he craved, once stating, “I am most proud of the fact I went through nearly 11 years without missing a start. They wrote my name down, and I went to the post.” Bunning won 224 games, an eight-time All-Star, one 20-win season, but would win 19 games four times and one perfect game. Besides throwing no-hitters in the American and National leagues, Bunning was also the second pitcher behind Hall of Famer Cy Young to win 100 games and collect 1,000 strikeouts in both circuits. When Bunning retired, he was second on the all-time strikeouts list to Walter Johnson with 2,855.
August 30, 1997, the Wildcats didn't take long to get off to a great start in the Hal Mumme Era, labeled as "Air Raid." UK tied a school record with 21 first-quarter points in a 38-24 defeat of intrastate rival Louisville. Sophomore quarterback Tim Couch set a then-school records for completions (36) and passing yards (398). It was the 500th victory in program history and the first game that Tom Leach was the Voice of the Wildcats.
March 30, 1998, the Kentucky Wildcats win their 7th NCAA National Championship in the Alamodome. Tubby Smith's Cats beat S.C. State, St. Louis, UCLA, Duke, Stanford (OT) and the Utah Utes 78-69. Jeff Sheppard was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player. Kentucky came back from double-digit deficits in each of its last three games in the tournament, including a 17-point second-half comeback against Duke. This lead to the school's fans dubbing the team the "Comeback Cats."
September 5, 1998, the Wildcats put on quite possibly their most extraordinary offensive performance in school history. They traveled to Louisville to take on the Cardinals in their first game ever played at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium. Junior quarterback Tim Couch set or tied then-school records for most total offense (498 yards), most passing yards (498) and most touchdown passes (7). Kentucky set a then-school records for most total offense (801 yards), most first downs (37), and most passing yards (571). Kentucky won 68-34.
August 28, 1999, Bruce W. Midkiff from Owensboro caught a world record 104 lbs. Blue Catfish in the Ohio River near Cannelton Dam Tailwaters. This beat the previous state record, set the same day below the same dam. He caught it on a live skipjack. The day he caught the record fish, he took it to the Game Warden station in McLean Co. to get it officially weighed. They told him to put on hats and shirts with tackle manufactures on it and they would pay him for the advertising rights and might display the fish in tanks at different stores. He declined all offers and released the fish at the Owensboro boat ramp.
September 4, 1999, Kentucky opened up their newly renovated and expanded Commonwealth Stadium, with a then-record crowd of 70,692. Kentucky defeated Louisville 56-28. Quarterback Dusty Bonner tied a school record with 74 offensive plays and passed for 446 yards in his first career start.
September 2, 2000, freshman quarterback Jared Lorenzen surpasses 300 passing yards (322) in his first career game as Kentucky's signal-caller in a heartbreaking 40-34 overtime loss to intrastate rival Louisville.
November 19, 2000, Darrell Waltrip drove in his last race. It took place at the Napa 500, at the Atlanta Motor Speedway, where he posted a 34th-place finish in the Haas-Carter Motorsports owned #66 Route66 Big K Ford Taurus. He finished 36th in points that season.
November 15, 2001, displaying a toughness and single-minded determination Western Kentucky stunned No. 4 Kentucky 64-52. The unranked Hilltoppers held the Wildcats to 33 percent shooting from the field, forcing 20 turnovers and winning the battle of the boards 40-38.
November 9, 2002, No. 16 LSU Tigers, with no time left on the clock, threw a 74-yard game-winning touchdown pass to beat Kentucky in Lexington. Some refer to it as the "Bluegrass Miracle." Watch the play.
December 28, 2002, the hype leading up to the annual state grudge match between Kentucky and Louisville centered around two former Cats who had traded in their blue and white for Cardinal red and black. When the dust settled in front of 20,061 fans at Freedom Hall, Rick Pitino and Marvin Stone looked like they may have made the right choice in jumping ship. Louisville upset the 14th ranked Cats 63 -81.
August 30, 2003, Eric Shelton rushed for 151 yards and two touchdowns to lead Louisville to a 40-24 win over Kentucky in the opener for both teams. It was the sixth win for Louisville in ten meetings since the teams renewed their rivalry in 1994. The Cardinals won four of the last five against Kentucky, including the last three on Kentucky's home field.
September 5, 2004, Bobby Petrino hosted Rich Brooks in front of 42,681 fans. In a drab offensive effort, UK failed to cross mid-field in the entire first half. Given another chance to score a late TD with the outcome already decided, U of L took a knee. “I just thought I’d give Kentucky what they wanted,” Bobby Petrino jibed. Louisville wins 28 - 0.
July 11, 2006, Dan Uggla, a Louisville native, played 2nd base as a reserve in Major League Baseball’s 77th All-Star game. In all, 32 players were selected to each League’s team, not including players who decline to play due to injuries or personal reasons. Dan represented the marlins from the National League. Uggla also finished third in the 2006 National League Rookie of the Year voting. Video.
February 7, 2007, Louisville’s home floor at Freedom Hall was officially named “Denny Crum Court.” When the Cardinals basketball teams moved to the downtown KFC Yum! Center in 2010, the name “Denny Crum Court” was retained in the new facility.
October 13, 2007, Kentucky upsets LSU in triple OT. Andre Woodson hit Steve Johnson with a seven-yard touchdown pass in the third overtime to put Kentucky ahead. On a fourth-and-two play from the Wildcats’ 17-yard line on the ensuing LSU possession, UK linebacker Braxton Kelley stopped Tigers running back Charles Scott one yard short of a first down to end the game.
September 21, 2008, Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville hosted 37th Ryder Cup. Kentuckians Kenny Perry and J.B. Holmes were team members. The U.S. led from start to finish winning 16½-11½ and regaining the Cup after three consecutive European victories. For the first time since 1995, the opening matches featured foursomes.
March 17, 2009, the Kentucky Wildcats returned to Memorial Coliseum to play in the first round of the N.I.T. Coach Gillispie led the Cats to victory over UNLV 70-60. The last time Kentucky played in Memorial was in 1976. Gillispie’s one game in Memorial put him in the elite company to have coached the Cats in the Coliseum; Rupp and Hall being the others. It was Gillispie’s last game coached in Kentucky. The team won one more N.I.T. game and lost in the quarterfinals.
September 20, 2009, Lexingtonian Tyson Gay, at the Shanghai Golden Grand Prix, ran the second-fastest men’s 100 m on record, winning in 9.69 seconds, matching Usain Bolt’s winning time at the Beijing Olympics in 2008. The current men’s world record is 9.58 seconds, set by Jamaica’s Usain Bolt in 2009. Tyson is wearing black in the middle of the track. Watch Race.
December 21, 2009, in Rupp Arena, the Kentucky men’s basketball team became the first college basketball program to win 2000 games. They beat the Drexel Dragons 88-44. This was John Calipari’s first season.
September 25, 2010, the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games were held in Lexington. This was the first time the games were held outside Europe. It was also the first time the entire event was held at one site.
September 4, 2010, the 23rd Governor's Cup was held in Louisville. Kentucky won 23-16. The 2010 game was the inaugural year for the Howard Schnellenberger Award. The award is given to the Most Valuable Player of the game. Coach Schnellenberger played under Bear Bryant for Kentucky and was Louisville's head coach when the modern football rivalry began in 1994.
September 2, 2012, Kentucky losses to the 25th ranked Louisville Cardinals in Louisville. It was Joker vs. Charlie but Credit sophomore Teddy Bridgewater for getting things going. It was Joker Phillips last year as UK’s head coach. Watch Highlights.
January 2, 2013, Louisville scored one of their greatest victories in their football history, stunning fourth-ranked Florida 33-23, in the 79th Allstate Sugar Bowl in a 2/3-filled Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
March 7, 2015, Kentucky plays the last basketball game of the regular season, beating Florida 67-50. This team tied the 2011-12 team for the most wins in men’s Division 1 history. The Cats ended the regular season with a perfect 31-0 record, followed by the SEC Tournament Championship and a run to the Final Four.
June 3, 2016, Muhammad Ali died at age 74 after a long battle with Parkinson's disease.