Kentucky's Mt. Rushmore of Sports


ESPN reviewed the submissions and discussions on your state/region's conversation page. The four figures on Kentucky's Sports Rushmore are below:

Muhammad Ali (Louisville) -
The three-time World Heavyweight Champion was an Olympic gold medalist and SI's "Sportsman of the Century."

Rick Pitino (Kentucky Wildcats, Louisville Cardinals) -
He took Kentucky to Back-to-back title games and won a National Championship in 1996.

Adolph Rupp (Kentucky Wildcats) -
Rupp finished his career with 876 wins (3rd most all-time) and led the Wildcats to four NCAA titles and one NIT title.

Secretariat (Buried in Paris) -
The 1972 and '73 Horse of the Year was ranked 35th among the greatest athletes of 20th century by ESPN.

Other standouts (even more nominees in conversation)

Eddie Arcaro (Newport)
- Only jockey to win Triple Crown twice and was Citation's jockey

George Blanda (Kentucky Wildcats)
– 12 TD last two seasons at UK, 236 TD in 26-yr NFL career, member Pro Football HOF

Denny Crum (Louisville Cardinals)
- UL coach for 30 seasons, won '80 and '86 National Titles, Led UL to 6 Final Fours

Pervis Ellison (Louisville Cardinals)
– Led UL to '86 Nat'l Title, named Most Outstanding Player, No. 1 pick in 1989 Draft

Cliff Hagan (Owensboro, Kentucky Wildcats)
- 2-time All-American, 10 seasons in NBA; served as UK Athletics Director for 13 years

Paul Hornung (Louisville)
Won 1956 Heisman Trophy, won 4 NFL Championships (and Super Bowl I), 1961 NFL MVP

Dan Issel (Kentucky Wildcats, Kentucky Colonels)
- Set UK scoring and rebounding records, led Colonels to ABA title in 1975, 5-time All-Star with Colonels, member Basketball HOF

Mary T. Meagher (Louisville)
- Won 3 swimming golds in '84 Olympics. Her 1981 world records in 100m and 200m butterfly would each stand until 1999

Pee Wee Reese (Ekron)
– Led Brooklyn Dodgers to seven pennants, won 1955 World Series; 10-time All Star; member Baseball HOF

Pat Riley (Kentucky Wildcats)
- Led Wildcats to National Title game in 1966 as player, won 5 NBA titles as coach, 3-time NBA coach of the Year, 1,210 all-time wins (3rd all-time)

Phil Simms (Lebanon, Morehead State Eagles)
- Led NYG to 2 Super Bowls, Super Bowl XXI MVP, 33,462 Pass yards, commentator for CBS

Johnny Unitas (Louisville Cardinals)
- 2,912 pass yards and 27 Pass TD at UL, Led Colts to 3 NFL titles, 2-time MVP, member Pro Football HOF

Wes Unseld (Louisville Cardinals)
- '69 Rookie of Year and MVP, 2-time All-American, Led Bullets to 1978 NBA title

Darrell Waltrip (Owensboro)
- Won Cup points title 3 times (1981, 1982, 1985); won 84 races and 1989 Daytona 500.

Matt Winn (Louisville)
- Credited with making Kentucky Derby what it is today, Former President of Churchill Downs Racetrack

Notable Horses from Kentucky:
Citation (Lexington)
- 8th horse to win Triple Crown of racing, Won 32 races overall, including a 16 in a row

Man O'War (Lexington)
- Won 20 of 21 races, Won Preakness and Belmont and did not race in Kentucky Derby