CATSPY Awards honor athletes


Danielle Galyer during the CATSPYs on Monday, April 24, 2017 in Lexington, Ky.

Bailey Vandiver

UK recognized its athletes in style at the 2017 CATSPY Awards.

Memorial Coliseum usually houses athletes covered in blood, sweat and tears, but on Monday night, these same athletes walked across the court in dress shoes and high heels.

Athletic Director Mitch Barnhart introduced the event as “a night of celebrations, a night of achievements, a night of challenge.”

He said the ceremony was to recognize the approximately 500 student athletes at UK, from 38 states, Washington, D.C. and 18 countries.

“We now fight for our Kentucky home together,” Barnhart said.

ESPN reporter Sean Farnham and CNN reporter Kaylee Hartung hosted the event. Hartung formerly reported for ESPN, often covering UK basketball games. She called the ceremony her “last hoorah” in Lexington.

Many UK athletes and teams took home awards. Not surprisingly, men’s basketball received several. Malik Monk was not there to accept his Rookie of the Year Award, but Dominique Hawkins had the “honor” of winning the Supporting Role Award. Men’s basketball was the men’s team of the year, and head coach John Calipari was one of four Coaches of the Year.

“God bless y’all and God bless me,” Hawkins said at the end of a brief acceptance speech.

Women’s swimming and diving really stole the show, with senior Danielle Galyer leading the way.

The team was the women’s team of the year, while Galyer was Scholar-Athlete of the year as well as the top honor of Miss Wildcat. Head coach Lars Jorgensen was one of the Coaches of the Year.

Farnham said that the CATSPY awards will be renamed “the Galyers” next year.

Track and field also received many individual awards, and head coach Edrick Floreal received one of the Coach of the Year awards.

There were plenty of laughs throughout the evening, including at a two-part video of UK’s edition of Bad Lip Reading.

More laughs came when football head coach Mark Stoops, who was the fourth Coach of the Year, said that Calipari was the “prettier” of the two men.

Emotional moments came with the presentation of the Blue Heart Award, which goes to athletes who have overcome injury in their career.

Baseball player Kole Cottam received 13 eye surgeries in the first 14 years of his life. He said that because of the great role that doctors have played in his life, he is majoring in kinesiology.

“(My teammates) truly are my family, and they’ve helped me deal with everything,” Cottam said.

Football player Alex Montgomery was the other recipient. Barnhart said that Montgomery is an exception among these award winners because the Blue Heart Award always goes to someone who has returned to the field or court. Montgomery’s continuous injuries never allowed him to do this, but Barnhart said he “never stopped helping.”

Toward the end of the ceremony, Barnhart again honored the four men who were the first African-American athletes at UK. Nate Northington and Wilbur Hackett were able to attend the ceremony.

“I am grateful that this state, my home state, was the first in the SEC to integrate athletics,” Northington said.

He said it is an honor to watch sports today and see the diversity among the players.

Hackett added that it is great to see women contribute so much to UK Athletics because he said women’s sports did not even exist in his day.

Fan favorite Marlana VanHoose concluded the ceremony by singing “My Old Kentucky Home” as a video tribute to the senior athletes played.

A full list of the award recipients is below:

Community Service Award

Alex Carter (Women’s Soccer)

Sean Gunn (Men’s Swimming & Diving)

Rookie of the Year Award

Jasmine Camacho-Quinn (Track & Field)

Malik Monk (Men’s Basketball)

Bill Keightley Assist Award

Ryan Clark (Athletic Training)

Scholar-Athlete of the Year Awards

Danielle Galyer (Women’s Swimming & Diving)

Paul Sime (Men’s Soccer)

Academic Team Awards

Women’s Tennis

Men’s Golf

Scratch Award

Paige Poffenberger (Women’s Basketball)

Supporting Role Award

Dominique Hawkins (Men’s Basketball)

Blue Heart Award

Kole Cottam (Baseball)

Alex Montgomery (Football)

Coach of the Year

John Calipari (Men’s Basketball)

Mark Stoops (Football)

Lars Jorgensen (Swim & Dive)

Edrick Floreal (Track & Field/Cross Country)

Athlete of the Year

Sha’Keela Saunders (Track & Field)

Jacob Thomson (Track & Field/Cross Country)

Team of the Year

Women’s Swimming & Diving

Men’s Basketball

Heart of a Wildcat Award

Evelyn Akhator (Women’s Basketball)

Makayla Epps (Women’s Basketball)

Mr. and Miss Wildcat

Jon Toth (Football)

Danielle Galyer (Women’s Swimming & Diving)