Athletes and Sports Personalities
Kentucky is often associated with basketball and horse racing, but as you will see in the list below, Kentuckians have made names for themselves on many fields, courts, hills, tracks, pools, and arenas.
The asterisk (*) symbol next to a name means that the individual was not born in Kentucky.
Earle B. Combs (1899-1976) Centerfielder for the Yankees from 1924-1935; elected to the Kentucky Athletic Hall of Fame in 1963 and to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1970.
Muhammad Ali (1942-Present) Retired American boxer and social leader; crowned “Sportsman of the Century” by Sports Illustrated.
Eddie Arcaro* (1916-1997) Won a record 5 Kentucky derbies and the only jockey to ride two Triple Crown winners.
Jim Bunning (1931-Present) Hall of Fame pitcher from 1955-1971. Only pitcher to throw a no hitter in both the National and American leagues. One of Kentucky's two current U. S. Senators.
A.B. “Happy” Chandler (1898-1991) Twice Kentucky Governor and former Commissioner of Baseball. Chandler was key in integrating major league baseball with the signing of Jackie Robinson.
Denny Crum* (1937-Present) Coach of University of Louisville 1971-2001; won two National Championships and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1994.
Ed Diddle (1895-1970) Coach of Western Kentucky University from 1922-64. First man to play 1,000 games at the same university.
Joe Fulks (1921-1976) Hall of Fame professional basketball player. Invented the “jump shot,” Athlete of the Year in 1948.
Darrell Griffith (1958-Present) NBA Rookie of the Year in 1981. Spent his entire 11 year career with the Utah Jazz.
Joe B. Hall (1928-Present) University of Kentucky basketball coach. Four-time SEC Coach of the Year; led UK to 8 SEC Championships.
Clem Haskins (1943-Present) Basketball player and coach. First African American male basketball coach at WKU where he also played.
Roy Kidd (1931-Present) Eastern Kentucky University football coach from 1961-2003. Third most wins by a football coach at a single school.
Man o’ War (1917-1941) Won 20 out of 21 starts and set five world records; elected Horse of the Century by the Associated Press.
Tamara McKinney (1962-Present) Skier; only woman to win an overall World Cup Championship (1983).
Tori Murden-McClure (1963-Present) First American and first woman to row across the Atlantic alone.
Pee Wee Reese (1918-1999) Hall of Fame baseball player; named to the All-star team 8 times; was a member on the only Dodgers World Series team (1955).
Ralph Waldo Rose (1885-1913) Olympic gold medalist three times in the shot put; first to throw it over 50ft.
Adolph Rupp (1907-1977) Head coach of the Kentucky Wildcats from 1930-1972; led them to 27 SEC Championships and four NCAA Championships.
Mary Meagher (1965-Present) Olympic Swimmer known as “Madame Butterfly”; set seven world records and won three gold medals in the 1984 Olympics.
Danny Sullivan (1950-Present) Auto racer; 1980 Rookie of the Year and winner of the Indy 500.
Darrell Waltrip (1947-Present) Auto racer; winner of the 1989 Daytona 500 and three time winner of the NASCAR Winston Cup Championship.
Michael Waltrip (1963-Present) Auto racer; 2001 Daytona 500 winner; younger brother of Darrell Waltrip.