Kentucky Sports Hall of Fame welcomes new class

Kentucky Sports Hall of Fame welcomes new class
Class of 2019 - Kentucky Sports Hall of Fame

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - The Kentucky Sports Hall of Fame held it’s 2019 induction ceremony on Monday night at the Galt House in downtown Louisville.

The six inductees were Derek Anderson, Deion Branch, Ralph Hacker, Nate Northington, William Exum and Willis Augustus Lee.

Anderson, a Doss High School graduate, was on UK’s 1996 National Championship team and won an NBA Championship with the Miami Heat.

“It’s beyond cool, actually,” Anderson said. “It’s one of those things where you try to hold it in and be macho, but no, I’ve cried a couple times, just out of joy. You appreciate what people appreciate about you.”

Branch starred at UofL and was the Most Valuable Player of Super Bowl XXXIX for the New England Patriots. He is a two-time Super Bowl Champ.

“You get these type of awards when you’re 60 and 70, and you know, I just turned 40,” Branch said. “I’m very appreciative, very grateful.”

Hacker spent 34 years on the UK Radio Network. He was the color analyst for Kentucky Sports Hall of Famer Cawood Ledford and succeeded Ledford as the play-by-play voice for the Cats.

“Never in my wildest imagination did I ever think that this would happen,” Hacker said.

Northington was the first African-American player in the SEC. He made history when he took the field against Ole Miss on September 30, 1967.

“We want to attain the highest level, so those are your dreams, but for it to come to fruition is just really something that you don’t really know if it’s going to happen,” Northington said. “Not that I was a Super Bowl Champion like Deion Branch and an NBA Champion or whatever, but God had a plan for me too, and I’m thankful that he used me for that purpose.”

Exum served as athletic director at Kentucky State University from 1949-77.

Lee won seven medals at the 1920 Olympic Games in Rifle. He won five golds, two silver and one bronze.

Plaques honoring the inductees adorn the concourse at historic Freedom Hall and there is also a display on the concourse at the KFC Yum! Center.

Copyright 2019 WAVE 3 News. All rights reserved.