LEXINGTON — The University of Kentucky Athletics Hall of Fame Class of 2016 has been announced, with Rich Brooks (football), Chuck Hayes (men’s basketball), James Johnson (wrestling), Molly Johnson-Belcher (softball), Bernadette Madigan-Dugan (cross country/track and field) and Wesley Woodyard (football) set to be inducted during Hall of Fame Weekend, Sept. 23-24, in conjunction with the football home game versus South Carolina.
Rich Brooks, Football, 2003-09: Rich Brooks is the only coach in school history to guide UK to bowl games in four consecutive years and win three straight bowls. He took over a program mired in a severe NCAA probation and by 2006 led UK to a 28-20 upset win over Clemson in the Music City Bowl. Brooks followed with a win over Florida State in the 2007 Music City Bowl, a season which included a Top-10 ranking and victory over No. 1 (and eventual national champion) LSU. Following the 2008 season, under Brooks’ direction, Kentucky defeated East Carolina in the Liberty Bowl. Brooks concluded his coaching career at the Music City Bowl in 2009. Kentucky won at least seven games four years in a row. That was the first time that had happened at UK since 1909-12. Brooks was named the 2009 SEC Coach of the Year by CollegeFootballNews.com. In his last four seasons, Brooks led UK to 12 fourth-quarter comeback wins.
Chuck Hayes, Men’s Basketball, 2002-05: Chuck Hayes was a fan favorite for his relentless defense and tenacious rebounding. Hayes was named the 2005 SEC Defensive Player of the Year. He ranks seventh in career rebounds with 910 boards. Hayes led Kentucky in rebounding for three straight seasons from 2003-05. He led UK in blocks in 2004 and ranks eighth in career steals with 170. Hayes led his team to the 2005 SEC regular-season championship. He was also a key member on the SEC Tournament championship teams in 2003 and 2004. The productive Hayes is a member of the University of Kentucky’s 1,000-point club. Hayes appeared in the NCAA Tournament in all four of his seasons, including Elite Eight finishes in 2003 and 2005. He was a two-time All-SEC honoree, earning first-team honors from the AP and coaches in 2005. Hayes was named to the SEC All-Freshman Team in 2002. The former Kentucky Wildcat is an 11-year NBA veteran.
James Johnson, Wrestling, 1977-80: James Johnson was a four-year letterman who started in wrestling from 1977-80 at UK as a 190-pounder. He finished with a record of 65-21 and won the Southern Open twice. Johnson was a three-time Southeastern Conference medalist, posting a second-place finish at the 1980 SEC Championships. He went on to enjoy remarkable success in his post-college career as a Greco-Roman competitor. Johnson was a member of the USA National Wrestling Team for 12 years, winning three national championships wrestling at 100 kilograms (220 pounds). He was named USA Wrestling’s Athlete of the Year in 1993. Johnson began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at UK. He has coached in numerous national and international events, including the 2012 Olympics, and is on the training staff for the 2016 Olympics.
Molly Johnson-Belcher, Softball, 2007-10: Molly Johnson-Belcher was the University of Kentucky softball program’s first All-American. She was the UK softball program’s first four-time All-SEC honoree. An NFCA Scholar-Athlete, Johnson-Belcher led UK to its first NCAA Tournament berth. She ended her career owning career records in batting average (.389), doubles (56), runs (161), home runs (35), slugging percentage (.656) and total bases (445); was second in assists (510) and RBI (135); third in hits (264) and stolen bases (66) and fourth in triples (10). The standout also set single-season records in hits (81), doubles (20), runs scored (53) and on-base percentage (.498), as well as single-game records for runs (4), doubles (3) and home runs (2). Belcher was a member of U.S. National team in 2009 and 2010, helping lead the Americans to gold at the 2012 ISF World Championship and the 2011 Pan Am Games. Currently, Belcher is a UK assistant coach.
Bernadette Madigan-Dugan, Cross Country/Track and Field, 1981-85: Bernadette Madigan-Dugan is one of the greatest distance runners in University of Kentucky history. She was the first UK female to win a national track championship when she won the NCAA two-mile run in 1982. She won two Southeastern Conference titles, the 1982 3,000-meter run and the 1983 three-mile run . Dugan earned All-America honors in five separate events – cross country, indoor two-mile, outdoor 3,000 meters, indoor 3,200-meter relay and the outdoor 10,000 meters. She competed for Great Britain in the 1985 World Student Games. Since then, she has coached collegiately at Marshall, Furman, Kentucky and Transylvania. Currently, Dugan is coaching at Lexington Catholic High School. She has also been a mentor for numerous athletes in the running community.
Wesley Woodyard, Football, 2004-07: Wesley Woodyard is one of the best defensive players and team leaders in Kentucky history. He was a First-team All-SEC selection as a junior and senior. Woodyard made 395 tackles in his career, seventh in school history. He led Kentucky in tackles three straight years, with at least 100 stops each of the three seasons. Woodyard led the SEC as a senior with 139 tackles. He was the unquestioned leader of the Kentucky defense as the Wildcats posted eight-win seasons and won the 2006 and ’07 Music City Bowls. Woodyard led UK in tackles in each bowl triumph. He was a Second-team Sophomore All-Americam. The outstanding defender was also a key contributor in special teams kick coverage for the Wildcats. Woodyard was a First-team Freshman All-SEC honoree and a member of the SEC Academic Honor Roll. A standout on the field and in the classroom, Woodyard was in the UK Athletics Society of Character. Woodyard has played eight years in the NFL, helping to lead the Denver Broncos and Tennessee Titans.
The UK Athletics Hall of Fame was started in 2005 to recognize and honor persons whose participation and achievements enriched and strengthened the university’s athletics program. The charter class included 88 individuals who had previously had their jersey retired by UK.
There is a five-year waiting period after leaving UK to be eligible for inclusion into the Hall of Fame. A committee consisting of Hall of Famers, media members, campus representatives and current coaches and administrators elects new inductees each year.