Kentucky author begins four-city book-signing tour at KMLF

Published 2:14 pm Thursday, May 11, 2023


The Pineville-Bell County Public Library will host a book-signing for Kentucky sportswriter and author Jamie H. Vaught’s new and sixth book about UK basketball during the Kentucky Mountain Laurel Festival. The event will take place May 27 after KMLF’s Gala Parade from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The title of the 408-page hardcover is “Forever Crazy About the Cats: An Improbable Journey of a Kentucky Sportswriter Overcoming Adversity” (independent, 416 pages).

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The author is also scheduled to appear at least three other book signings in early June. Laurel County Public Library will host the signing on Friday, June 9 from 5-7 p.m. in London. On Saturday, June 10, the signings will be at the public libraries in Williamstown (11 a.m.-12:30 p.m.) and Winchester (2:30-4 p.m.).

The entertaining book, which also contains UK football stories, features many fascinating and inside accounts about the Kentucky Wildcats, including a chapter about ex-UK star Maci Morris, a former Kentucky Miss Basketball from Bell County High School. The other featured individuals include Adolph Rupp, Joe B. Hall, Dan Issel, Mike Pratt, Cawood Ledford, Tubby Smith, John Calipari, Paul “Bear” Bryant, Ray Correll, Blanton Collier, Fran Curci, Jerry Claiborne, Vic Adams and Oscar Tshiebwe (and his high school coach, Rick Mancino).

Appropriately, the hardcover begins with a chapter on legendary UK broadcaster Cawood Ledford and ends with a chapter on former Wildcats basketball coach Joe B. Hall.

“If you’re feeling nostalgic for the University of Kentucky’s glorious basketball past, this could be the book for you,” said Vaught, a longtime professor at Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College, who moonlights as a sportswriter.

In addition to numerous UK stories and interviews, the book is also part memoir about Vaught’s long, adventurous career of covering the Wildcats in basketball and football while overcoming personal adversity — a devastating hearing loss since birth. The author discusses his early personal struggles in dealing with his hearing impairment.

Also featured is a fascinating chapter about former prep basketball superstar J.R. VanHoose of Paintsville, who once was recruited by UK. In addition, the book includes an enjoyable chapter about Vaught’s childhood friendship with Pittsburgh Pirates Hall of Famer Roberto Clemente.

The hardcover has received several positive reviews.

“I have finished the book and really enjoyed it,” said Lexington’s Jim Host, the sports marketing pioneer who is also a member of the National College Basketball Hall of Fame. “I found it really entertaining with the sidebar stories about a number of individuals associated with UK. Jamie is a superstar in how he has overcome adversity in doing such a great job on this book.”

Vaught also wrote columns for The Cats’ Pause for 13 years during the 1980s and early ’90s.

In addition to Amazon (with free shipping), the book is available at Joseph-Beth Booksellers and Kentucky Branded, both in Lexington, Read Spotted Newt bookstore in Hazard.