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Georgetown's Sports Hall of Famers

 

 

Georgetown's Sports Hall of Famers

Written by Kathy Witt

 

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Horses may headline Kentucky’s Horse Headquarters, but Georgetown has a full roster of sports stars. Here are a few record breakers and makers with roots in Scott County:

Croquet, anyone?

This Stamping Ground tobacco farmer was known as a wily competitor with a keenly intuitive understanding of the game in a sport more at home in Hollywood than in the hills of Kentucky.

Meet croquet icon Archie Burchfield – described by Sports Illustrated as a “good ol’ boy from Kentucky” in a 1983 article – who took on the jetsetters of the sport and beat them at their own game. He stood out among celebrity players with his Kentucky accent and country clothes and quickly became a media darling.

Archie appeared on “The Pat Sajak Show,” “On the Road Again” with Charles Kuralt, “Lifestyle on Sports” and “Portrait of America.” In addition to Sports IllustratedPeople MagazineThe New Yorker and Connoisseur Magazine published articles about him and his sports prowess.

Six-time national croquet champion Archie Peck, known as Palm Beach’s “Mr. Croquet,” called Archie “the greatest thing that has ever happened to this sport.”

This year is the 40th anniversary of Archie winning the Nationals Doubles Championship in New York City with his son, Mark Burchfield.

Archie died on February 16, 2005. He is buried in Stamping Ground and is on Scott County’s Historic Buffalo Geocaching Geotrail.

  • The Burchfield File
  • 16 State Championships
  • 14 National Championships
  • 1 International Championship
  • 1995 United States Croquet Hall of Fame Inductee

Full-court press

In girlhood dreams, she saw herself as an astronaut. For childhood sports, the ladies registering kids saw her more as a cheerleader than a basketball player.

Supported by her father, however, Ukari Figgs joined the basketball team and went onto become a WNBA (Women’s National Basketball Association) titlist and NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) champion.

While attending Purdue, Ukari received a letter from Neil Armstrong, himself a graduate of the world-renowned public research university known for advancing discoveries in science, technology, engineering and math. He wanted to let Ukari know she would love going to the moon because she could “easily slam dunk, backwards with two hands.”

For the student who had been named Miss Kentucky Basketball in 1995, part of Purdue’s appeal was its engineering program. Attending Purdue on scholarship, Ukari graduated in 1999 with a degree in mechanical engineering. Today she is a production engineer at Toyota Motor Manufacturing in Georgetown, the world’s largest Toyota manufacturing facility.

  • The Figgs File
  • 1995 KHSAA State Basketball Champion
  • 1995 KHSAA Miss Basketball
  • 1999 Women’s Basketball NCAA National Championship Team
  • 1999 Most Outstanding Player of the 1999 NCAA Final Four
  • 1999 All-Big Ten team
  • 1998 and 1999 NCAA Regional All-Tournament Teams 
  • 1997 Best Defensive Player award
  • Played professionally in WNBA
  • 2009 assistant coach to Purdue University’s women’s basketball
  • 2011 assistant athletics director for women’s basketball at the University of Kentucky
  • Inducted into the Kentucky Sports Hall of Fame, 2004

This teammate of Ukari Figgs started playing pickup games in junior high because she was tall and athletic. She helped lead her basketball team at Scott County High School to the State Championship during her sophomore year in 1995. And she went on to set records and earn titles, including Kentucky All-Star and MVP of the Eighth Region.

Camille Cooper Ozumba also attended Purdue University on scholarship, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science. After playing for New York Liberty for three years and playing overseas in the Euro League for two years, the six-foot, 4-inch center retired from the game in 2004 to attend Duke Law School.

Since 2013, Camille has been in private legal consulting for her own firm in Dallas, Texas with a focus on employment, contract and health care law.

  • The Cooper Ozumba File
  • 1995 KHSAA State Basketball Champion
  • 1997 Kentucky All-Star
  • First-team all-state and region Most Valuable Player after averaging 28.1 points, 12.0 rebounds and six blocked shots per game while shooting 70 percent from the floor as a senior 
  • Holds KHSAA record for highest field goal percentage in a state tournament game, 100% (10-10) in 1995
  • Starting center for 1999 Women’s Basketball NCAA National Championship Team
  • First round draft pick in 2001 Women’s National Basketball Association Draft
  • Played professionally in WNBA and overseas, 2001-2004
  • Graduated from Duke Law School in 2006
  • Inducted to the Scott County Sports Hall of Fame, 2016

From star basketball player to head basketball coach, this Georgetown native attended Scott County High School and played under coach Billy Hicks from 1996 to 1999, earning four varsity letters along the way.

A.W. Hamilton has set records throughout his basketball playing career; in fact, at West Virginia’s Marshall University, which he attended from 2002-2005, he is in the Marshall All-Time record book where he ranks 10th all-time in career assists, 13th in career 3pt%, 21st in career steals and 31st in career 3pt field goals.

Following graduation, A.W. joined the Marshall staff as a graduate assistant for Coach Ron Jirsa. A year later, he was at Hargrave Military Academy in Virginia – which he had attended for one year following his high school graduation – as an assistant coach.

Today, the former star player who, as coach, established his brand as the “Most Exciting 40 Minutes in Sports,” is Eastern Kentucky University’s Men’s Basketball Head Coach. And it is exciting. According to A.W.’s EKU bio, in four seasons with him at the helm, the Colonels have broken 29 records.

  • The A.W. Hamilton File
  • 1998 KHSAA State Basketball Champion
  • 1999 1stTeam Kentucky All-State
  • 1999 Kentucky’s 8th Region Co-Player of the Year
  • Inducted to the Scott County Sports Hall of Fame, 2015

Take me out to the ballgame

Though he didn’t play in the post-season, this Georgetown native was on the 1996 New York Yankees World Series Championship team.

Dale Polley was a pitcher who made the majors nearly a decade after his professional career began. He was signed by the Atlanta Braves as an amateur free agent in 1987. He played professional baseball for seven years, quitting in 1993. Then he returned to the sport for replacement ball with the Braves, staying on back at AAA Richmond. He didn’t get called up to Atlanta, nor was he invited back for 1996.

Dale then signed on with the Yankees and in June of 1996, finally got his call-up. Then 31 years old, the relief pitcher known for batting right-handed and throwing left-handed played only that season with the Yankees.

A good walk spoiled

Having grown up playing Georgetown golf courses, including Canewood Golf Course, Cherry Blossom Village Golf & Country Club and Longview Country Club, this Scott County High School graduate headed to Orlando where he was a member of the UCF (University of Central Florida) Knights from 2010-2014.

Kyle Wilshire helped lead the Knights to a conference title in 2010-11, two NCAA Regional appearances in 2010-11 and 2013-14 and two NCAA Championship appearances in 2011-12 and 2012-13. He was on the Korn Ferry Tour in 2017, playing in 22 events.

Now a PGA golfer, Kyle is famous for marking his ball with a quarter with a family member’s birth year on it. He has most recently competed in the Butterfield Bermuda Championship, RSM Classic and the Bahamas Great Exuma Classic at Sandals Emerald Bay.

 


Author: Kathryn Witt

Kathryn Witt is an award-winning travel and lifestyle writer, syndicated columnist and author of several books, including Secret Cincinnati, The Secret of the Belles and Atlanta Georgia: A Photographic Portrait. A member of SATW, Authors Guild and the Society of Children’s Books & Illustrators, she lives in northern Kentucky.


 

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