- What will Kentucky Book Festival visitors find on your table?
Book Title — Forever Crazy About the Cats: An Improbable Journey of a Kentucky Sportswriter Overcoming Adversity
If you’re feeling nostalgic for the University of Kentucky’s glorious basketball past, this could be the book for you! Veteran sportswriter Jamie H. Vaught has penned another entertaining book primarily about UK basketball. The 408-page hardcover, which also contains UK football stories, features many fascinating inside accounts about the Kentucky Wildcats. The 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, Mark Stoops, Maci Morris, Oscar Tshiebwe (and his high school coach Rick Mancino), among others. The book, which has 65 photos, begins with a chapter on legendary broadcaster Cawood Ledford and ends with a chapter on legendary coach Joe B. Hall.
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 severe hearing impairment or near deafness.
Also featured is a fascinating chapter about former prep basketball superstar J.R. VanHoose of Paintsville High School who once was recruited by UK. In addition, the book includes an enjoyable chapter about Vaught’s childhood friend Roberto Clemente and the Pittsburgh Pirates.
This is Vaught’s sixth book about UK basketball. Vaught, a two-time UK graduate who wrote columns for The Cats’ Pause for 13 years, is also a longtime college professor. He has taught at Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College in Middlesboro since 1991.
- Whom do you invite to stop by? Who will benefit from reading your book?
Sports fans, including UK, will enjoy the entertaining and inspiring stories in the hardcover. In addition, people who work with the Deaf or Hearing-Impaired community will enjoy the book as well. The book has a good mixture of UK stories/interviews (80 percent) and author’s personal struggles (20 percent).
- Could you please tell us something curious about you and/or your book?
Even though I have written six books about UK basketball, you can also call me a major league baseball nut who couldn’t hear very well. In fact, I was a childhood friend of baseball legend Roberto Clemente! I even discussed that in a chapter in my latest book. In addition to writing, I love teaching and helping students succeed. It is something that I have done since 1991.
- Is this your first time participating in Kentucky Book Festival?
No. If my math is correct, this would be my sixth trip to KBF as an author. I look forward to meeting with the readers. If I have time, I will also be looking to buy a book or two at the festival as I love to read nonfiction.