Dec. 8—Veteran Kentucky sportswriter and Southeast Professor Jamie H. Vaught's sixth book about the University of Kentucky basketball has been updated and is now available in a paperback edition.
The title of the entertaining book is Forever Crazy About the Cats: An Improbable Journey of a Kentucky Sportswriter Overcoming Adversity. Originally released as a hardcover in December of 2022, the book became available as a 408-page paperback in early September.
It is the first time in his long writing career that Vaught had the same book published in two different editions — paperback and hardback.
A longtime professor at Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College (SKCTC) in Middlesboro who moonlights as a sportswriter, Vaught said, "If you're feeling nostalgic for the University of Kentucky's glorious basketball past, this could be the book for you."
The paperback, which also contains UK football stories, features many fascinating and 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 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.
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.
The book reviews have been very good.
"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."
Added Dr. John Huang, the award-winning author of Kentucky Passion, "Despite his lofty accomplishments as the author of six books, Jamie Vaught remains one of the nicest guys on the UK media beat. In Forever Crazy About the Cats, we get a candid glimpse of not only why he's so passionate about Kentucky Basketball but also why he's such an inspiration to so many. It's a book worth reading and a story you don't want to miss."
Said Dr. W. Bruce Ayers, retired president of SKCTC, "As usual, Jamie Vaught has provided special insight into Kentucky basketball through the eyes of individuals who have had special access to this storied program over the years, and this volume also includes rare snippets about the football program as well. However, the thing that sets Forever Crazy About the Cats apart is the behind the scenes view that the author provides about his struggles—since birth—to overcome a hearing disability that left him near deaf. The obstacles that he has faced, and overcome, rival those with which any Kentucky team has had to contend over the years. ... An inspirational story."
During the 1980s and early 1990s, Vaught wrote columns for The Cats' Pause for 13 years.
At least five book signings throughout Kentucky have been confirmed for November and December.
The paperback, which has a list price of $16.95, is available at Joseph-Beth Booksellers and select retail outlets in Kentucky as well as Amazon.com (online).
Vaught has taught at Southeast on the Middlesboro campus since 1991.