Annual convention in Franklin ‘brings Kentucky to Ohio’

1978 NCAA Championship basketball team to be highlighted at UK Convention.

Two members of the University of Kentucky’s 1978 NCAA Championship men’s basketball team will be featured during the 29th annual Ohio UK Convention later this month.

Jack “Goose” Givens and James Lee, key members on the Wildcats’ national championship team, will be two of the six speakers on July 21 at Eastview Baptist Church in Franklin, said Jim Porter, chairman of the event.

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Other speakers include: Cpl. Matt Bradford, a UK graduate working as a National Security Fellow, focusing on Veteran Outreach; Grover Sales, basketball manager under Coach Adolph Rupp from 1969-1972; Larry Vaught, seven-time Kentucky Sports Writer of the Year; and Anthony White, UK football player from 1996-99.

The day also will include awards, door prizes, fan participation and items for sale, Porter said.

Porter said the convention has averaged 125 people the last several years with a record of 147 in 2011.

Porter, 79, taught in the Monroe School District for 30 years, retiring in 1990. He said about 40 percent of his students had either parents or grandparents from Kentucky. Those families moved to the Middletown area because of job opportunities, Porter said.

One woman once told Porter that the convention “brings Kentucky to Ohio.”

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In 1978, Givens was named the Final Four’s Most Outstanding Player due in most part to his 41-point performance in Kentucky’s 94-88 victory over Duke in the championship game.

UK finished Givens’ freshman season as national runners-up, falling 92-85 to UCLA in the 1975 Final Four championship game. In 1978, Givens and Kentucky returned to the Final Four at the Checkerdome in Saint Louis. After leading Kentucky to a semifinal victory over the University of Arkansas, he scored a career-high 41 points and made 18 of 27 field goal attempts against Duke to help Kentucky clinch its fifth NCAA Championship in men’s basketball.

Givens lettered four times in varsity basketball from 1974–75 to 1977–78. In that span, he scored 2,038 points in 123 games, ranking third on the school’s all-time scoring list. He was named first team all-Southeastern Conference three times from 1976 to 1978 and was a consensus second team All-American in 1978. Kentucky retired Givens’ No. 21 jersey and a banner in his honor hangs in the rafters of Rupp Arena.

Lee made a critical dunk that sealed the ‘78 championship game, Porter said.

Coming off a championship year, Lee was drafted in the second round of the 1978 NBA Draft by the Seattle SuperSonics, but never played in the NBA.



WHAT: 29th annual Ohio UK Convention

WHEN: 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. July 21

WHERE: Eastview Baptist Church, 4289 Ohio 122, Franklin

COST: $25 registration fee

MORE INFO: Call Jim Porter at 937-746-8758; David Starkey at 937-974-4411; Linda Heagen at 513-424-5278; or visit

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