It’s April 16 and that means it is time to look at three of the greatest Kentucky Wildcats to dawn the No. 16 on their uniform.
Three Kentucky Athletics Hall of Famers wore the No. 16 with one men’s basketball star and two football standouts.
Lou Tsioropoulos (Men’s Basketball 1951-54)
No. 16 is a number no Wildcat has worn since 1954. That would be because it is retired to honor the remarkable career of Lou Tsiropoulos.
As a freshman, Tsiropoulos was a member of Adolph Rupp’s 1951 national championship team. He also helped the Wildcats win three SEC championships. During Kentucky’s 1953-54 undefeated season, he averaged a career-best 14.5 points and 9.6 rebounds.
After his college career, he was drafted in the seventh round by the Boston Celtics in the 1953 NBA Draft and won two NBA Championships.
His jersey was retired by UK Basketball in 1954 shortly and he was enshrined in the UK Athletics Hall of Fame in 2005.
George Blanda (Football 1946-49)
We go to the gridiron to find out next star to wear No. 16 and find quarterback George Blanda. Blanda led the Wildcats in total offense in 1948 and passing in 1947 and 1948.
He threw for a combined 1,400 yards and 12 touchdowns in his final two seasons in Lexington. As a result, Blanda was drafted 119th overall in the 1949 NFL Draft by the Chicago Bears. As a pro Blanda played for over 20 years, he throwing for 26,920 yards, 236 touchdowns, played on three American Football League championship teams and was a member of the All-Time AFL Team and the AFL Hall of Fame.
He was enshrined in the UK Athletics Hall of Fame alongside Tsiropoulos in 2005.
Wesley Woodyard (Football 2004-2007)
Our final No. 16 honoree is former UK Football linebacker, Wesley Woodyard. After redshirting as a freshman, Woodyard made 100 total tackles in 11 games as a sophomore.
As a Junior in 2007 was named First-team All-SEC after recording 122 total tackles with 9.5 tackles for loss, two sacks and an interception. He was again named First-team All-SEC as a senior in 2008 as he made a career-high 138 total tackles with two sacks and three forced fumbles.
In each of his final seasons, Woodyard helped lead UK to eight-win seasons and to a 2007 Music City Bowl title. After going undrafted 2008, Woodyard signed with the Denver Broncos, where he spent six seasons before signing a four-year, $15.75 million deal with the Tennessee Titans.
He was enshrined in the UK Athletics Hall of Fame in 2006.