June 12, 2019 – Former University of Louisville football player Deion Branch was one of six individuals who have been selected as the 2019 class of the Kentucky Sports Hall of Fame fueled by the Kentucky Lottery (KSHOF).
Joining Branch in the the 42nd KSHOF class are: Derek Anderson, (Louisville) member of a University of Kentucky basketball national championship, 11-year NBA veteran and NBA champion; William Exum, trailblazer as the long-time athletic director and multiple sports coach at Kentucky State University and USA Olympic Track & Field Manager; Ralph Hacker (Richmond), long-time radio color analyst and play-by-play for University of Kentucky, innovator in sports radio networks and programming; Willis Augustus Lee (Natlee), one of the most decorated U.S. Olympians ever who won seven medals in shooting events at the 1920 Olympics; and Nate Northington (Louisville), an all-state high school football player who played at the University of Kentucky and was the first African-American ever to play in an SEC football game.
A native of Albany, Ga., Branch was an all-conference wide receiver for the Cardinals from 2000-01 where he led the Cardinals to consecutive Liberty Bowls.
In two seasons with the Cardinals, Branch caught 143 passes for 2,204 yards and 18 touchdowns, producing a pair of 1,000-yard receiving seasons. The former junior-college transfer was only the third player in school history to produce back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons, totaling 1,188 yards in 2001 and 1,016 in 2000.
Branch was drafted in the second round by New England, and played 11 seasons for the Patriots and Seattle Seahawks. He earned MVP of Super Bowl XXXIX with the Patriots with 11 catches, 133 yards (tied as the most Super Bowl receptions at the time). He played in 140 NFL games with career totals of 518 receptions, 6,644 yards and 39 touchdowns.
A selection committee comprised of 16 sports media from throughout the Commonwealth, along with a bygone era committee comprised of current members of the KSHOF, selected this year’s class. All votes by the selection committee were independently tabulated by regional accounting firm Dean Dorton, one of the largest accounting and advisory firms in Kentucky, with offices in Louisville and Lexington.
The 2019 KSHOF class members and their families will be honored on Aug. 19, 2019, at the Galt House Hotel in downtown Louisville. For ticket information or sponsorship opportunities, contact Julie Howell at firstname.lastname@example.org / (502) 587-6742.
The KSHOF is owned and operated by the Louisville Sports Commission, a Kentucky-based non-profit whose mission is to attract, create, host and operate sporting events and activities that enhance the quality of life of the Commonwealth. The KSHOF was founded in 1963 to recognize athletes and sports figures who are Kentucky natives as well as individuals who participated in their respective sport or made a significant impact in their sport in Kentucky.
“The KSHOF Class of 2019 recognizes six outstanding individuals who have had a major impact on sports in the Commonwealth and on the national and international stage,” said Louisville Sports Commission President and CEO Karl F. Schmitt, Jr. “We are thrilled to have the Kentucky Lottery back as our presenting sponsor, as well as regional accounting and advisory firm Dean Dorton for officially tabulating the votes.