PIKEVILLE – University of Pikeville chancellor Paul E. Patton had a front-row seat for the induction of four new members to the school’s athletics Hall of Fame, but by the end of the night, and to his surprise, he was on stage giving an impromptu speech after being named the fifth member of the 2014 class.
Patton, who served as Governor of Kentucky from 1995-2003 and as the 19th President of Pikeville College from 2009-2013, joined former men’s basketball coach Randy McCoy, women’s bowler Kayla Bandy, football player Justin Lamb and the 2008 women’s bowling team as the newest hall of famers.
After being introduced by UPIKE President Dr. James L. Hurley, Patton took the stage, paused to look over the assembled hall of fame members, and said he was “truly surprised and honored to be inducted into such a distinguished group.”
While Patton acknowledged he never thought he’d be inducted into an athletic hall of fame, there’s no questioning his role in bolstering the role of athletics at UPIKE.
Throughout his career, one thing has remained the same, and that is Patton’s support of Bear athletics. He has helped make sure the university athletes compete and train in great facilities, driving efforts to build the East Kentucky Expo Center and Hoops Athletic Facility.
As Kentucky’s 59th governor, his efforts to build the Expo Center significantly increased the quality of life for the citizens of Eastern Kentucky. His name was permanently attached to the facility in 2011 during a ceremony naming the basketball floor the Paul E. Patton Court.
Patton is a staple at UPIKE athletic events and always on the sidelines, including national championships for men’s basketball and women’s bowling teams. He has called his work at UPIKE “the crown jewel” of his lifetime and the championship rings he wears proudly display the achievements of student-athletes.
Patton was born in the mountains of Eastern Kentucky, the son of a teacher and school cafeteria worker who instilled in him the value of education, honest living and hard work. A 1959 graduate of the University of Kentucky with a degree in mechanical engineering, he spent 20 years building a successful coal business before turning to public service.