See all 80 Kentuckians who received votes for 2021 Kentucky Sports Figure of the Year

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Final voting

One hundred fifty-nine current and former media members from across Kentucky helped select the 2021 Lexington Herald-Leader Kentucky Sports Figure of the Year. Voters submitted up to 10 names. Points were awarded in the following manner: 12 for a first-place vote; 10 for second; eight for third; seven for fourth; six for fifth; five for sixth; four for seventh; three for eighth; two for ninth; one for 10th. First-place votes in parentheses:

1. Wan’Dale Robinson, football (21)

926

2. Sydney McLaughlin, track & field (35)

852

3. Mark Stoops, football (15)

671

4. Madison Lilley, volleyball (18)

636

5. Lee Kiefer, fencing (11)

414

6. Craig Skinner, volleyball (4)

412

7. Desmond Ridder, football (7)

305

8. Jim Matney, football (12)

299

9. Bailey Zappe, football (5)

295

10. Adam Duvall, baseball (1)

270

11. Rhyne Howard, basketball (1)

260

12. Brad Cox, horse racing (4)

234

13. Will Shaner, rifle

223

14. Devin Booker, basketball (2)

211

15. Dani Busboom Kelly, volleyball (4)

204

16. Julian Tackett, administration (3)

160

17. Jensen Castle, golf (2)

152

18. Mitch Barnhart, administration (5)

147-x

19. Josh Paschal, football (2)

147-x

20. Brooke Forde, swimming (1)

133

21. Darian Kinnard, football

130

22. Jasmine Camacho-Quinn, track & field

118

23. Alli Stumler, volleyball

96

24. Mary Tucker, rifle

94

25. Henry Davis, baseball

88

x-tie broken by number of first-place votes received

Others receiving first-place votes in order of total points received: Walker Buehler, baseball (1), 76; Ja Morant, basketball (1), 64; Preston Spradlin, basketball (1), 47; Philip Haywood, football (1), 30; Justin Haddix, football (1), 29; Matthew Robertson, bass fishing (1), 12.

Others named on at least two ballots: Justin Thomas, golf, 75; Ben Rhodes, auto racing, 66; Dana Evans, basketball, 60; Scott Davenport, basketball, 51; Kayla Kowalik, softball, 49; Harry Mullins, rifle, 48; Kevin Wallace, football, 47; Reed Sheppard, basketball, 42; Jeff Brohm, football, 41;

Kendra Harrison, track & field, 40; Chris Oliver, football, 40; Isaac Dixon, football, 35; Julius Randle, basketball, 34; Tori Dilfer, volleyball, 32; Donna Moir, basketball, 30; Nick Albiero, swimming, 29; Johni Broome, basketball, 29; Malik Cunningham, football, 29; Christopher Rodriguez, football, 29;

Sophie Galloway, track & field, basketball, 27; Daylen Lile, baseball, 27; Jeff Walz, basketball, 27; Sam Vinson, basketball, 24; Will Levis, football 24; Avery Skinner, volleyball, 21; Travis Hudson, volleyball, 19; Ben Johnson, basketball, 19; Cameron Dukes, football, 17; Liam Draxl, tennis, 13; Dane Key, football, 13; Jerreth Sterns, football, 13; Riley Gaines, swimming, 12; Charles Bassey, basketball, 11; Cam Hergott, football, 11;

Jaime Gordon, volleyball, 10; Trey Sweeney, baseball, 10; Donovan Mitchell, basketball, 9; Abby Steiner, track & field, 9; Anna Stevenson, volleyball, 9; Lars Jorgensen, swimming, 8; Terry Taylor, basketball, 7; Grace Berger, basketball, 6; Michael Mayer, football, 6; Brandon Smith, football, 6; Brandon Reed, wrestling, 5; Essential Quality, horse racing, 4; Carlik Jones, basketball, 4; Jalen Boyd, football, 2; Paige Briggs, volleyball, 2.

Strong support from voters in Lexington carried former Kentucky Wildcats volleyball star Madison Lilley to a fourth-place finish in the 2021 Lexington Herald-Leader Kentucky Sports Figure of the Year Award. It is the highest finish ever for a volleyball player in the 41-year history of the award.
Strong support from voters in Lexington carried former Kentucky Wildcats volleyball star Madison Lilley to a fourth-place finish in the 2021 Lexington Herald-Leader Kentucky Sports Figure of the Year Award. It is the highest finish ever for a volleyball player in the 41-year history of the award.

Ballot leaders

Candidates included on the most ballots:

1. Wan’Dale Robinson

120

2. Sydney McLaughlin

93

3. Mark Stoops

87

4. Madison Lilley

78

5. Craig Skinner

63

6. Rhyne Howard

60

7. Lee Kiefer

55

8. Desmond Ridder

53

8. Bailey Zappe

53

10. Adam Duvall

51

11. Jim Matney

43

11. Will Shaner

43

Voting by region

How the leaders fared in each region of the state (Eastern Kentucky is the 606 and 859 area codes outside of Lexington; Western Kentucky is the 502 and 270 area codes outside of Louisville)

Candidate

Lex

Lou

EKy

WKy

Total

Wan’Dale Robinson

403

180

214

129

926

Sydney McLaughlin

346

118

259

129

852

Mark Stoops

174

163

218

116

671

Madison Lilley

361

68

106

101

636

Past winners

All-time results in Lexington Herald-Leader Kentucky Sports Figure of the Year Award voting:

Year

Winner

Runner-up

Margin

2021

Wan’Dale Robinson

Sydney McLaughlin

74

2020

John Schlarman

Rhyne Howard

435

2019

Lynn Bowden

Lamar Jackson

294

2018

Josh Allen

Benny Snell

137

2017

Justin Thomas

Lamar Jackson

225

2016

Lamar Jackson

Tyler Ulis

1,041

2015

American Pharoah

John Calipari

897

2014

AJ Reed

Aaron Harrison

647

2013

Rick Pitino

Tom Jurich

135

2012

Anthony Davis

John Calipari

346

2011

Kenneth Faried

John Calipari

9

2010

John Wall

Randall Cobb

93

2009

John Calipari

Angel McCoughtry

39

2008

Kenny Perry

J.B. Holmes

171

2007

Tyson Gay

Andre Woodson

119

2006

Brandon Webb

Bobby Petrino

169

2005

Shaun Alexander

J.B. Holmes

249

2004

Stefan LeFors

Tayshaun Prince

43

2003

Kenny Perry

Tubby Smith

33

2002

Valley Sports

Derek Abney

42

2001

Eddie Eviston

Tom Jurich

73

2000

John L. Smith

Bill Cronin

243

1999

James Whalen Jr.

Chris Redman

27

1998

Tubby Smith

Tim Couch

5

1997

Tim Couch

Hal Mumme

174

1996

Rick Pitino

W.T. Young

606

1995

Tim Couch

Moe Williams

270

1994

Jenny Hansen

Pat Day

81

1993

Jamal Mashburn

Rick Pitino

357

1992

The Unforgettables

Rick Pitino

77

1991

Cawood Ledford

Kevin Donley

325

1990

Rick Pitino

Howard Schnellenberger

87

1989

David Roselle

Jerry Claiborne

41

1988

Richie Farmer

Pat Riley

47

1987

Phil Simms

Mark Higgs

303

1986

Denny Crum

Eddie Sutton

23

1985

Kenny Walker

Danny Sullivan

121

1984

Mary T. Meagher

Jerry Claiborne

230

1983

Jerry Claiborne

A. Ray Smith

166

1982

Roy Kidd

Valerie Still

191

1981

Roy Kidd

Mary T. Meagher

22

Note: The award was known as Kentucky Sportsman of the Year from 1981-2015.

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