LEXINGTON, Ky. (FOX 56) – Dayton native Mike Pratt, 73, died Thursday, after a fight with colon cancer.
Pratt was a University of Kentucky Athletics Hall of Famer and a color analyst for UK Sports Network Men’s Basketball.
“We lost a family member, a part of the Kentucky family and a friend. If you ever had the pleasure of meeting Mike Pratt, you knew what a special person he was,” UK Head Coach John Calipari said. “Mike was a dear friend to me and was an integral part in helping me become head coach here. Ellen and I will forever be grateful to him for his support and kindness. We should all be thankful that he was in our lives. Mike knew that the University and the Big Blue Nation loved him, and they never forgot what he did as a player and then later as a connection for the program. I’m going to miss him.”
He played under legendary head coach Adolph Rupp from 1967 to 1970. During his four seasons with the Wildcats, Pratt was part of a legendary trio, including Dan Issel and Mike Casey.
The 6 feet 4 inch forward averaged 16.8 points and 8.9 rebounds per game in his career games at UK. Pratt was 71-12 and helped lead the Wildcats to three SEC championship titles and two elite eight appearances.
He was inducted into the UK Athletics Hall of Fame in 2009 and the Kentucky Sports Hall of Fame in 2010. He finished his career with 1,359 points and 718 rebounds.
Pratt’s best performance came on Dec. 27, 1969, when he scored a career-high 42 points to go with eight rebounds and a perfect 10 for 10 from the free-throw line.
Following his basketball playing and coaching days, Pratt transitioned to broadcasting in 1985, working with the Charlotte Hornets television network, ESPN, and FOX Sports South.
Pratt answered the call to return to his old Kentucky home in 2001 and has been courtside for UK basketball for the UK Sports Network alongside the “Voice of the Wildcats” Tom Leach.
“My heart is broken,” Leach said. “He was more brother than broadcaster partner to me and producer Jim Barnhart through so many good times. We loved him just like the Big Blue Nation did. He was an outstanding basketball analyst, but an even better husband, father, grandfather and friend.”
Pratt has been on the airwaves for 558 wins, culminating in calling Kentucky’s eighth national championship win in 2012.
“Mike Pratt has been part of the fabric of UK Athletics for more than a half-century,” said Mitch Barnhart, UK Director of Athletics. “As an All-America and All-SEC player, Mike played a significant role in our basketball history. For the last two decades, he brought our games to life with his insightful commentary on our radio broadcasts. He will be missed by the Big Blue Nation and our sympathies are with his wife, Marcia, and their family and friends.”
Overall, Pratt was on the call for eight SEC regular-season titles, eight SEC championships, nine elite eights, and four final fours.
“Mike Pratt made everyone feel like a friend,” Kim Shelton, JMI Sports President, UK Sports and Campus Marketing, said. “His passion and honesty paired with his perspective as a former player, coach and scout brought an authentic insight to our fans. Everyone at the UK Sports Network feels lucky to have worked beside and know Mike. When you heard Mike Pratt there was never a doubt he loved Kentucky basketball and there is no doubt we love Mike Pratt. Our prayers are with Mike’s family.”
Pratt is survived by his wife, Marcia Schmidt Pratt, his brother Patrick and sister-in-law Andrea, his daughter Tamaryn and son-in-law Jonas Tanenbaum, his son Christopher Pratt and daughter-in-law Amy, and stepchildren Christina Stone and her husband Tyler, Andy Schultz and his wife Kaelin, Tim Schultz and his wife Sarah, as well as 10 grandchildren.
Arrangements to celebrate Pratt’s life are still being made.