Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
Kentucky Basketball Hall of Famer Mike Pratt died Thursday at the age of 73.
Per Jon Hale of the Louisville Courier Journal, Pratt had cancer that spread to his liver, jaw and back.
Pratt played three seasons for the Wildcats from 1967-70. He was named to the All-SEC first team in each of his final two years with the program.
Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari issued a statement about Pratt in the wake of his death, via Tyler Thompson of On3.com:
“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. 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.”
According to Hale, Pratt was on the coaching search committee in 2009 that eventually led to Calipari being hired by the program.
After going undrafted, Pratt spent two seasons playing in the ABA with the Kentucky Colonels. He moved into coaching at the college ranks in 1975 when Lee Rose hired him as an assistant at Charlotte.
When Rose left the 49ers to go to Purdue, Pratt was promoted to head coach. He went 56-52 in four seasons with the program before being fired after the 1981-82 campaign.
Pratt returned to his alma mater in 2001 to do color commentary for Wildcats games alongside Tom Leach on the UK Radio Network. The duo remained together even as Pratt underwent treatment when he was first diagnosed with colon cancer in 2019.
Pratt was inducted into the Kentucky Athletics Hall of Fame in 2009. He averaged 16.8 points, 8.8 rebounds and 3.5 assists in 81 games as a player for the Wildcats.