Each year, the Kentucky -based Maker's Mark bourbon distillery distributes a limited edition bottle featuring a different Bluegrass State sports icon on the label, bottles that are then sold to benefit charity. Tim Couch has been honored, as has Rick Pitino, Rich Brooks, Charlie Strong and others.
And so it's no great surprise that popular second-year Kentucky coach Mark Stoops has been chosen to grace the bottle in 2014. Kentucky, Maker's Mark, and co-sponsor Keeneland thoroughbred race course announced Stoops' involvement Tuesday, with proceeds going to the Gill Heart Institute at UK Healthcare.
“I'm certainly honored to be on the label of this year's bottle, especially with the proceeds helping to bring ever-better cardiac care to the people of Kentucky,” Stoops said. “I've been here long enough to appreciate both the significance of the Gill Heart Institute's work and the unique role this commemorative bottle plays to help support it. I'm deeply grateful to Keeneland and Maker's Mark for making this happen.”
The announcement noted that Stoops was particularly interested in boosting the Institute's work considering his "keen awareness of the importance of cardiac care" after his father's death at age 54 from a heart attack.
Via the Kentucky athletics site, here's the bottle:
Maker's Mark will issue 10,000 of the numbered limited-edition bottles, with sales beginning this Friday. With the 2014 sale representing the third year proceeds have gone to the Gill Heart Insitute, Maker's Mark and Keeneland are hopeful the total donation across all three sales will top $500,000.