A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

UK coaches have served as father figures to many players — on and off the court — for decades

By Keith Taylor Kentucky Today College coaches are charged with more than just teaching their respective sports. They also serve as mentors to student-athletes, many of whom are thousands of miles away from home. Throughout history, the University of Kentucky has had some coaches who have served as a father figure to their players and juggled managing the team on and off the court and the field with...

Jamie Vaught: Remember the UK guy picked before Michael Jordan? Sam Bowie always a class act

(Editor’s Note: During our national COVID-19 crisis, longtime sports columnist Jamie H. Vaught will be writing about the ex-Wildcats who were featured in one of his first four books on UK basketball, using excerpts that were published in his out-of-print volumes. His latest and fifth book, titled “Chasing the Cats: A Kentucky Basketball Journey,” was released in late February 2020.) It was national...

Jamie Vaught: UK hoops rivalry with Tennessee has produced numerous memorable battles

Over the years, there have been numerous memorable Kentucky-Tennessee basketball battles. In this heated rivalry series, UK fans will remember UT coaches or stars like Ray Mears, Bernard King, Ernie Grunfeld, Rodney Woods, Dale Ellis, Don DeVoe, to name several. They all gave Kentucky coaches Adolph Rupp and Joe B. Hall plenty of disappointments. Both of them had a hard time competing against Mears,...

Jamie Vaught: Sharing memories of former Wildcats coach Joe B. Hall as he celebrates his 90th birthday

As you’ll recall, former Kentucky basketball coach Joe B. Hall recently celebrated his 90th birthday. He is a beloved celebrity in the Big Blue Nation. He was coaching the Wildcats when I was a student at the University of Kentucky back in the late 1970s. And, through my sportswriting career, I have lots of good memories of Coach Hall and interviewed him a few times. I’ll share some of my favorite...

Jamie Vaught: Many years later, Dan Issel still an all-time favorite among Kentucky basketball fans

This month will mark the beginning of my 43rd year in covering the storied University of Kentucky basketball program as a sportswriter. Yes, you read it right. It will be 43 years when the 2018-19 campaign ends during the March Madness. It’s been that long and my press row colleagues at Rupp Arena are sure getting younger every year. Hard to believe, huh? During the mid-1970s, I began covering...

A decade later, John Calipari says Kentucky still the “greatest of them all”

Kentucky men’s basketball coach John Calipari addresses the crowd during Big Blue Madness Friday night at Rupp Arena. Calipari is entering his 10th season as coach of the Wildcats. (Kentucky Today/Tammie Brown) By Keith Taylor Kentucky Today It’s been a decade since John Calipari made his first appearance at Big Blue Madness and the Kentucky coach looked ahead to his second decade Friday night. Prior...

Present and past: Calipari enjoys having former UK coach Joe B. Hall around program

By Keith Taylor Kentucky Today John Calipari always has someone watching his back and he doesn’t mind former Kentucky coach Joe B. Hall lurking over his shoulder, especially behind the scenes. “He’s been a great supporter of mine,” Calipari said. “(I) love seeing him in the gym. Love hearing what his thoughts. I’ve been blessed that I’ve had guys that have never tried to overwhelm me...

Former Louisville basketball coach Crum hospitalized in Alaska following mild stroke

Former Louisville basketball coach Denny Crum was hospitalized in Alaska on Wednesday after having a mild stroke, WFPL reported Thursday. Denny Crum Crum, 80, was fishing when the incident occurred, his wife, WFPL radio host Susan Sweeney Crum, told the radio station. He was taken to Providence Hospital in Anchorage where WFPL reported Crum is “doing well” and undergoing tests. Crum was...

Rosters released for 2017 UK Legends Charity Game — excluding current NBA players

Rosters for the 2017 UK Legends Game, which will be held Aug. 25 in Rupp Arena in conjunction with the UK Alumni Charity Game, were announced Monday. Twenty players are expected to suit up for the Legends Game at 7 p.m., with others, including current NBA players, playing in the UK Alumni Charity Game at 8 p.m. Per NBA rules, the University of Kentucky cannot confirm any current NBA players participating...

UK Athletics to honor 14 elite teams of the past as chosen by reunion committee during upcoming season

UK Athletics will officially honor 14 teams across six programs during the 2017-18 athletics season, as selected by a newly formed reunion committee UK has established to honor elite teams of the past. Over the course of the 2017-18 season, the 2006-08 Kentucky football teams, the 1978 men’s basketball team, Adolph Rupp’s men’s basketball national championship teams (1948, ’49, ’51 and ’58),...

Jamie Vaught: He may be a bit biased, but Grevey likes watching former Wildcats playing in the NBA

For many years, Kevin Grevey has worked as a scout for NBA’s Los Angeles Lakers. And the ex-Kentucky Wildcat All-American said in a recent interview with this columnist that he is having more fun following NBA as the league is now loaded with former UK hoops standouts. “I love my Kentucky Wildcats,” said Grevey who played as a 6-5 forward at Kentucky and graduated in 1975. And that could be a...

Wildcats’ 1996 National Championship team commemorated on newest Maker’s Mark label

With a growing number of student-athletes from 22 varsity sports teams now spending most of their time on the south side of the University of Kentucky’s campus where their practice facilities are located, the Center for Academic and Tutorial Services (CATS) – the first-of-its-kind support program in the nation – has successfully expanded to serve them. The CATS expansion last fall within the...

Keven Moore: Looking back on magical time, terrific memories at 35th Lafayette High School reunion

The 15th of October marked the first day of high school basketball practice in the state of Kentucky. It also marked the day some 38 years earlier when 12 young men — arguably one of the best high school teams in the history of Kentucky — laced up their sneakers to pursue the coveted Kentucky State Championship, led by Jock Sutherland one of the most colorful coaches ever to wear a whistle...

Jamie Vaught: UK hoops past and present, former LSU boss Brown believes Hall deserved more credit

As you may recall, ex-LSU basketball coach Dale Brown discussed NCAA’s hypocrisy and the new book about the bureaucratic organization in my column last week. In an exclusive interview which was held last month when Kentucky and LSU clashed at Rupp Arena, the colorful personality also talked about three of UK’s basketball coaches, past and present. His favorite story about legendary Adolph Rupp,...

Maker’s Mark, Keeneland team to support UK’s unique Center for Academic and Tutorial Services

An expansion of the University of Kentucky’s Center for Academic and Tutorial Services (CATS) – the first-of-its-kind support program in the nation – will open this summer on the south side of the Lexington campus. Fundraising for the center, which will be located within the new football training complex adjacent to Commonwealth Stadium, is being augmented by an initiative announced by Athletics...

Keith Taylor: Joe B. Hall’s conditioning program primed UK for memorable NCAA run in 1966

Joe B. Hall’s first season as an assistant coach at the University of Kentucky was a memorable one. More than 50 years later, it’s a season he has never forgotten. Hall, who went on to become coach of the Wildcats six years following the 1965-66 campaign, was ahead of the curve at the time and it was his devotion to a preseason conditioning program that helped Kentucky begin a memorable...

Jamie Vaught: Return of SEC Tournament in 1979 still provides lots of memories of Cats’ valiant run

There have been numerous flashbacks or memories in the past SEC men’s tournaments, but the 1979 tourney in Birmingham, Ala., will always be a special one to me for three reasons. — It marked the renewal of the conference tournament after an absence of nearly three decades. The last league tourney had taken place in 1952 in Louisville where Adolph Rupp’s Wildcats defeated LSU 44-43 in...

Jamie Vaught: Top U.S. court system administrator Duff relishes history he shares with Big Blue

While Jim Duff is probably better known for his current role as the top administrator of the U.S. Courts system in Washington, D.C., some UK fans would be pleasantly surprised to learn that he also played basketball as a member of legendary coach Adolph Rupp’s program. Duff played for one of UK’s most famous basketball teams in history — the 1971-72 freshman squad which posted a perfect...

Looking back: Larry Conley, Joe B. Hall haven’t forgotten UK’s memorable tourney run in 1966

By Keith Taylor KyForward senior sports writer Larry Conley hasn’t forgotten his last collegiate basketball game. “It seems like yesterday,” he said. Although nearly 50 years have passed since the Wildcats lost to Texas Western (UTEP) in the 1966 national championship game, Conley still remembers the pain he felt following the 72-65 setback. Adolph Rupp led Kentucky to the 1966 NCAA Championship...

Jamie Vaught: Former Wildcats’ coach Yow recalls fond memories of UK, Lexington … and Joe B. Hall

Remember the old days when UK women’s basketball team, then known as the Lady Kats, had freshman star players like Valerie Still, Lea Wise and Patty Jo Hedges, a group who helped 14th-ranked Kentucky finish with a remarkable 24-5 mark during the memorable 1979-80 season? And their head coach was 29-year-old Debbie Yow, who is now athletics director at North Carolina State, a post she has held...