Adolph Rupp Biography
When it comes to college basketball, Kentucky is one of the most storied programs in all of the country. Kentucky has been playing basketball for over 100 years, but its tradition and success can be traced all the way back to a man known as "Baron of the Bluegrass."
Adolph Frederick Rupp was born September 2, 1901 in the town of Halstead, Kansas. He first became interested in basketball as a child. When he reached high school he played basketball for Halstead High School.
After graduating high school, Rupp went to The University of Kansas. He was a member of the men's basketball team and worked part time at the student cafe to help pay for college. As a member of the basketball team from 1919-1923 he was coached by another coaching great in Forrest "Phog" Allen. Rupp learned from not only Allen, but also serving as an assistant coach was the man who invented the game, Dr. James Naismith.
Upon leaving Kansas, Rupp began coaching at the high school level. In 1926 Rupp became the basketball coach at Freeport High School in Freeport, Illinois. He would serve as the men's coach until 1930. He would end up with a record of 66-21. In 1929 his team ended the year with a third place finish in the state tournament.
Thanks to wikipedia.org for the picture.
After the 1929-1930 season, Rupp was hired as the head coach for the University of Kentucky. He would be the head coach for the next 41 seasons until he retired in 1972. He did not retire on his own at the age of 70, but was forced to do so because at the time that was mandatory retirement age for all employees of the University of Kentucky.
Before he retired, Rupp had built his legacy at Kentucky.
During his time at Kentucky his record was 876-190 for a 82 winning percentage. His winning percentage was even better in conference play with a record of 397-75 for 84%. He would retire with the most wins in college basketball history. He would hold the record until 1997 when he was passed by another former Kansas player under Coach "Phog" Allen, North Carolina's Dean Smith.
Kentucky would win 27 SEC regular season titles and 13 SEC Tournament titles under Rupp. Rupp's Wildcats won the 1946 NIT title. Kentucky would go on to win the NCAA Championship in 1948, 1949, 1951, and 1958.
Thanks to Tennessee Journalist at flickr.com for the picture.
But it would be a NCAA runner-up finish that changed college basketball in 1966. That was the year that an all-white starting five for Kentucky would play an all-black starting five for Texas Western. in the 1966 NCAA championship game. Texas Western would win the game 72-65. Texas Western became the first school to win a major college title with an all-black starting line up.
Since his death in 1977, Rupp's legacy has taken the hardest hit as he was looked upon as a racist. He did not recruit his first black player until Tom Payne came to Kentucky in 1969. By which Kentucky was the last SEC team to have a black player.
Whether how history views him on that level, there is no doubt that as a basketball coach Adolph Rupp will go down as one of the greatest coaches in college basketball history.
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