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UK To Honor Adolph Rupp, Joe B. Hall Championship Teams

The 1978 Championship team will also be honored.

1948-1949 Kentucky Wildcats

A newly formed reunion committee at the University Of Kentucky is going to honor several UK teams from the past. Plans and dates are not complete at this time.

Kentucky is going to honor the championship teams of legendary coach Adolph Rupp sometime this year.

The 1978 National Champion team will also be honored.

Here is a full list of the teams to be honored.

  • 1978 men’s basketball team – Captured UK’s fifth men’s basketball national championship as well as the SEC regular-season title
  • Adolph Rupp’s national championship teams (1948, ’49, ’51, ‘58) – Kentucky’s first four men’s basketball national champions also combined for four regular-season SEC championships and two SEC Tournament crowns
  • 2006-08 football teams – Won three straight bowl games for the first time in school history
  • 1988 baseball team – Came within one win of becoming the only team in school history to advance to the College World Series
  • 1987 and ’88 volleyball teams – Captured the program’s two most recent SEC regular-season and tournament titles
  • 1988 men’s tennis team – Advanced to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Championships, tied for the best finish in school history
  • 1986 and 1988 women’s golf teams – Finished fifth at the NCAA Championships in 1986, the best finish in school history, and 10th in 1988

Rupp won four championships as the coach of UK. He lead the nation in titles for many years until the UCLA teams of the 60’s eclipsed his total.

Kentucky was the dominant team in college basketball in the late 40’s and early 50’s. The Rupp led Cats won titles in 1948, 1949 and 1951. The 25-5 Cats were ranked #3 in the nation in 1950 having won the SEC and the SEC Tournament. But the NCAA did not invite UK to participate that year. The story was they felt the sport needed a different champion.

UK also had an undefeated season in 1954 but the NCAA ruled that the graduate students playing for the Cats were ineligible for the tournament. Coach Rupp declined to participate in the tournament without his graduate student players. The ruling was in effect a punishment for the point shaving scandal of the early 50’s but the NCAA never actually made that claim. No other team has ever had graduate students excluded from play in the tournament.

The 1978 Cats were coached by Joe B. Hall, who had been a long time assistant to Rupp before taking over when Rupp retired.

The Cats of the late 40’s, dubbed the “Fab 5” by the media, featured a balanced attack that included Alex Groza, Ralph Beard and Wallace “Wah Wah” Jones. Jones was among the most talented players for the Cats and Beard was described by former Indiana coach Bob Knight as. “...the Michael Jordan of his time.” But it was Groza that won the Helms National Player Of The Year award.

The core of the UK team also played for the US National Team winning the gold medal in the 1948 Olympics along with members of several club teams. Rupp was an assistant coach for that team.

Rupp’s Cats also won the title in 1958. That team, nicknamed the “Fiddlin’ Five” by Rupp, was led All American Vernon Hatton, Johnny Cox and John Crigler.

The 1978 title team was the sole title won by Hall. Many considered the job of following the “Baron Of The Bluegrass” (Rupp) to be a challenge no one could live up to.

The ‘78 team was led by All American and Helms National Player Of The Year, Jack “Goose” Givens. Givens shared the court with fellow All Americans Rick Robey and Kyle Macy.