Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Lewis W. Cochran, December 17, 1985

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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00:00:06 - Recruiting and academics at the University of Kentucky

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Partial Transcript: Um, it's been awhile since--uh, been a coup--a few weeks, I guess, since we did our last session.

Segment Synopsis: Lewis Cochran talks about his conversation and first impressions of the new football coach at Kentucky, Fran Curci. Next, Cochran talks about the trouble recruiting players for football because of the lack of talent in state. Some of the players recruited lacked in academic areas and had other problems outside of football. Later, he admits that the players cleaned up their act and does not recall any true problems regarding academics and he credits this to strict regulations and monitoring over the team.

Keywords: Academic programs; Boosters; Breaking rules; Ineligibility; Leadership; Recruitment; Schools

Subjects: Campus visits; College athletes; College attendance; College discipline; College football players; College sports--Coaching; College sports--Kentucky; College students.; Universities and colleges.; University of Kentucky--Football

00:08:12 - Exploiting student athletes and releasing information to boosters

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Partial Transcript: But, uh, I think that, uh, in part, it was due to trying to recruit athletic talent...

Segment Synopsis: Cochran talks about boosters and newspapers that exploit students for their bad backgrounds. He believes that it has gotten better but still is a problem. Next, Cochran talks about lack of regulations from the NCAA and says students get what they want from each school. “Loose recruiting” was a bad problem in the 1930s.

Keywords: Athletic conferences; Benefits; Financial support; Football stars; Money; Payments

Subjects: College athletes; College choice; College facilities; College radio stations; College sports--Kentucky; College sports--Scouting; College students.; Universities and colleges.

00:12:29 - Role of academics and athletics at the University of Kentucky

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Partial Transcript: And then of course, uh, the relationshee--relationship between President Singletary and Coach Curci...

Segment Synopsis: Cochran describes the relationship between UK president Singletary and Coach Curci at the university and the time they spent together outside of work. He talks about when Fran Curci was fired and the effect it had on the academics and athletics of the university. Cochran strongly believes that athletics play zero role in the academic programs and they both serve different purposes. Cochran finishes off by telling the interviewer how tough it is playing in the SEC and how he wants to model Kentucky after the prestigious schools. Lastly, he talks about funding for the sports at Kentucky and expands on the new rules of Title IX.

Keywords: Academic programs; Coach Fran Curci; Popular; Rivals; Role models; Role of athletics

Subjects: College administrators; College athletes; College attendance; College football players; College presidents; College sports--Coaching; College sports--Kentucky; College students.; Universities and colleges--Administration.; Universities and colleges.; University of Kentucky

00:22:24 - General fund for college athletics

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Partial Transcript: I know at that point there was some general fund money put into women’s athletics.

Segment Synopsis: Cochran talks about the University of Kentucky funding women’s athletics and the different Kentucky universities' rankings in terms of the amount of spending on athletics.

Keywords: General funding; Intercollegiate athletic revenue (1983-1984); Men's athletics; Morehead Honors Program; Women’s athletics

Subjects: College athletes; College sports; College sports for women; College sports--Kentucky; College students.; Universities and colleges--Administration.; Universities and colleges--Finance; Universities and colleges.; University of Kentucky

00:24:16 - Adolph’s Rupp 1952 basketball scandal and the basketball program

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Partial Transcript: Well, let's switch gears from, uh, from football and, uh, go back and pick up a little bit on the basketball again.

Segment Synopsis: Cochran talks about some of the scandals the Kentucky basketball program was involved in. Specifically, Cochran mentions the rumors that Adolph Rupp was friends with gamblers and that some of the athletes would shave points to help them out. He says many people believe that Rupp got off easy and wasn’t held quite accountable for what he did.

Keywords: 1952; Adolph Rupp; Alex Groza; Basketball scandals; Bill Spivey; Gambling; Kentucky Wildcats (Basketball team); Kentucky basketball; Point shaving scandals; Ralph Beard; Trials

Subjects: Basketball coaches--Kentucky; College athletes; College sports; College sports--Coaching; College sports--Corrupt practices; College sports--Kentucky; College students.; Rupp, Adolph, 1901-1977; Universities and colleges.; University of Kentucky; University of Kentucky--Basketball

00:32:58 - Adolph Rupp’s retirement

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Partial Transcript: So you, you weren’t personally involved in any way in, in the, the events at Rupp’s retirement or, or the--any of those types--

Segment Synopsis: Cochran had very little to do with Rupp’s retirement, but he gives his opinion on Rupp and his retirement. He also states that Rupp did not handle it very well.

Keywords: Administrative positions; Adolph Rupp; Age; Dismissal; Joe B. Hall; Retirement

Subjects: Basketball coaches--Kentucky; College sports; College sports--Coaching; College sports--Kentucky; Rupp, Adolph, 1901-1977; Universities and colleges.; University of Kentucky; University of Kentucky--Basketball

00:35:23 - Season tickets / Construction of Rupp Arena

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Partial Transcript: Did you have much contact with Joe Hall?

Segment Synopsis: Cochran talks about his season UK basketball tickets. He talks about the proposal to build Rupp Arena.

Keywords: Arenas; Basketball games; Building; Debts; Football season; Income; Seating capacity; Tickets; Vice presidents

Subjects: College administrators; College department heads; College facilities.; College sports; College sports--Kentucky; Universities and colleges.; University of Kentucky; University of Kentucky--Basketball; University of Kentucky--Football

00:42:36 - Construction of the Joe B. Hall Wildcat lodge

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Partial Transcript: Let's, uh--I don't think this'll take too much longer on the, uh, on the topic of athletics...

Segment Synopsis: Cochran talks about the controversy surrounding the building of the Joe B. Hall Wildcat Lodge, a dormitory for basketball players. He talks about how some coaches wanted to keep their players together in the dorms and others did not.

Keywords: Finances; Fraternity houses; Joe B. Hall Wildcat Lodge; Kentucky basketball; Kentucky football; Kitten Lodge

Subjects: College facilities.; College sports; College sports--Kentucky; Universities and colleges--Finance; Universities and colleges.; University of Kentucky; University of Kentucky--Basketball; University of Kentucky--Football

00:45:24 - Naming of buildings

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Partial Transcript: Was the problem with the Wildc--the Joe B. Hall Wildcat Lodge basically that, uh, not later with the NCAA, but earlier when the name went up on it and the mystery with it being taken down in the middle of the night?

Segment Synopsis: Cochran talks about the rumors of the Joe B. Hall Wildcat Lodge's name being taken down in the middle of the night, and the issues of naming the building. He talks about the policy of not naming a building after a living person, and the many issues they had in the process. He also talks about the disagreement the faculty had in naming the chemistry and physics building.

Keywords: Anonymous letters; Athletics; Buildings; Chemistry; Critics; Dr. John Oswald; Focus; Frank Peterson Building; Jack Oswald; Joe B. Hall Wildcat Lodge; Medical centers; Naming; National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA); Physics; Policies; Seaton Center; The Chemistry-Physics Building

Subjects: College buildings; College facilities.; College sports; College sports--Kentucky; Student housing; Universities and colleges--Administration.; Universities and colleges.; University buildings; University of Kentucky; University of Kentucky--Basketball

00:53:07 - Consideration of a football dormitory

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Partial Transcript: We got a little off, off track there, but it all came back around to football.

Segment Synopsis: Cochran talks about the consideration of a football dorm. He talks about how it would be nearly impossible for a football dorm to be completed due to the involvement of the NCAA.

Keywords: Destruction; Dormitories; Dorms; Football; Football dorms; Fraternity houses; Influences; Informed; Joe B. Hall Wildcat Lodge; National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA)

Subjects: College administrators; College athletes; College facilities.; College sports; College sports--Kentucky; Football; Football players; Universities and colleges--Finance; Universities and colleges.; University of Kentucky; University of Kentucky--Football

00:54:30 - Cliff Hagan / Athletic directors

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Partial Transcript: What were your impressions of Cliff Hagan as, uh, as, uh, Athletic Director?

Segment Synopsis: Cochran talks about his impression of Cliff Hagan. He talks about the rules and responsibilities of the athletic director at the university. He talks about the university never having an athletic director that adequately represented the university’s interest.

Keywords: Athletic directors; Athletic programs; Athletics; Basketball coaches; Bernie Shively; Cliff Hagan; Coaches; Faculty; Football coaches; Guidance; Harry Lancaster; Kentucky Athletic Board; Salary; Sports; University; University interests

Subjects: Basketball coaches--Kentucky; Coaches (Athletics); College athletes; College department heads; College sports--Coaching; College sports--Kentucky; College sports.; University of Kentucky--Sports--History

00:58:11 - Athletic director’s control over basketball and football coaches

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Partial Transcript: How much leverage can a, an Athletic Director at UK have over the football and basketball coach?

Segment Synopsis: Cochran talks about the control the Athletic Director has over the coaches of the major sports. He talks about the athletic director being able to control all sports with support from the Athletic Board and president of the university.

Keywords: Athletic Association; Athletic directors; Cliff Hagan; Coaches; Control; Guidance; Kentucky Athletic Board; President of the University; Sports; Support; Teams

Subjects: Basketball coaches--Kentucky; Coaches (Athletes); Coaches (Athletics); College administrators; College athletes; College department heads; College sports--Coaching; College sports--Kentucky; College sports.; University of Kentucky--Sports--History

01:00:36 - History of University of Kentucky athletics and academics

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Partial Transcript: Well, it seems interesting from our conversation today and last time about athletics...

Segment Synopsis: Cochran talks about the athletic and academic programs at UK. He says they are not connected very much at all and have little to do with each other. He says that this is not a good thing for the university. 

Keywords: Academics; Athletics; Eligibility; History; Relationship

Subjects: College admission offers; College athletes; College sports; College sports--Kentucky; College students.; Football players; Professional sports; Universities and colleges--Administration.; Universities and colleges.; University of Kentucky; University of Kentucky--Basketball

01:07:53 - Effect of the Toyota plant in Central Kentucky

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Partial Transcript: That, that thought reminds me of something that--we have a little bit of tape left on this side...

Segment Synopsis: Cochran discusses his opinion on the new Toyota plant that is coming to Central Kentucky. They talk about the positive and negative effects of the plant for UK students. It will offer many jobs for them. Cochran talks about the closing of other plants in Kentucky due to finances. There had been many plants across Kentucky that struggled financially and they discuss where the money was coming from since they did not have it. They hope Toyota goes differently.

Keywords: Community; Companies; Financial support; Jobs; Plants; University of Kentucky

Subjects: College environment; College publicity; College students.; Lexington (Ky.); Universities and colleges--Finance; University of Kentucky

01:17:10 - Universities lobbying the legislature and formula funding

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Partial Transcript: Will you be in the--at the legislature lobbying for K State?

Segment Synopsis: Cochran discusses whether he will be lobbying for Kentucky State University in the legislature this year. He will not but he thinks it will be an unproductive meeting. He also believes they will only be discussing financial issues and bonds.

Keywords: Bonds; Funding; Legislature; Renovation; Salary

Subjects: College administrators; College benefactors; College facilities.; College teachers--Political activity; Universities and colleges--Administration.; Universities and colleges--Finance; University of Kentucky

01:19:25 - University of Kentucky Library financials and salaries

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Partial Transcript: Um, Paul announced the other day that, uh, UK library median salaries have now fallen to third from the bottom.

Segment Synopsis: Cochran and the interviewer talk about the decline of the UK Library based off of its salaries. If UK wants to reach its full potential, it will need to hire about 200 more faculty members. UK has a problem with rising and falling in rankings, not staying consistent.

Keywords: Benchmarks; Legislature; Library; Salaries; Staff

Subjects: College administrators; College benefactors; College facilities.; College teachers--Salaries, etc.; Universities and colleges--Administration.; Universities and colleges--Faculty.; Universities and colleges--Finance; University of Kentucky; University of Kentucky. Libraries