Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Adolph Rupp

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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UNKNOWN SPEAKER: Number nineteen in the UPI.

UNKNOWN SPEAKER 1: Is that where we are now? Well, it's good to see that we broke the top twenty, but we feel like our team certainly earned our position, and hopefully next year we can be a little better.


[Pause in recording]

RUPP: So we had ----------(??) left. And of course on--we fouled out their leading forward, but we had ten fouls on him, because we got Lee, and we got Givens. So, hell, we just got them outnumbered.

RICE: Just, you know--

RUPP: All right, now then, what are we talking about?

RICE: The pros.

RUPP: Well, I've had some experience with pro ranks, because I think that I was the first one in the coaching profession that really got hurt when the pros took Leroy Edwards in 1933, and we were on the verge 00:01:00of having a great team. We had a great team the year before, we ranked number one, and we played New York University that was number two, and they beat us on a disputed play in Madison Square Garden before a capacity crowd. The next year, of course, the pros came in and offered Edwards two hundred dollars a month and a place to live, and of course we couldn't compete with that. He got married in the meantime, and so he had to support his family. He told me, at the time, that if we'd guarantee him a degree, and his living expenses, he'd come back here. Well, there's no way that we could guarantee anyone a degree, and there's no way I thought I would, because that's not the object 00:02:00of this scholarship business. We didn't have scholarships at the time, let's keep that straight right quick. The boys had to hustle for themselves. They didn't have cars the way they've got now. A boy comes to school here, he has a car freshman year, a good one. Well, no one on the squad had a car at that time. I was barely able to pay for one myself. In fact, the car I had, I owed five hundred dollars on it at the time. Well, anyway, that was the first in-roads I believe the pros made on the college ranks. There wasn't much said at the time about it, because they didn't think a great deal about it. But they're thinking about those things now. Well, after I was retired here at the University of Kentucky, I was retired, and I got a call. One morning I was up in the bathroom shaving, and my wife called me from downstairs and said, "You've got a long distance call." "Well," I said, 00:03:00"tell them to call back later." And she said, "Well, this man insists on talking to you." "Well," I said, "I'm shaving, and taking a bath." I said, "Tell him to go to hell." I said, "I'm not that interested in talking to anybody. If he can't call back, forget about it." "Well," she said, "it's Charlie Finley." Well, that kind of rung a bell right quick with me. And I--she--I said, "Is he from Chicago?" And she said, "Yes." "Well," I said, "I believe this makes sense." So I got on the phone, and he said he'd like to meet with me and discuss going with him on the Memphis franchise. "Well," I said, "at the present time," I said, "I've got a retirement plan at the university, and I've 00:04:00got a consultant's fee at the university, and I'm not particularly interested in the professional basketball." "Well," he said, "I'll make it interesting for you." He said, "Could I meet you in Lexington sometime?" I said, "Well, Mr. Finley, the minute you come here to Lexington," I said, "This is a small town, everybody in town will know you're here, and they'll be suspicious. Let's meet in Louisville." I said, "That's more convenient for you, and we'll meet over there." He said, "All right," he said, "Could I meet you there tomorrow?" I said, "Yes," I said, "What time?" And he told--gave me his flight number. So, I had Claude Vaughan drive me over there, and we were waiting in the airport when his plane got in. I didn't know him, and he didn't know me, but I looked at him and I figured that was Charlie, and he looked at me and figured that was Adolph Rupp, and so I said, "Well," I 00:05:00said, "Let's go over to the Executive Inn," and on the way over there, I said, "No," I said, "This is bad." I said, "The Colonels have their headquarters at the Executive Inn, and they'll know about this in a minute." I said, "Let's go downtown." So we went downtown to--oh, I don't remember the place now. It's a big place downtown. Jeepers, what's the name of that? Stouffer's Inn. Stouffer's Inn. And we sat there and talked until about three o'clock. He said, "I like this arrangement," he said, "Because it's going to enable me to get back and see my team play tonight." Well, I--we got together and we talked and talked, and he said, "I don't want you to do a lot down there," he said, "I want you to be my president." And he said, "I want you to go down and take charge of the office." "Well," I said, "I don't know a 00:06:00lot about this professional basketball." "well," he said, "you don't have to know anything," he said. "I'll take care of most of that." Well, I found out that was correct. So, we talked on the phone several times, and we agreed on a salary that I never thought I'd ever get. And so I reported to Memphis, and immediately he had big ideas. He had a brochure printed in colors, and everything else, and we sent out, I believe, close to one hundred thousand of those things. Well, the mailing on that was tremendous. And, we spent hours and hours and hours. Even the president, that was me, and the owner, that was Finley, sat there and folded and folded until late at night, and then we all went downtown and got something to eat. And, I tell you, I can understand why that man has been a success in life. In as far as 00:07:00finances are concerned, except just in recent years. He's a tremendous driver, and he's alert on everything. But I found out I had very little to do down there. I talked with him one day, and I says, "I don't know, Mr. Finley," I always called him Mr. Finley. Everyone in the office, including the girls, called him Charlie. But I called him Mr. Finley. And, I guess because I was getting paid the most, that's--I respected him that much. Well anyway, he--I said, "I don't know if you know it, but," I said, "You've got a couple of million dollar kids on this ball club." He said, "The hell I have." I said, "You sure have." I said, "You've got this Newman boy that's played for you, and you've got a guy over here from Florida that's been signed for a million dollars, and a lot of other things," and I--he said, "Well 00:08:00what's his name?" And I told him. He said, "What could he do?" I said, "Nothing." I said, "He only played seven games for the university part time this last year, and I don't think he can do anything." He said, "Get rid of him." I said, "Well, that isn't going to be an easy job." But he said, "Try your best to get rid of him." I said, "We can't stand players that cost that kind of money that are untried." Well, I sat there, and finally, I believe it was the coach Carl Scheer, I believe was the fellow's name. He's a coach over there in North Carolina. Called me one day and he said, "Adolph," he said, "I'd like to talk to you about buying this boy." I said, "No way." I said, "He's 7'2", and he's going to be better than Alcindor." He hadn't changed his name at that time. And--he's Jabbar now. And, I said, "No way." I said 00:09:00good gosh, I don't want to discourage him too much, but I said, this is a guy I'm trying to get rid of. "Well," he said, "Let's talk about trading." Well, he had a couple of fellows over there I was interested in. But I said, "I don't think there's any use to talk about it." I said, "This kid isn't much," but I said, "In a few years he might be the best in the whole business." Well, he called me the next day, and then he called me the next day, and I asked him for two of these players and fifty thousand. Well, he thought that fifty thousand was pretty steep, and I was glad to unload him for almost anything. And finally we agreed on twenty-five thousand and these two players, and we signed the deal, and the kid just vanished, he never reported, even, to the team. And then, of course, they felt that we were under obligation, 00:10:00because the boy didn't report, and I--the thing just died. I don't know how it died. I was glad it died without any legal controversy. But I guess they were glad to get the thing settled too. Well, we had things like that all year. We had the opening night, and we felt we'd have a capacity crowd, and we were certainly shocked when only about four thousand showed up. Memphis is not a professional sports town. I think they proved that a couple of years later when they tried to get a professional basketball--football franchise in there, and they put everything into this. The city and everything. And they brought two teams in for an exhibition game, and they couldn't sell out their stadium. And I think that killed their chances for professional team 00:11:00right there. Well, they lost their baseball franchise, which is a professional franchise, and of course would not support the basketball. I don't know the trouble down there. I always thought that of all the places I'd like to coach, it'd be Memphis. Well, Memphis State does have a good reputation. And, that year, they had capacity crowds to all of their games. And, we just couldn't get them out for some reason or another. We tried every way that we could, but we couldn't get them out. And finally Finley called me, I was out at Halstead, Kansas, visiting my brother, and he said, "You've got a call here from Charlie Finley," and I got on the phone, and it was Charlie, and he said, "Coach," he said, "I've sold the franchise, thank goodness for that." He said, "A bunch from Providence have agreed to buy it." And he 00:12:00said, "Now, do you want to go to Providence?" I said, "No way." I said, "There's no way that I'll go to Providence." And, he said, "Well," he said, "I've got a contract with you for another couple of years," and he said, "I'm going to pay you," and we agreed on a figure then. I told him if I didn't work for him, I didn't want his money. But he said he kept his word on everything that he did, and he said, "I'm going to pay you so much." Well, that never got around to that. He didn't pay that. But anyway, when I was released, at least I thought so, I met with John Y. Brown of the Colonels. And he agreed--we agreed on a contract. And then when the league gave Mr. Finley five days to 00:13:00decide whether he was going to operate the franchise, or whether they were going to take it over, he called me the last day and he said, "I want you to be--" that was late in the afternoon, said, "I want you to be at Memphis tomorrow at eight o'clock in the morning." I said, "Mr. Finley, no way in the world for me to get down to Memphis at eight o'clock in the morning." I said, "There are no planes that will make that kind of a connection." "Well," he said, "Get there anyway." Well I said, "Where do you want me to report?" He said, "Report to practice." "Well," I said, "where's that?" He said, "At the Jewish Community Center." "Well," I said, "I'm under obligation now," I said, "with Mr. Brown here in Louisville." "Well," he said, "We need you over there." "Well," I said, "You released me when you agreed to pay me a certain amount," and I told him what it was. "And you agreed to it." "Well," he said, "I thought at the time that I was out of a deal, but the deal fell through. Now then," he said, "I want you to go to work for me 00:14:00again." Well, I talked to John Y. Brown about the thing, and he said, "No, you stay here with me." And I had a fine relationship with Mr. Finley. He's been involved in some difficulty in his professional baseball team. He sold three players, I think, for around three million dollars during the year, and the commissioner cancelled it. I don't think he can do that. I just don't think that was right at all. Anything you say about Mr. Finley is perfectly all right with me, but then I think he was mistreated on this deal. They always sold players. Babe Ruth was sold. Everybody was sold from that great Philadelphia team of Connie Mack's. Nothing was done about it. But here this man gets a chance to unload these players at three million dollars, or in 00:15:00that neighborhood, I don't remember the exact figure, and they cancel the deal on him. Of course, that's in for litigation now, but I hope Mr. Finley wins it. Then, at the end of the year, all these other six or seven fellows exercised their option and left there, and I think the total crew got around ten million dollars. Well, Mr. Finley's been hurt. I don't care what anybody says. The man's been hurt, and I think should be reimbursed for it. That's my personal opinion. Well, anyway, now I start with the Colonels. I was named vice president of the Colonels, and that wasn't much of a job either. They had the office staff put--well organized--well, it wasn't well organized, it was badly organized. I think what they needed in Louisville was someone to step in there and tell them what to do. There was no one 00:16:00over there that knew what to do. And, all they do is talk on the telephone, and monkey around like that, and we had trouble--we were going to sell a lot of tickets. Well, we didn't sell them. And our crowds just got worse and worse and worse, and then after the Colonels won the championship, which was a great accomplishment, I thought John Y., and Ellie, and all of them thought that the people would really come out the following year and buy season books. Well, they didn't. And I don't understand the people in Louisville. I don't know if they're going to support--they used to have one of the best franchises in baseball over there. It's gone. They never have been considered for a football franchise, and now they let this thing get away from them. And I don't blame Mr. Brown at all for selling--well, he didn't sell it. When the reorganization came, they presented him with a 00:17:00proposition that he didn't feel he could muster. So, he just let the franchise go, and his team was distributed all over the country. I think the big mistake he made is when he sold Issel. I think that was a colossal mistake, because that--there was a popular boy, and he's not only proved to be popular, but he's proved to be a great boy for the Denver Nuggets. I just read in the paper today Denver is leading all the teams in the professional league in attendance at seventeen thousand five hundred, and leading second on attendance away from home around fourteen thousand. So, that franchise is profitable, and I don't think they spent a lot of money on it either. I don't know what they had to pay Issel to get him, but anyway, whatever they paid him, he winds up as the leading center in the league in the all-star game, 00:18:00ahead of Walton, and Jabbar. And that's quite an accomplishment. I'll tell you, he's whipped these two guys whenever he's played them, and the Denver people are just crazy. They've got a sell out every game, and I'm glad to see that. I'm glad to see a franchise like that. The owner and the manager there are great fellows, and I'm glad to see them get along. But professional basketball will go down the drain. Professional football will go down the drain. Professional baseball will go down the drain. When you go out like the Yankees have done, and spend all these millions and millions and millions for players, it 00:19:00makes all the other fellows who are there think, "Well, maybe I'm worth something too." I read in the paper yesterday where this Yankee who hadn't been getting a great deal of money said, "Well, if this guy--" and he's talking about Gullet, "who has his leg in a cast can get two million dollars, by George, I'm worth a few dollars myself, and I'm going to stick for it. If not, I'm going to exercise my option. Well, that can't go on. There's no way that a league can survive under those conditions. When you have to pay a basketball player millions of dollars to sign, I'll tell you, you've got to have a lot of people come in through that gate to pay for that. Because everyone else says, "I'm a better scorer, I'm a better rebounder, I'm a better free-thrower, 00:20:00and this fellow got these millions. I want the same." And basketball won't go for that. And when you take all these guys in football, and you've got to have about forty-four of them, and they all want big salaries, I don't know. Football will come closer to surviving, perhaps, than any other sport. But basketball will not survive, unless they put a limit. And, these owners are going to just have to sit back, and agree, which they can't, because that's a violation of law, that they're only going to pay so much, and no more, and if these boys don't want to play, let them go home and go to pumping gasoline. The same is true, also, of baseball. Baseball can't have attendance of six and seven thousand as they do at most of the games, during the summer 00:21:00months, and then, of course, you've got a guy like this [Freelick] of Cleveland who comes along and packs in fifty thousand. Of course, he's got his eyes on some money now too, but he only got, I think, sixteen, eighteen thousand last year. And he sure drew that in every game that he pitched. But, a fellow like that is worth some money. But when you talk about millions, why hell, the President of the United States doesn't get anywhere near that kind of money and he runs the whole country. And I don't see where an athlete is entitled to that kind of pay. There's no way. I read today in one of the basketball papers that the athletes today, with all the millions they're getting, are not as good as athletes were twenty years ago. That applies to the college level, and to the professional level. The boys then were 00:22:00dedicated. They didn't get all this money. They didn't have these big cars. They didn't run around and have big times and come in early in the morning and then play that afternoon or that night. They simply were dedicated to the game. And the writer of this article, and I'll furnish it if you want it, but then you can get it. It's--said that the dedication that these boys had twenty years ago in the high school ranks, is not the same as it was, because they're all looking forward, now, to their junior year, at signing a big contract. And they're not dedicated to their team, they're dedicated to themselves. And the same is true when they get into college. And, if they have a couple of good years in college, they're going professional anyway, and make the big 00:23:00money while they can. You can't blame the kids.

(Pause in recording)

RUPP: To pay those kind of salaries, I don't blame the boys for taking it. You can't blame the boys. But, of course, they have demanded this kind of money, but the owner finally has to look in his pocket book and say, "This is all I've got, I can't go along with that kind of stuff," and the sooner they get to that the better. But professional sports are headed in the wrong direction today. Unless they turn around, you can forget about them.

RICE: You've turned down some professional coaching jobs.

RUPP: Yes, I have. I've turned down professional coaching jobs. Five of them in the big leagues. And, I turned the first one down in fifty--wait a minute now, I believe in '51. And, I had a chance, and 00:24:00was offered fifty percent of the stock of the Cincinnati franchise that they were establishing, at that time, with my boys, the Olympians. I didn't go for it. Then the boys went for it themselves, and decided that they would do it. But I could have had that, and--

RICE: At Indianapolis?

RUPP: How's that? At Indianapolis, yes. I could have had that from--a commissioner talked to me, and so did the biggest owner in the league.

RICE: Would you have headed to Cincinnati or Indianapolis?

RUPP: Indianapolis. Indianapolis is where I was offered the first job. But I wasn't interested because I was doing very well in college. If you look back there now, we just had three NCAA championship teams, and we were getting along mighty well, and I just--my wife wasn't interested 00:25:00in moving, and I didn't see any reason to move, and I'm glad we stayed.

RICE: Had you turned down--

RUPP: Then I turned down some others. I had an offer two years ago at one of the coaching jobs that now looks like it's the second best in the entire league. And I turned it down. They said, "Name your price and get here and let's go to work." And I've had five offers to coach in the pros, and I've turned them all down.

RICE: Turned down Louisville [Dads], remember? RUPP: Yes, I turned down- -the first one was the Louisville [Dads]. I was making seventy-five hundred here at the university, and they offered me three times that amount if I would come over there and coach the Louisville [Dads]. And, of course, Dr. McVey talked me--Dr. Donovan talked me out of that. And of course gave me a nice raise to stay on, which I did. And I'm not sorry, because that was--that soon faded too, out of the 00:26:00picture, and I'd have been sitting out there without a job.

RICE: Now, you know, you've talked about the original (inaudible] before. How about the pro game through the years? How has it progressed, as you see it?

RUPP: Well, I think basketball has gotten better all the time. Now, the players we had back then, the Fabulous Five that I think was the best basketball team ever put together, they didn't have all the techniques--

(Pause in recording)

RUPP: --today. They had definite patterns of play, and they stuck with those patterns. Today there's very little pattern basketball. It's mainly freelance. You can see these teams that play. You take the team--the game that we witnessed just Sunday night, Tennessee and UCLA played in Atlanta. Well, there were a few patterns used there. Maybe 00:27:00defensive patterns, yes. But when you take eighty-three to one hundred and three, or whatever the score was, there's not much defense there, for some reason or another. And--but it was all fast breaking, and racing up and down the floor by both teams, which surprised me, because I didn't think Tennessee would do that. But they did. So you're getting away from pattern basketball, and you're getting to individual basketball. And that individual basketball comes from the pros. The pros are not pattern teams. They're individual operators, and they get the ball, they work one on one, and clear the floor, and any of those boys now in the--on the pro teams are almost capable of taking you in there one on one and scoring. It's a different kind of basketball in 00:28:00all. But, whether you say it's better now than it was then, yes, the individuals are much, much better than they were back there twenty years ago. I'll say that myself. And, I would say that the attention, the public attention is better. But, I don't know. I don't think the team play is as good.

RICE: How about--just one more question, the pros, say, before the war, when you first came to Kentucky, along between there and World War II, how was the pro game?

RUPP: Well, early, the pro game was confined, mainly to individual teams, like Oshkosh and some of those teams, Indianapolis had a team, Chicago had a team, the three tri-cities had a team, and all these others had teams. Now, at the end of the year they all met in Chicago 00:29:00in a tournament to decide the national championship. And I went up there and attended that. I went up there for mainly one reason, that Leroy Edwards, one of my boys was playing in the--on one of the teams. I believe it was Oshkosh at the time. And, I went up there, and of course, they want me--they asked me to come, and I did. And, I came at my own expense, they didn't pay me anything, because I didn't have any money, I guess, to operate on. And, I came to the game, and the first thing after they got out on the floor, they announced that I was there. Big Leroy just took the ball and threw it up at the basket and looked around, "Where is this fellow?" And, he played a fine ballgame that day, and they won by a nice score. But, it was an elimination 00:30:00tournament, and whoever won that, they were, of course, the world's champions, whatever that means. Doesn't mean anything at all in baseball or anything else. They don't play anyone in the world beside themselves. And, so after the game, as we were going out, Leroy came up and put his arms around me and said, "Coach, if me and you had stuck together, we'd have went places." Well, of course I was willing to stick with him, but he wasn't willing to stick with me. And, so they went on. I don't remember whether they won the tournament in Chicago or not, but they had about three thousand possibly at the game, something like that. And of course that wouldn't be--that wouldn't interest anybody today. High schools draw more than that. But then, the first really pro team, and I don't know what a pro team is, were the Celtics. And they went all through the South and played. They- 00:31:00-for some reason or another they liked to come down here and play, and they spent most of the time down here in the South. And they played in all these arenas. They came in here one time and played. They had a Packard car, and I think there were six of them in it, and as soon as the game was over here, they packed in that car and drove somewhere in North Carolina. And the roads, understand, in those days--

(Tape 1, side 1 ends; side 2 begins)

RICE: --the pro game. I know they played in those old cages. I don't know if you remember that or not.

RUPP: Well they did. They played in--they played in cages, and--

(Pause in recording)

RUPP: All right. On the point spread. I'm--is it running? I'm terribly alarmed about the point spreads that are still published today by about three or four of the publications. I don't know--they're not 00:32:00authentic, at all, by any means, and I've been surprised at the way some of them have made the odds. But at least it gives you something to go on. Now, generally the Greek, I understand, has some score spreads, and of course that means, I presume it does, that those are Las Vegas prices. I'm not sure about that, and I wouldn't say that was right. But at least it doesn't look good to publish that in the paper. And when these newspapers are so hot and bothered and all-fire and hell-bent to eliminate gambling and make sports Simon Pure, then they publish all these things, is a mystery to me. The newspaper is as much to blame as anybody else for all this. Now then, you have the Dunkel spreads, you have other spreads that are published, but Dunkel's been 00:33:00in this thing for a long time. And, I don't think for a minute that he wants to play into the hands of any gamblers. He just thinks, I think, from a newspaper standpoint, that that is about the way the game will come out. I'm not sure what influence that has on gambling. I'm sure, from what I hear, that there's considerable money spent on gambling. You can go to almost any ballgame that you want to and you can hear them tell--say, "I'll take so and so and so many points." Well, that isn't wholesome. I know something about this myself, because as I've said before, little did I know that this thing was taking place 00:34:00back there in the '50's when it finally broke open that some of these fellows were caught. But it's going to happen again. The boys getting all this money, and picking up some change on the side, they can play the game just about the way they want it played. And, I wouldn't be a bit surprised to see another outbreak of scandals one of these days. Because when you say that so and so is supposed to win by so many points, both teams read that. The coaches read it, and all the people that take the paper read it. And I don't think that's a good thing to have in the paper. If these newspapers are going to be so darn Simon Pure about gambling, they sure as hell ought not to publish the 00:35:00gambling odds in the paper. Now, I'm not trying to discourage anyone from making a dollar by running a bookie shop of that kind, if you want to call it that. But that's exactly what it is. And you can't get away from it.

RICE: You know, nobody was more surprised, back then, than guys like you, and Clair Bee at what happened. How did that happen, do you think? Now that you can reflect back over all these years?

RUPP: Well, in going back over the years, I'm surprised that someone wasn't aware of this beside the boys and the gamblers. Little did I expect anything to break out here at Kentucky, because at that particular time we were winning, we'd won the NIT, we'd won two NCAA's, three. And, I'm sure that if we were winning, how could we suspect our 00:36:00boys, when they were making all these fine records, going to Olympics, and everything like that, that they were gambling. What is a guy up at Notre Dame, or Purdue, or Northwestern, or those places thinking about when those teams were getting beat? And, of course, there was some teams that got caught. And then even after it broke, there were some teams that got caught again. But, I just don't understand how a coach can be alive to a thing like this, and pick what's taking place. I'm surprised at some of these scores this year, that--I'm just astonished to see what's taking place. And I don't know whether there is or there isn't. I haven't the slightest idea, because my 00:37:00connection with basketball is about as vague now as it could be. But, when I see these scores and how close they are at times, by teams that are supposed to win by fifteen or twenty or more points, then, of course, you get alarmed. But, as a coach you don't, for the simple reason that your team played badly. They make bad passes, they shoot badly. Well, a kid's got a nice shot out there, and it doesn't go in. Then you wonder, the kid hit seven out of eight the game before, and now he can't make one out of twelve. And, you wonder how a thing like that takes place. Well, that's the way the game is played, there's no question about it. It's just like the guy stepping up there at the plate and striking out three times, and I've seen that happen by some of the best batters in baseball, but you never get suspicious. It's just one of those things that happened.


RICE: "Phog" Allen was always yelling about gambling, even back when you were a freshman at Kansas he was yelling about it.

RUPP: Yes. Yes. Dr. Allen, of course, was a fellow that was--and he got involved in some awful arguments about the thing.

(Pause in recording)

RUPP: --talking about gambling when we were in college. And I don't know if he had any evidence at all or not. But then about 1950 he got pretty loud about this thing. And, he said that he had positive proof, and he named some people, and there was some damage suits, and a few things like that that flew back and forth, but they never were brought to court. Now, Dr. Allen, I don't know where he got his source of information, but he sure was right about some of these things. And he picked some of the teams that were doing it, and I'm surprised that they didn't pay attention to what he was saying. He was violent about 00:39:00gambling on college sports, or sports of any kind. And, I think, was the first one to actually come out and make a crusade on gambling in sports.

RICE: Well, the Garden back then was a--it was acclimated to gambling, apparently.

RUPP: Well, of course, yes, the Garden at that time--I won't say the Garden, I'll say the people that were the patrons of the Garden. They were the ones that were--the ones that really did the damage. The Garden had nothing to do with it, because after the scandals broke, attendance at the Garden just went down to beat the band. And, it cost them hundreds and thousands of dollars, because the teams just couldn't be trusted. And the people wouldn't go. But, you could sit in the stands, which I did several times, at games, and a guy would say, "I'll bet you so and so," and another guy would holler back, said, "I'll take you." And, you could hear it all over the place, and there were just a 00:40:00bunch of folks that all they went to the games was for one particular reason, and that is to gamble on the outcome. They'd bet you on free throws. A boy would have two free throws. A fellow would say, "I bet you so much he misses one." Or he'll miss both. Another guy say, "I'll call you." And I--you could see the money change hands right up there. It was usually small bets, five and ten, or twenty dollars, but it was taking place there, and someone should have caught onto that thing. If these newspaper men were as darn smart in New York as they turned out to be later, they could have gone up there in those stands and sat down and caught this thing and made a full disclosure of the thing long, long before they did. But then after it all broke, then they all became the wise men that said, "We told you so." Well, they 00:41:00didn't tell anybody so. If they'd have told so, there would have been an investigation of the thing.

RICE: Yeah, Dr. Donovan, he always complained, because in all this criticism, nothing was said about the gamblers, and the gambling element. During all this Judge Street business.

RUPP: Yes. Yes. Dr. Donovan complained bitterly about that thing. Because the guys that were really to blame for the thing, there was very little mention about them. It was all trying to pick on the people. And it was the pick on thing from beginning to end that the district attorney and the judges in New York tried to crucify. Some people did their best to do it, and of course, if they'd have caught someone that they wanted to catch, it would have been a tremendous thing. But all the guys that they gave hell to were as innocent as Job 00:42:00in the bible.

RICE: Do you ever think back on Judge Streit, and what he did to us?

RUPP: Yes, I've thought about Judge Streit many times. And, I've forgotten about the thing. Because all he was doing at the time, I'm sure, was trying to get a job as commissioner of basketball the way Judge Landis did of baseball when that scandal broke. And all he was playing for was press, press, press. That's all he wanted. And, he made a bunch of statements that just didn't hold water. And, at the same time, he had a chance to address, I believe it was--I don't remember now, the National Association of Commissioners, or the National--NCAA convention. And, they finally found how windy he 00:43:00was, and they cancelled the whole talk. They wouldn't let him come and appear before him. And, all the time though he was seeking for notoriety. I think, possibly, he was seeking for political favors in New York. I think he had his mind set up to run for some fine political office there in New York, and he tried to use this as a way to promote himself. But the people in New York saw through this right quick and they put a stop to that foolishness, because the man just was notorious in seeking publicity.

RICE: Isn't it strange how football people could give their guys expense money going to the bowl games, but then they get us for giving our kids money for going--

RUPP: That's right. That's right. That's exactly right. They gave--we had a team in the Sugar Bowl, in basketball, and in football. Well, 00:44:00in football, they gave them--I don't remember how much money, but they gave them a nice sizeable chunk for expense money. Well, they didn't have any expense money there that I could see, because the university was paying for everything and when the game was over they came home. But then the basketball team they stayed over. They had to stay over two or three extra days, and so we just gave them money to spend instead of regimenting them as they always say we did, and make them show up at meals, and spoil their entire day. So the athletic director and I decided well it'd be easier just to give them so much money to spend, and instead of going into these honky-tonks and paying a dollar for a Coca-Cola, it'd be better if they'd go to a good show and pay for it. We didn't give them much money. I don't think after the day 00:45:00was over they had a dime left after they paid for their meals, and oh, we were reprimanded for that. We were subsidizing something awful. It was shameful the way we were conducting the athletics here at the university. Just a joke all the way through. In football you could do it, and I think they still do it. In basketball, my gosh, you can't give a guy a dime to look through a telescope at a mountain somewhere. If you do you've ruined his amateur career.

RICE: Covers it very well I think.

RUPP: All right. Well--

RICE: Do you know of anything else we should know?

RUPP: No, I don't.

RICE: If you were a coach today what would you do ----------(??)?

RUPP: Well, I'll tell you exactly how we try to prevent the thing. At 00:46:00the second or third day of practice, we always had the athletic director come in, and in about a thirty minute talk, talk to the boys about--

RICE: I'll get that later.

RUPP: --about gambling. And, he told about the leachesness of the thing, and how they would creep up on you, and the first thing you would know, you'd find out that you were involved in this thing. And, he told about how some of our boys got caught, and not--we didn't know a thing about it. And he said there's no way for the coach to tell what you do at night when you're--when you're not--when you're off of that floor, and you're in bed, or you're out somewhere, he can't supervise all of 00:47:00you, and see what you're doing, or who you're running with. Because in the first place, he doesn't know, and he can't be at fourteen, fifteen places at the same time. So, the best thing to do is--just a minute. Coming. The best thing to do is to warn the boys about--

OTHER VOICE: Did he ask you to back up?

RUPP: Yeah. The best thing to do is to warn the boys, tell them the dangers. You can't do any more than that. There's no way on earth that you can check on these boys completely. When you go away to a town 00:48:00and you give the boys some freedom, there's no way for you to check to see where they go. You send them to a show in the afternoon, they're with a trainer. Well, you assume they're there. And some of them want to go to a show, and some of them don't. Some want to go to another show. Well, the trainer can't be at both places. And the assistant coach can't be there either. And, so it's a difficult thing. I will say though, this. If we continue the way we are today, with this money that they're paying, not for college athletes, I'm not saying they are. Maybe they are, I hear they are, but I can't prove it. But, that we're paying for professional athletes, I can understand why this thing would again break out, and the coach, or no on else connected with anything, the organization, could do anything to stop it. There's--


RICE: Did you ever talk to Clair Bee about it back--

RUPP: Yes, I talked to Clair Bee about this thing, and he was as shocked as anyone else was. He was winning. He had a tremendous winning streak there at one time. And of course, he wasn't suspicious, why would he be suspicious? He was winning. Sure, some of the games were close, but there's nothing he could do about the closeness of the games, because boys don't always play according to the schedule. They don't--as I said, sometimes they hit and sometimes they don't. Sometimes they throw a ball away and sometimes they don't. But there's no way that you can trace it. In fact, we had a thing where we accused a boy of throwing a ball away in the closing minutes of the Sugar Bowl game. Well, when we reviewed the game, that wasn't the case at all, he didn't throw the ball away. The other guy just didn't come after the ball, and the boy that didn't come after the ball was never suspected of anything, and didn't ever--wasn't ever accused of anything. But we 00:50:00thought this boy threw the ball away. He didn't throw the ball away, it was just mishandled. And, so as you look back over these things, you just don't find where you can put your finger on a thing.

(End of interview)