Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Adolph Rupp, June 8 and 10, 1971

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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RUPP: I'd like to talk a little bit about some of the football coaches that I was associated with here at the university, because I think there's been so much misunderstanding, and I think each one of these coaches will verify exactly what I say as being correct. Of course, the first man that I met here, of course was Gamage. Harry Gamage. He coached, I believe, four years after I came. Gamage was a funny fellow in a lot of ways. I never was able to understand him too well. Now, he was a nice fellow in every respect. He had two different personalities. One that he just wore when he talked with people like 00:01:00me. And, another one that he used when he talked in public. And that was entirely different. I'll never forget, I've heard him make several talks, and his talks, of course, were entirely different than his talks were when he talked with me. Now, our relations were cordial. A lot of people thought that we didn't get along, and that you couldn't have good football, and that football was declining here because basketball was beginning to build up. There's no question about it, basketball was coming. It was coming along nicely. Doing good. There was 00:02:00tremendous interest in basketball. But I don't believe that Harry ever felt that basketball was interfering with his football. And, at that time, I want to say this, I think he was a victim of a very vicious circumstance. And, that was the fact that he did not have any help at all. Where some of these schools in the South, I'm sure that Alabama and Tennessee, and Georgia, and some of those schools, were giving financial aid to some of their athletes. Harry did not have the benefit of these scholarships, and we didn't have the benefit of it in basketball either. In fact, we didn't know what an athletic 00:03:00scholarship was until many years later. But, I just don't know how he ever was able to hold his own and do so well. As time marched on, of course, a lot of people thought that Gamage was a bad coach because, well, he couldn't beat Tennessee, he tied them and knocked them out of two Rose Bowl invitations that they had, and I thought that was doing very well. And he always gave Alabama a good game, and I know he was doing that with inferior material. He was doing it with boys that he just picked up around here in the state, and then boys that enrolled here in school. But as far as recruiting is concerned, I don't recall of Harry ever going out and getting in his car and banging the roads, 00:04:00recruiting these athletes. And, of course he didn't have anything to offer them, and the good athletes were slipping away to Alabama, and to these other schools from the state of Kentucky. Now, Harry used the double wing back, I remember that, and of course he used the diamond defense in football. I helped coach, of course, and knew something about what they were doing out there. I knew very, very little about it, and had little to--didn't have anything to say about it. Let's just be blunt about the thing. Didn't have anything. My main concern was the freshmen, and I worked there with Birkette Lee Pribble, and 00:05:00our main business was to furnish the minced meat for the varsity for their scrimmages. If anything, we scrimmaged too much. I think if there was a weakness to Harry's system of practice, it was the fact that he scrimmaged entirely too much and didn't devote a sufficient time to the fundamental details the way we do now. And, of course, he didn't have these elaborate chalk talks that they have when they have these evening sessions and all those things. I think in the evening when Harry finished his shower, he went home and that ended practice as far as that was concerned. But he did not have the benefit of scholarship help, and as a result of that, because he couldn't win the 00:06:00conference championship, a lot of people thought that he was not a good coach, although I will say this. I thought he did do a magnificent job of coaching while he was here. His record in the seven years that he was here was thirty-two wins, twenty-five losses, and five ties for a percentage of five fifty-six. And, I remember very well that he never was crushed, and of course, the schedule then was not nearly as difficult as it is now. But, no schedule, in those days, was that difficult. And then, of course, they were going to solve everything, 00:07:00and they hired a man by the name of Chet Wynn of Notre Dame. At that time, anyone that attended Notre Dame, clear on down to the boy that was on crutches studying algebra, that managed to get out and see a game, could find a coaching job, because if he knew anything about football, that immediately got him a job, and everybody from Notre Dame was coaching football. He had Rockne had just hundreds of coaches out coaching all over the country. And, of course, Wynn had coached at Auburn. The story is born in mystery, as to how we got this man. 00:08:00But, I'll not go into that, because I do not have the exact facts of the case. At that time, Wallace Muir, and some of these other men downtown, had more to do with bringing pressure on Dr. McVey than the members of the board did here on the campus, because they wanted to win regardless. And so they brought in Chet Wynn, and he had a contract, of course, at the end of three years, he wasn't able to get the job done at all. But, everyone thought for sure that he was going to get the axe at the end of three years, and imagine the big surprise when the athletic board voted by a majority of one to give him a new 00:09:00three year contract. They finally paid him off at the end of the first year then, after being here four years, he won twenty, lost nineteen, five-thirteen, didn't do nearly as well as Gamage did, and he, of course, was paid off the last two years on his contract. And then I remember the great furor that our relationships, my relationship with Chet was never too pleasant, because he told me in no uncertain terms that he thought basketball interfered with football. And as long as we had the interests here on the campus in basketball, and we were really 00:10:00burning things up around that time, we were going to New York to play games, and we were getting more publicity in basketball than we were in football. And, he told me one day, he says, "Now coach," he said, "There isn't any room here," he said, "on this campus for football and basketball." And he said, "There isn't room for you, and there isn't room for me, and one of us has got to go." I said, "Well, in that case," I said, "when you go home tonight, you ought to tell your wife to start packing, because I don't plan to leave. I want to stay." And, I just was very frank with him. He, at that time, was the athletic director, but I don't think he could have fired me if he'd have wanted 00:11:00to, and the last year here we just didn't get along at all. And, so I was glad to see when the athletic board finally dismissed him. They offered me, then, the job. In fact, I--it was in 1937 that Enoch Grehan and Moses Ligon came to Louisville to Norton Infirmary, and I was down there for a spinal operation. And, they told me the whole story about what was taking place, and what their plans were. And I, of course, told them I didn't know when I'd be home, or anything about it. But they said the--well, they just told me what they were thinking 00:12:00about. Well, I got home, and then Mr. Ligon and Mr. Bureau and Mr.--I believe Louis Hillenmeyer came along. And, they wanted me to coach football and be the athletic director. Now, I said, "Fellas," I said, "that's a wonderful arrangement," but I said, "I can't coach it. The chances are, I'll--I'm going to be in a wheel chair for a while." "Well," they said, "Rockne coached in a wheel chair, and you coach in a wheelchair and we'll get you all the assistance you want." And I said, "No," I said, "I'm not going to do that." "Well," they said, 00:13:00"we want you to be athletic director then and run the whole program for us, and see if you can help us out of this wilderness." And I said, "Well, let me study about that." So, the next day they were back again. They insisted that I coach football, and they insisted that I take on baske--the athletic directorship. I said, "Well, I'll tell you, the fastest way I know of to get fired around here is to be the basketball coach and the athletic director combined. I'm going to keep on winning basketball games. I don't know if they can win football games or not. I'm not too sure about that." And, if they don't win, they're going to say, "Well, old Rupp's putting all of his emphasis on basketball. And the thing we better do is get rid of him." And 00:14:00then here I go. So I said, "I believe I'll just turn both of those down." So they said, "Well, who would you suggest?" I said, "We've got to get an athletic director, and we've got to get this thing moving." I said, "Well," I said, "Why don't you get Bernie Shively," I said, "He's coaching physical education over there in the university training school, he'd make you a good athletic director." And I said, "I think he'd be neutral in every respect." They said, "Well, he's been out of athletics for about three or four years." Well, it was exactly four years, because I think it was Mr. Wynn who did not renew his contract. So, he was out for four years. And, I says, "Get a hold of him." I said, "He's a high grade fellow, and why don't you call him in tomorrow 00:15:00and offer him the job." So, in the meantime, I saw Shive, and I said, "Shive, they're going to offer you this job as athletic director, I'm pretty sure, and if they do, you take it." Shive said, "Are you trying to kid me?" I said, "No, I'm not trying to kid you. I'm just trying to get you ready for something," and I said, "If they do," I said, "jump at it." And I said, "You and I will always get along. Don't worry about that. We always have. And anything I can do to help you, I'll be more than glad to." So, sure enough, we had a basketball game, and they announced that--they didn't fool around the way they do now for months and months and months, hunting athletic directors. They announced in less than twenty-four hours that Bernie Shively was the new athletic director and that was it. So they decided that we had to 00:16:00get some interest in Kentucky in football. Mr. Shively came to me and talked to me about this, and he said, "The thing that I'm going to do is hire a good football coach here in the state." Well, of course, at that time, we had two very fine football coaches, one of them was Paul Jenkins, and one of them was Ab Kirwan. And, of course, Ab Kirwan was a very fine student. As later proved out to be, he even wound up being president of the university. So, you know he was a great student, and I don't know how many books he's written. He's got a whole shelf full 00:17:00of them, and is considered one of the brightest of our professors here on the campus. They decided to hire him. And, brought him in here, and Ab worked hard at this thing. I don't think there's any question about that at all. He coached six years. He won twenty-four, lost twenty-eight, tied four for four sixty-four. And then, of course, the war came along, and they didn't have a team. Now, I don't know what happened there, if Ab went away to war or not. I don't know. But, I do know that they had a team the following year, and they decided to 00:18:00let--I think Ab told them he wasn't interested in coaching anymore. I think that was just finally how that wound up. He just wanted to get in the academic side of the thing. And then he went to Duke and got his advanced degree, and came back here then, and I think at one time was Dean of Men, and he's held about every position on the campus that there is, including that of the president, as I mentioned a minute ago. A very brilliant young man. Far too brilliant to be a football coach. And I, of course, was in Europe myself in uniform, and I came back, I got back on a Friday night. And, I hadn't been to see my 00:19:00farm, hadn't seen my family or anything, and I came by, saw Shive, and Shive said, "Now, I'll tell you, we're going to play Alabama tomorrow over in Louisville. And we're going to beat them. And I want you to go." I says, "Shive," I said, "I can't. I haven't been to my farm ." I said, "I want to go to see my farms, and--" "No," he said, "you can go see them, they'll be there." He said, "They'll be there Sunday or Monday or Tuesday. You can go over and see them. And I want you to go, because you've never seen us beat Alabama, and you're going to--I want you there when this happens." I said, "Are you sure?" He said, "Just as sure as you're standing there, we're going to beat Alabama." 00:20:00He said, "I know we are." Well, I went down there with them, and I saw there on the bench. They kicked off to us, and on the first play, I think we lost about seven yards, and all told we lost, on the first three downs, something around twelve, fourteen yards, and we punted, and details are no longer available to me, we'd have to go back to the records, but they had a young man by the name of Gilmer, and he was sick, supposed to be sick, but he wasn't sick that day. He either brought that punt back all the way, and they led 7-0. And I think at the end of the first quarter they led 21-0. And, I think they gave 00:21:00us a real shellacking. I think before the game was over they scored some sixty points on us. And, of course, I think we scored eighteen on them, and the consoling thing was we scored more points on Alabama than any other team scored on them that year. So, that was a consolation we got out of that. Well, Shive decided at the end of the year he didn't want any more of it. He'd won two, lost eight for two hundred percent. So, the athletic board got busy, they said, "We've got to go big-time. We've got to do something." And they looked around, and there's a young fellow by the name of Paul Bryant, and he'd been in the Navy, and I believe he coached the Naval unit at North Carolina. And, of course, 00:22:00he had every one at his disposal there that he wanted that could play football, he got them in the Navy, and kept them there, and then when he went to Maryland, he took a lot of those boys up there with him. And he turned out a whiz bang of a football team at Maryland. So, the people down here got to thinking well, here is the brains of everything. And, they called Bryant down, and sure enough, they hired him. I didn't think they'd get him. And in doing so, they got, of course, the finest football coach I think that America has developed 00:23:00in recent years. He will rate with the great ones when the record of football is written, he'll be among the great coaches of all time. Paul was here, as I remember, eight years. He won sixty, lost twenty- three, tied five for seven hundred and ten percent, which is good enough. Won the only conference championship that we ever won, and won the Sugar Bowl, beating Oklahoma. He asked me to go down with him, and I sat on the bench, and we beat them, I believe, 13-7. And, as soon as the game was over, everybody was slapping him on the back, he says, "Adolph, get a cab and get in here and get me, and let's you and I get 00:24:00out of here." So I got a cab, and motioned to him, and he came over and got in the cab, and we went to the hotel. I don't remember. I believe it was the Roosevelt or someplace where we were staying down there. We went up to his room and we got away from the angry mob. He, of course, had a party that night. We all went to that to celebrate the victory, which was a great thing, because that was the first time that Oklahoma had been beaten. They had won thirty-two straight. And, then the following year--the year prior to that, he was invited to the Orange Bowl, and they got beat there, I believe by Villanova or something like that. But--Santa Clara I believe it was. Yes, that's who it was, 00:25:00it was Santa Clara beat us there. And, he took his team down there, and he's told me many times a mistake he made is getting down there too early. He spent about ten or twelve days down there getting his team ready to that southern heat, when of course it's cold up here in December, and he said if he had it to do over again, he'd never never do that again. Well, the following year when he played in New Orleans he didn't do that. He just went down there a day or two early, and I went down with him. Well, we played in the basketball tournament too down there. And he sat on my bench during the basketball game. And, so I sat on his bench during the football game. Then the following year, he was invited to the Cotton Bowl. And, they beat, I believe 00:26:00Texas Christian in that game down there, and beat them good, 21-0 or something like that. And, so Paul had a wonderful record here. Now, Paul and I have been good friends down through the years. It doesn't make any difference where he is. Whenever he comes to town, the first thing he does is picks up the telephone and calls me. And the first thing when I get to Tuscaloosa to play basketball, he calls me, and always invites me out to his home. And, this last year, Mrs. Rupp came down there, and Mrs. Bryant had Mrs. Rupp out for the day at her home, and had a lovely dinner for her there, and brought her to the basketball game. And we've all been friends down through the years. 00:27:00And, I don't believe anybody could have gotten along nicer. He's high strung. And of course, I'm a mild-mannered man, as everybody knows, so we got along pretty well. But how two high-strung fellows like we both are, wouldn't clash somewhere along the way, is indeed a mystery. But not once did he say a harsh word to me, or did I say anything to him. And he took me on a lot of trips with him. I always invited him to go with us, but then all we had was a DC-3 and he always laughed. But, of course, we could take him down to Alabama, or we could take 00:28:00him anywhere. But he always had planes here that his friends had. So, I didn't think the fellow would ever leave here. He had things made, and he had things going good, but he wanted to be athletic director. Now, he wasn't afraid of basketball. He didn't have to be afraid of basketball. A lot of people here in Lexington and Central Kentucky say, "Well, he left because of Rupp. He left because he just couldn't stand to see basketball be a prominent sport." That isn't true. If that's true, why did he build a fifteen thousand five hundred seat auditorium, the finest auditorium in the nation to play basketball in? Why did he build that? Why did he give Newton the same number of scholarships down there as we have here? Why does he show this interest in basketball if 00:29:00he wasn't interested in it here? I'll tell you one thing. He wanted to be athletic director. Now let's look at things. The football coach at Tennessee at the time was also the athletic director. The one at Georgia was, the one at Florida was, the one at LSU was. The one at Mississippi was, and possibly at two or--the one at Georgia Tech was. They were in the conference. And, whenever they'd have an athletic director's meeting, he sat on the outside and didn't get in on those things, and it kind of rankled him a little bit, because he wanted to be in on these things, and he wanted to be an athletic director too. So when Texas A&M came along and offered him that job, I didn't 00:30:00think he'd go down there, and of course, it was a stepping stone. He went down there and they promised him everything, and I think he got everything too. Because those Aggies down there, they've got money, don't you think those farmers down there in Texas don't have any money. They've got money and they've got plenty of it, and they've got just as much of it as they have at the University of Texas, although Texas has a lot more money due to the fact that they are a state university and have all that oil money now that they get. But we won't go into that. That's another long story. But, when all the farmers get back of a school like they do at Texas A&M, they can make things move. And they got back of Paul, they furnished him planes, they furnished him 00:31:00everything that he needed down there, and by George in, I believe three years, he built a conference championship team there and was in the Cotton Bowl, because that's where the winner of their conference goes. And he's going to be knocking around all the time. Well, I didn't think he was going, because I saw him here at noon on the day that they announced on the radio that night when I came home to dinner that he was at Bryan, I believe that's where it is, Texas, where Texas A&M is located, Bryan or something like that, I don't know what the name of 00:32:00the town is, I think it's something like that. And, it's a--of course a--it's--the town is Bryan, Texas, but it's College Station where the university is located, which is just a few miles out of Bryan, Texas. But they announced that he was down there for a huge pep rally. I said that can't be. I said I saw him at the university at about 12:30, and by gosh, he was down there. They got a plane, they flew him down there, they had a big pep rally with all those Aggies and everything, and they're organized and they're cheering down there, and don't you 00:33:00think they aren't. They got that student body, and every student on that campus stands up at the beginning of that football game, and they cheer until that football game's over. I didn't think he'd leave there for a while, but his "alma mama" called him, as he said, "Mother called me." And, of course, his wife wanted to go back home. I believe her parents live in Birmingham. And she wanted to go closer home. That isn't much of a place to live down in there. You're pretty well isolated when you're down in Bryan, Texas. And, I don't think you've got much of a shopping area unless you go a couple of hundred miles from there until you get to a good-sized town. And, he, of course, 00:34:00had a chance to be the athletic director, and had a chance to be the head football coach at the University of Alabama. And, some people like to come home, and be connected with their home schools. And, sure enough, he left down there and he went to Alabama, and as I say, I see him quite frequently, and we're still good friends. Now, that brought in Blanton Collier, who was also a good friend of mine. He was a coach over here at Paris, Kentucky. And if I say so myself, probably a better basketball coach than a football coach. He was in high school. 00:35:00He had one of the best coached basketball teams that I have ever seen. They could just operate--if anything they were too mechanical. But they could surely operate. Beautifully coached, and he was an assistant coach to the football coach at the Cleveland Browns, that's Coach Brown, Paul Brown. And, he met him during the war at Great Lakes and helped him there. Then he got him the job at the Cleveland Browns. And so, Blanton had a chance to come back here. Everybody, of course, likes to get back home. Mrs. Collier's folks lived at Paris, and I think Blanton's folks lived there. And I think they wanted to come back this way. So Blanton came in here, and everybody, of course, 00:36:00realized that he had some hard shoes to fill. But, they felt that he could do it. Blanton was a fine coach, and don't you let anyone tell you any different. Blanton had one weakness, and that was he didn't have the courage to fire some of his assistants that were not capable. I think that was his--that hurt him worse than anything. I'd tell him that, and I think he knows that as well as anybody else does. But when he hired a man, of course he hated to walk in and say, "Here's your pink slip." But some of these other coaches, the first thing you do if 00:37:00you don't win, you fire an assistant. And then if you don't win the next year, you fire the other assistants, and then maybe the third year they fire you. But, Blanton had very fine teams. But, for some reason or another, they deteriorated at the close. And, his last year was a bad year. He coached here eight years, the same length of time that Bryant did. He won forty-one, lost thirty-six, tied three for five thirty-one. Not a bad percentage. Although his last two teams were not good. And, of course, he had a contract, and they paid him off too for the last two years that he didn't coach. And, I was very much 00:38:00surprised that they let him go. I've always regretted that I didn't have more influence on Blanton than I did, because I didn't think that he ever entertained the thought of leaving here. But he left and immediately, of course, went back to the Cleveland Browns. But Blanton is a fine coach, and if he didn't prove that to all these doubting Thomas's here in Kentucky, when he got back there and became head coach of the Cleveland Browns, I don't know what you've got to do to convince anybody, because he won, not only the league championship year after year, but he won the--I think what they call the world's championship. 00:39:00I don't know who they play. They call these things the world series, I don't know who they play in the world except maybe Baltimore plays New York, which is not exactly out of this world, but then it's--that's what they call it. But Blanton had a fine record, and was a gentleman. If anything he was too much of a gentleman. And then he was succeeded by Charlie Bradshaw. That's another one of our boys, and he came in here, Charlie also was a high grade gentleman. Just as fine a man as you'd want to meet. You wouldn't want to meet a nicer fellow. Blanton took me on a lot of trips with him. I always enjoyed going with him. Never too communicative, if that's pronounced correctly. 00:40:00Because, on a trip, there's only one subject that he'd want to talk about and that was football, and that was that particular game that was going to be played. And of course I had no knowledge of that at all, so I couldn't communicate with him. And, the only thing I could say afterward is, "You boys played a nice game," or, "I'm sorry we didn't win," or something like that. Which was language he could understand, and that I could speak. And, I--of course, he wasn't a great visitor. Blanton was not a great visitor. Now, Charlie came in--Charlie was a great visitor. He came in here and got a good send-off. Charlie had 00:41:00a weakness also, and I think one of his weaknesses was the fact that he also had trouble possibly getting rid of some of his assistants that were not capable of coaching college football. And, I think he knew that, and--but he kept them on because he felt that he hired them, and since he hired them, and took them out of their jobs, that he ought to keep them on. But Charlie had some colorful teams. Won some very fine games for us. I call him my friend, and I'm sure he calls me his friend. He took me on trips with him, and I took him on trips with us. And, I always enjoyed visiting in his home, and he in mine. We 00:42:00were just the best of friends, and as I say, never an unkind word was ever said from Collier, to Bradshaw, to Bryant, or any of these men. The only one that I had any trouble with at all, was a man that I mentioned, and I won't mention him again. But, Bradshaw won. He was here seven years. Won twenty-five, lost forty-one, tied four for three seventy-nine, and then of course, they had a shake-up which brings us to our present coach John Ray, who wrote the book How to Influence 00:43:00People and then there's another book, The Art of--I can't think of the name of it now. It's written by--The Art of Positive Thinking. That's the thing. That's the book I'm thinking about. Well he wrote that book. Somebody else put it out twenty-five or thirty years ago, but John Ray wrote that book when he was in the cradle, and you talk about a guy that's a positive thinker. He is. But we won't discuss him. We'll discuss him later when the day of my retirement comes up. But he's a fine guy. We get along fine. He hollers as loud as anyone can up and down the hall, and I enjoy talking with him at all times. He's 00:44:00a great guy. And that finishes my story now, and my relationship with the football coaches as honestly as it was. I depicted it exactly as I understood it.

[Pause in recording]

RUPP: Now, of course we want to talk about some of our boys also. And, the great days that these boys afforded me, and the great days, of course, that they afforded the university, and hundreds of thousands of spectators that had an opportunity to see them play. These were great 00:45:00moments that, of course, I don't know if words could ever describe them. But then again, you've also got to remember that along with the great moments of sport, we also had some tragedy. The war came along, and as the war came along, they took so many of our youngsters into the services. The University of Kentucky suffered more in basketball than any other school in the nation. I don't know of any school that had the losses that we did. We lost in World War II, a fine group of young men. There was Jim Goforth, a great basketball player, Jim King, who 00:46:00single-handed won a tournament for a small team in Western Kentucky, that was just a little town. I don't think they had more than one or two stores in the town. Then little Kenny England, a great little athlete, played here and played so many fine basketball games for us. He just wouldn't quit. There was Walter Johnson from Mount Sterling, Kentucky, the only player that I believe that I ever had that could make a bad mistake, and correct the mistake--

[Tape 1 side 1 ends; side 2 begins]

RUPP: Now, of course we want to talk about some of our boys also. And, 00:47:00the great days that these boys afforded me, and the great days, of course, that they afforded the university, and hundreds of thousands of spectators that had an opportunity to see them play. These were great moments that, of course, I don't know if words could ever describe them. But then again, you've also got to remember that along with the great moments of sport, we also had some tragedy. The war came along, and as the war came along, they took so many of our youngsters into the services. The University of Kentucky suffered more in basketball 00:48:00than any other school in the nation. I don't know of any school that had the losses that we did. We lost in World War II, a fine group of young men. There was Jim Goforth, a great basketball player, Jim King, who single-handed won a tournament for a small team in Western Kentucky, that was just a little town. I don't think they had more than one or two stores in the town. Then little Kenny England, a great little athlete, played here and played so many fine basketball games for us. He just wouldn't quit. There was Walter Johnson from Mount 00:49:00Sterling, Kentucky, the only player that I believe that I ever had that could make a bad mistake, and correct the mistake before the opponents could take advantage of it. In other words, he could take the ball, have it intercepted, and tie up the man that intercepted it and get a jump ball out of the thing. And then we lost Mel Brewer, a boy from New Albany, Indiana. It's--these were things, of course, that made the closing days of the war really tragic. I'll never forget some of those days, because I happened to be in the home of the England family, just visiting, when the telegram arrived there, notifying them that 00:50:00Kenny had been killed in Europe. And, of course, what can you say? And, it's just those tragic things that you've also got to remember along with the good things. Well, now then we'll go on with some of the other things. Of course, we're going to miss a lot of our boys as we go, because we can't discuss all of them, but some of these boys make great records. On our first team, of course, we had--we mentioned all those boys before. But Forest Sale made All-American as a center, and as a forward. Now, Forest Sale wasn't a great big boy. But for those days, he was considered a rather good-sized boy. Today, he would not even be considered a big forward. But "Aggie" could play in, or 00:51:00he could play out. As a result of that, when "Frenchy" DeMoisey came and developed, "Aggie" moved out to a forward position, "Frenchy" got under the basket, the two complimented each other very well, and then "Frenchy" DeMoisey, after developing his left hand as well as he did his right hand with his hook shot, which was a fantastic shot that no one had ever seen before, he also became an All-American center. So we had a great list of All-Americans. Now, on this same team, of course, was a boy by the name of Ellis Johnson who later became a great coach, a coach that Morehead State, and then coached at Marshall, and was a 00:52:00very successful coach. Our next All-American center, of course, was LeRoy Edwards. That was really the beginning of big-time basketball, and the beginning of the modern era. You will recall that big-time basketball was unknown of in New York. It is reported, and I think it's true, that there's a newspaper reporter by the name of Ned Irish wanted to see a basketball game, and he couldn't get into the building because it was packed to capacity, so he climbed in through a window and tore his pants getting in, but he did see the game, and he said, "Someone ought to do something about this." And he talked the folks in Madison Square Garden into renting the building to him, and he tried 00:53:00the double-headers. Well, at first they were fairly well attended, but they weren't the great money making teams until about the following year when New York University and Kentucky were fighting it out as to which of the two teams really was the outstanding national champion. And, we were invited to come back to New York to play, and we played before a capacity crowd in Madison Square Garden. I'll never forget that game. It was the roughest game--it's been reported dozens of times, and is reported now as possibly the roughest game that has ever been played. They took a movie of this game. They showed it at the coach's convention, and the coaches would not believe that a game 00:54:00would be permitted to be played the way those two centers kicked each other around under that basket. Shoving, and pushing, and holding, and doing all those things. They should have both been thrown out of the game in less than two minutes. Of course, Edwards didn't start this, but then they knew if they were going to stop Edwards, they'd have to use that kind of tactics on him, and that was exactly the tactics that New York University employed to stop him. That was overlooked. But they had a little silly idea back there about screening. We, of course, had put in some screens, which we thought were perfectly legal. They were perfectly legal here in the South, and lo and behold 00:55:00we had the ball and were leading, and with just, I believe about eight or ten seconds, or something like that, to go, here the whistle blew, and they called a foul on Edwards for screening, setting an illegal screen. Well, of course I blew my top afterward, because we lost the game by one point. And, I couldn't see anything wrong with it, it was perfectly legal where we came from. And, it caused a lot of noise. So the Rules Committee immediately passed a rule putting in the three second violation. And, that was supposed to take care of the big man under the basket. But, the--screening has never been cleared up to 00:56:00the satisfaction even to this day. It varies according to the section of the country where you go. If you go and play on the Pacific Coast, you'll get called for some things. I know that we had some officials in our games recently, they swapped these officials around from section to section, in order that you don't get any homers when you play in the NCAA tournament. And whenever we draw the Pacific Coast conference officials, the southern teams really get blistered, because we just don't play the way they play out there. We played a series of games out on the Pacific Coast, and I think we played Southern California out there one time. And if I am correct in my memory, they called fifteen 00:57:00fouls on us before they called the first foul on Southern California. Well, your game is practically shot by that time, and your boys are under such a severe handicap that they are afraid to even move. And of course we lost that ballgame. But, then, of course, we had a little fellow that didn't make All-American, but was a great money player by the name of Ermal Allen, who turned out to be a great football player too. I liked to watch this boy play football. I liked to watch him play basketball. And he won a lot of basketball games for us because he was a deadly shot, and was an excellent golfer, and still one of the excellent golfers today. He is coaching football today, I think, with 00:58:00the Dallas Cowboys. He is the back field coach, if I'm not mistaken. And I'll always remember him. Well that brought us down then, we had some fine teams, to our '43 and '44 teams, and on that team was Bob Brannum, Walter Johnson, Wilbur Schu, Jack Tingle, Jack Parkinson. We were invited, at the close of the year, we had a very fine year, to come back to the invitational tournament. We had, on that team, three boys that were classified as 4-F, Walter Johnson and Bob Brannum were not of draft age, they weren't old enough. So we went back there, we 00:59:00beat Utah in the first game 46-38, we then lost to St. Johns 45-48 and beat Oklahoma A&M, as it was known in those days, 45-29 for the consolation game, whatever consolation you get out of a consolation game. Then, of course, it brought us to the '45-'46 season, and on this, of course, was the--Alex Groza came in, and then on the '45 and '46 team, there was Ralph Beard and Joe Holland, and "Wah Wah" Jones and Jack Parkinson, J. Ed Parker III, and Jack Tingle. And, we won the NIT [National Invitational Tournament]. We beat Arizona, and we beat 01:00:00West Virginia, and then we beat Rhode Island State for the championship of the NIT. I'll never forget when we came through Ashland early in the morning, a big crowd came out to meet us, the big crowd was down at the depot at Mount Sterling, a mob was out to meet us at Winchester, they dismissed the schools here in Fayette County, and they put the boys on a fire truck and they hauled us through town. And, the people just went crazy about this ballclub. It was a fine club. But, the boys were now coming home from the services, and the '46-'47 team, and I want to give you the composition of this team, because you can understand now, the makings of what was to become the Fabulous Five 01:01:00that eventually won the Olympics, and then went on to win the NCAA the following year. On the '46-'47 team, a boy came back who was a prisoner in Germany for, I think, some sixteen months, by the name of Clifford Barker. He realized that he had made a mistake in dropping out of school and wanted to come back, so he came back to school. Dale Barnstable, a war veteran, also came back. Ralph Beard was here, Brannum was here, Muff Davis was here, Alex Groza came back, Joe Holland was back, Wallace Jones was here, Jim Jordan, an All-American, 01:02:00transferred here from North Carolina. Buddy Parker, again, was back. And it was Buddy Parker's great play that won the NIT tournament for us the year before. I'll never forget that little rascal, because it was his play that was so instrumental in winning the NIT for us. And on this team also was Kenny Rollins, and Jack Tingle. Now, imagine having a bunch of material like that at your disposal. You can see where they would absolutely destroy almost anybody. They won thirty-four and they lost three, and of course, they lost the national invitational tournament to Utah by 45-49 for one of their losses, 01:03:00and they just murdered the teams in the tournament that year, beating Vanderbilt 98-29, and Auburn 84-18, Georgia Tech 75-53, and Tulane 55- 38. We had a post-season game with Temple in Louisville, and we beat them over there before a capacity crowd by a score of 68-29. So, all in all, we had a very, very fine year. And, a 34-3 record is a good record any year that you want it. Now, that brings us to the following year, which was the '47-'48 season, where we won thirty-six and lost 01:04:00three. On this team, of course, was Barker and Barnstable, Beard, Groza, Holland, Jones, Jordan, Line, Parkinson, Rollins, and Johnny Stough. We had very little trouble in most of our games. We got along very nicely. We won the Southeastern Conference again with ease, beating Florida 87-31, LSU 63-47, Tennessee 70-47, and Georgia Tech 54-43. Then, we went to the National Collegiate Athletic Association tournament that was held in Madison Square Garden in New York. We beat Columbia in the first game 76-53, we beat Holy Cross 60-52--


[End of interview]