Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Adolph Rupp

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
Toggle Index/Transcript View Switch.
Search this Transcript

RUPP: He even got so enthusiastic about things that he started coming to basketball practice, sometimes as many as three times a week. Of course he'd go to work at his office, and then about four, 4:30 he'd come over on his way home, stop by, and observe basketball practice. Of course, the evil to that was the fact that at the close of the year, I was ill and could not be with my team for thirty-one days at a time. And my team just gradually went backwards. But we won the conference championship very easily, as we did the year before, winning it long before the season was over, and that was our fourth consecutive conference championship. It pleased Dr. Singletary immeasurably. We went to the conference tournament. I told him before we went down there that we didn't have a chance, I could tell my team had gone backwards 00:01:00since I had been in the hospital, and we of course just didn't have an opportunity to get that together, and this that I knew we had to have. Now, on the campus we found that there was also beginning to be some thinking, maybe, that we had not kept up with our academics the way we should. Our stadium then came up, and there was some discussion, "No, we're not going to build a stadium," then, "Yes, we're going to build a stadium." "No, we're not going to build a stadium," "Yes we are." "We're going to build a stadium only when our old stadium is obsolete and we've got to have a new stadium, that's when we're going to build one." Then all at once the tone changed, and it changed to this tune: 00:02:00"We can't have a football team here until we have a new stadium that seats fifty-five thousand, because that will then enable us to get good boys to come in here, because they'll want to play in a new stadium." Well, now that's foreign thinking to the thinking that we had. But for somehow or another, I don't know who they convinced on that, but they convinced the athletic board, because it was presented by the president of the university, it was presented by the governor of the commonwealth, and was passed unanimously by the board of directors. So, I guess they all believed that. But, the season again began. They were going to put the thing up for bids, of course, to finance the thing. Eleven million would be all that they'd pay for a stadium, that was all. Then this came up. They had two million dollars in old 00:03:00building funds that they hadn't used, or idle funds here around the university, and the faculty immediately started jumping up and down and hollering, "Where has that money been? We've been hollering around here for some time trying to get these things and trying to get this and get that and we couldn't get it." One man told me, "I've been trying to get a secretary and a typewriter here for four or five years, and I was told we didn't have any money." He says, "This is a great come off." He said, "Now that I find they had two million dollars laying around here, but they've apparently saved it for football." Well, it didn't sit too well with some of the people on the faculty, and it did not set well at all with the people in the commonwealth. There were, I would say, that 95 percent of the letters written to the voice of the people, The Courier Journal was opposed to a new stadium, and it brought up the old revival meeting that we've had now, brewing for some times, 00:04:00"Play the state schools, play the state schools, dear old UK, play the state schools." And then it came up, "Sure they want to play the state schools, because that's the money game for them. And then when they get the money game, they've got money that they can operate to get the good boys to come to their place, to get a bigger stadium, to compete with us." Certainly. We create our own competition. Then, they wanted to build a big stadium in Louisville and wanted us to come down there to dedicate the big stadium in Louisville and make Louisville an annual part of our football schedule. Sure, you can understand that very easily. Well, it didn't set too well with some of the people. And, the football season started. A win over Clemson by just a squeaker, and then seven consecutive losses up to this time. And, the--or six 00:05:00consecutive losses up to this time, you'll take that out then. All right, six consecutive losses up to this time. And you can see that the people were having their doubts. No sell-outs, so why build a new stadium of fifty-five thousand when a stadium of thirty-seven thousand can't be filled. A new stadium isn't going to attract anybody, because a new stadium, that's what the stadium costs, what's it going to cost for the parking lots? What's it going to cost for the new streets? What's it going to cost for the overhead bridges and the connecting roads to the circle road and to the bypass and to the interstate? No one's ever figured that up, but let someone else worry about that when the time comes, so they say. Well, that's going to be another sizeable 00:06:00amount of money, and someone's just beginning to think of that now, so they'll probably get around to evaluating some of these things in their proper perspective one of these days. But, along, I could see, creeping in now is a feeling that as long as we have good basketball we can't have good football. That again has popped up. It's popped up in the last four or five months, it's been in some of the papers, and for the life of me, I've never been able to understand that. The football season is completely over before the basketball season begins. So how can anyone with an intelligent mind, an amoeba wouldn't even think of that. Now, just imagine anyone coming up with a thought of that kind. 00:07:00Now, if the contrary were true, that you can't have a good basketball team as long as you have a good football team, I could understand that. Because the football season stretches into the basketball season, particularly when you go to bowl games, and you get through celebrating all these bowl victories and things, which runs into the middle of January, it kills a basketball schedule. I could understand that. But I welcome--I have said this and I say it again, I welcome a good football team. A good football team can take the pressure off of a basketball coach. And goodness knows, the pressure has been on me here for years and years and years, because if the football team can't win, the people naturally look forward to the basketball season. And they want the basketball season to be successful. And they expect it to be successful. And having won these national championships that we 00:08:00have for these years, the people think you should win it every year, regardless of the material that you have. Whether your best man turns professional and is not back, doesn't make a bit of difference. Get somebody else out of the student body and play him. They just don't understand these things the way they actually occur. But I could see all along talk that maybe it'd be a good idea if we dilute this game of basketball a little bit. And I believe they finally got that idea across, and I believe it's a football crowd that is beginning to work on this right now, and I think that is one of the prime motives that is bringing about the thinking that a man of my stature should be retired here at the university. And I agree with so many people, that I don't think age has anything to do with it. Some people are 00:09:00old at fifty, some at sixty, and some are not old at eighty. It just depends what a man does and the results that he gets. And as long as a man gets results, I think you should employ him and take care of his usefulness. Why take Steinmetz out of the laboratory? Or Edison out of the laboratory? Or men like that when there's sixty-five years old or seventy years old. The richest rewards of their lifetime were made after they reached that age. I'll continue this someday. But at this state right now, it's the close of the football season which is causing some rumblings, it's the beginning of the basketball season, which is putting new pressures on us, and we'll see how these work out.


[Pause in recording]

RUPP: When I say these new pressures, there's new pressures building up that possibly some of you aren't aware of. Some of you, I know, that are aware of them. I think there's been some pressures that have been brought to bear on me. Whether they've been put there innocently or not, I am not sure. I'd like to think that it's an innocent thing. But I don't know. But there have been pressures that have been brought to bear on me that is going to make it extremely difficult to bring a good year to a successful conclusion this year at the university. I'm making this prediction, and this is October the twenty-eighth of 1970. There have been some slippery stones thrown into the path here that is going to make it difficult for me 00:11:00to keep the control of my squad the way I should have. My authority has been wrested from me in some way. And it's been done, whether deliberately or not, I am not able to determine at this time, but it surely--I surely will not be as useful as I would like to be, although I will say at this stage in the game, I have never seen a bunch of boys as enthusiastic as the boys that we're working with this year in basketball. If we can continue this enthusiasm for the remainder of the year, I'm sure that our results will be positive. However, it will mean one thing. We must be injury prone and foul proof prone. If 00:12:00those two conditions exist, then I think with luck on our side, we can have a good year. But as I say, there have been obstacles placed in our path, which will make this difficult.

[Pause in recording]

RUPP: I think I'd like to discuss, also, some of the coaches that I've met down through the years, their contributions to the game, and just give my opinion as I sat here and looked at things, from my point of view. I want to discuss some of the important men in our profession. I've already discussed Dr. Allen, who, of course, gave me the start 00:13:00in basketball. There was another young man there at the time by the name of John Bunn. John Bunn was on the varsity when I was a freshman. And then John came and helped coach me. And I remember this man very well. I've had some very wonderful experiences with this man. He has been a great influence on my life. He made a trip to Europe with me for the Armed Forces, and there we made a trip down through Austria, through the Bavarian mountains, in through Liechtenstein, into Switzerland, and spent about six or seven days together on this trip. We drove by car, and you get to know a person mighty well on a trip 00:14:00like that. And then, of course, we were together for a long time in the--during the war, setting up the programs that the Army had assigned to us. We were almost everywhere. And, you get to know a man under these circumstances better than you do otherwise. I think some of the best buddies that you make are possibly these boys that you made--that you made acquaintance with in the Army when you were together, and had a chance to sit around in the evening and talk about things, and discuss things, you got to know a man a lot better than you would 00:15:00otherwise. Now, Johnny Bunn had a very great career in basketball. He coached freshman basketball at the University of Kansas when Dr. Allen was having some of his great teams. From there, he immediately went to Stanford University, and that was a great assignment. Basketball on the Pacific Coast had been good, and had been indifferent. And, at Stanford had not been particularly a great sport. As you know, the Pacific Coast Conference is a very strong conference in all sports. In baseball, they win national titles. In tennis, they're exceedingly strong. In golf, in baseball, in basketball, in football. It's a strong conference. Well John started coaching at Stanford and he came 00:16:00up with a young man by the name of Hank Luisetti. Now, Hank Luisetti was known as a freak in his day. He had a one-handed jump shot. And so they invited Stanford to come to Long Isla--to Madison Square Garden to play Long Island University. And this game, of course, was sold out long, long before the game was played. Everyone wanted to see this great Stanford team against Long Island, which at that time was almost invincible in the East. Long Island had great teams, coached by Clair Bee, the man that we'll discuss next. This game, as I say, brought together a completely different style of play than the one that the 00:17:00East was acquainted with. Luisetti, a marvelous shout. Long Island could not defend against the fast break that John Bunn brought with him. They could not defend against this great shooter Luisetti. And, Stanford won the game, and soon there was a--quite a discussion in all of the papers about the one-handed jump shot. The next team that possibly became famous as a team for using the jump shot was the Utah team coached by Vadal Peterson. He had this entire team jump shooting. And I remember we played them, I believe it was in 1945 in Madison Square Garden in the invitational tournament. And, we beat this team. 00:18:00I didn't know a great deal about the jump shooting, the boys didn't know a great deal about the thing, so I said, "I'll tell you what we'll do." I said, "You just go ahead and warm up. When you're not shooting, you watch and see how they shoot, and then we'll go in and I'll try to tell you how to stop this shot." "Well," I said, "they crouch very low on this shot, and it's a lower shot." They shot this shot a lot lower than the boys today that go straight up in the air. Oh, you've got every version of a jump shot today that there is. And, I think the thing that you have to watch in shooting today, as I've told the boys all along, is not to standardize the type of shooting, that's what Utah did, they standardized their type of shooting. I don't think you have to standardize a type of shooting, the thing that you have to do is get uniformity and rhythm into your style. I think that's 00:19:00the thing that's more important than anything else. And, if you get this, basketball is a game of habit. And the only way that you can get this habit established is by repetition. Thousands and thousands and thousands of times. Well, it was Hank Luisetti that started this jump shooting. And then, of course, it spread. All over the United States. Now, this had quite an effect on the two-handed set shot that we were employing at the time. I was one of the very last that abandoned the two handed set. And I did not go for this jump shooting until I was beginning to get some boys in here from high school that were taught the jump shot. And, being taught the jump shot, I didn't see any 00:20:00reason to change their style of shooting. We don't do that here at the university. When a boy comes in here, if he can shoot anywhere in the vicinity of 45 percent or above, I see no reason to change his style of shooting. The thing to do, as I've said before, is to get repetition. And just give him enough of this repetition and he'll improve that. Of course, if a boy has a flaw, if he pulls back in his shots, or things like that, naturally we correct that. Now, Johnny Bunn later became dean of men at Stanford University. And I don't think he liked that job too well. Then Springfield College, where the game of basketball was founded, invited him to come back there to coach basketball and to be a member of their staff in physical education. And Johnny Bunn immediately took up this opportunity because it gave 00:21:00him an opportunity to go back to a great school of physical education that Springfield is famous for even to this day. It's a fine school in the East. One of the best. And Johnny went back there, and soon made a fine record at Springfield as their basketball coach. Although basketball at Springfield is not a great sport. They don't emphasize sports. Physical education is the emphasis that they employ there. And, the other sports are secondary. From there, then, he left and went to Colorado State, and it was Johnny that wanted to bring his boys on a trip to the Middle West, and wrote to me, and wanted to come down here to play us in basketball. Well, I didn't think that 00:22:00they were very strong, but we needed a good warm-up game, and I said, "Well, Johnny, how much money do you need?" He says, "Well," he says, "we'll travel by bus," and he said, "We'll be glad to come for," oh, as I recall five hundred dollars. I says, "No." I said, "We don't play teams like that." I says, "You're coming first class. If you're going to play us, you're coming by plane." I says, "I don't want a team to come rattling in here in a bus and play us that far away." I said, "A team that comes in here comes in here fresh." I says, "If you're going to play going home, you can get a bus and go on home from here on a bus," but I said, "When you come in here, you're going to fly." He said, "Well, that's going to cost some money." "Well," I said, "we're prepared to give you twenty-five hundred dollars." He said, "Twenty- five hundred dollars?!" I said, "That's right." He said, "Well, we'll be there." I says, "All right, that's fine." Then we got together on a few 00:23:00other things. We beat them very nicely, I think it was 106-73 in the opening game of the '59 season. And, that was the only time that our teams ever met. Johnny Bunn, as I said, had a great influence on me as a coach when I was at the University of Kansas, tried to always assist me, great influence on me while we were together in the Army in Europe, and then, of course, a great influence down through the years. He was, of course, the first chairman of the hall of fame, and when he wanted to be relieved as chairman of the hall of fame, he recommended that I take the job as chairman of the hall of fame, and I have that position even to this day. So, you can see that he was influential. He also had me on the honors committee, and I was chairman of the honors committee for a long time. And, I was until they changed the honors 00:24:00committee this spring and reorganized the entire hall of fame, and have an entirely different set-up now than they had. So you can see that this man had a great influence on my life.

[Pause in recording]

RUPP: The next man I want to discuss, of course, is the man that I told you had his winning streak of forty-three straight ballgames, broken by John Bunn in Madison Square Garden in 1936. And this man is Clair Bee. He's a dynamic little fellow. He was tense all the time. I think he had a perpetual ulcer or something, and he coached Long Island University. He was a great influence on the sport in the East, and was 00:25:00also a great influence on the sports writers in the East. He was good news anytime. And of course, he put together these teams, usually and predominantly they were Jewish boys on his teams. He--I don't know too much about how these teams were put together, but I do know that Long Island, at the time, there's a question as to how the--these teams were put together, and how much they practiced. And, of course, at that time in New York, a boy could play on a team, and then in the evening he'd go with possibly someone from New York University, and someone from St. John's, and someone from some other team, and they'd form the Sunflower Athletic Club, or something like that, and go out and play someone else, and maybe on that same team that you were playing that 00:26:00night, you found one of your own teammates opposed to you on the other team. You usually got compensated for these games on the side. So, the NCAA finally stepped in there, and I think the Eastern Intercollegiate stepped in there and put a stop to all that foolishness. But these boys, sometime beside playing their own schedules, played about forty or fifty games on the side. And they played for anyone who wanted to play. And every Sunday these boys played somewhere. So they were a great bunch of basketball players back there in all these schools. There was room--there wasn't enough room in New York to accommodate all these kids. Now, Clair, as I said, was very dynamic. He was a great writer. And, he originated, I believe, the 1-3-1 defense. 00:27:00Now, Clair and I had some very fine battles in the press. He, of course, said that the South did not have any great basketball teams, and the records that we were making down here were made against bad teams. And then, of course, I pointed out, and I caught him one time with a schedule with some teams there that they had to get the book out to find out where the schools were located, and I really took him over the pan on that thing, and got good national publicity on the thing. But, he got the worst out of that thing. He did not play a heavy schedule at the time. But his teams, of course, usually played in Madison Square Garden. They didn't get away from there, and they were greatly influenced, of course, by the New York Press. As I say, he got an awful good press in New York, and when you went in there to play him, you, of course, were at the mercy of this press. Now, Long 00:28:00Island beat us in New York 34-52 in '39. Then we beat them 62-52 in an overtime in '45, and we beat them again 63-62 in the opening game of the '47 NIT [National Invitational Tournament]. So we got two of the three games that we played. So, if we were not a good ball club, then, of course, we were still good enough that we won two of the three games that we played him. And he, of course, was a kingpin in the East, and the best. Then, after that, Clair decided to coach professional basketball, and I believe, if I'm not mistaken he coached the Washington Capitols. Now, I think that's correct. Or it may have been the Baltimore--some outfit there. He coached one. And, this town 00:29:00was not ready for professional basketball. Clair took a good financial bath in this thing, and of course the thing that Clair could have done is simply taken the bankrupt law and erased all of this. Now, I found this out because Clair has told me this on three different occasions, so I know he's telling the truth. I, of course, was invited up to New York Military Academy where he ran a boy's camp. He had four hundred and fifty boys at this camp, and he got about eight hundred dollars as I understand for the eight weeks in the summertime. This was possibly the best organized boy's camp in America at the time. In a fire--all the boys accommodated in fireproof buildings, you could learn baseball, you could learn football, you could learn track. And they had the track coach from New York--or, from the United States Military Academy 00:30:00right across the mountain. He'd come over every day. They had a good outstanding football coach, and then they'd have about six basketball coaches come in there, and I think he invited me back there to be a lecturer in his camp, I think five or six consecutive years. So, we got to know each other very well. He always took good care of me, and I enjoyed going back there and working with these boys. As I say, basketball, though, was his outstanding sport, and he did a fine job in getting good basketball talent to come out there, and then helped develop this talent. And all you needed to do, if you would so want to do, being a college coach, was to go up there and check on this material for about a week, and you'd soon find out the outstanding bas- -who the outstanding high school basketball players were going to be in 00:31:00the next year. And then, of course, wandering around to several of the other camps, you had no difficulty at all in finding out who these men would be. Now, Clair told me, he said, "I--they called--I called--the bank called me in and told me just exactly what they were going to do. I told them no, I didn't want to do it that way." I said, "Now, you can throw me into bankruptcy if you want to and you'll all lose your money, but if you'll go along with me and let me work this thing out, I'll see that every single one of you will get paid every dime that I owe you." Now there's the earmarks of a good man. The easiest way out, most of them would have taken would say, "Well, to hell with it. Let's forget about it." But he didn't do it that way. He says, "No, I'm going to pay every single creditor that we have on this ball club." 00:32:00He didn't own the whole ball club by himself, but he was willing to pay the bills. And he told me this story himself. So he started writing books, and I think the last time I talked to him, he wrote some forty- five books that were to be read by boys from ten to sixteen, seventeen years of age, where he had a central group of three or four boys, and he always surrounded these youngsters with some typical adventure in life. Clair had a very imaginative mind. He--how a man could imagine all the things that he had in these books I'll never know. But you'd see him, even during the summertime, while I was there, he would spend quite a bit of time with me, and then he'd say, "Well, I'm going back to the office and work a little bit." And there, to the wee hours of 00:33:00the morning, maybe as late as three o'clock in the morning, he'd be over his desk writing these books from which he derived his income to pay the debt that they incurred because he was a part owner of this basketball--professional basketball team that couldn't make a go of it, and he was going to see that no one lost any money on the deal. That's the mark of a good man. And I enjoyed working for the fellow. He was always fair to me while I was back there. We forgot all of these verbal battles we had down through the years, and his knowledge of basketball was always refreshing. And we would talk basketball there to the wee hours of the morning, and in the evening we'd sit around with other coaches, and Clair was always willing to talk basketball. 00:34:00In fact, he'd take the center of the floor, get an eraser and a piece of chalk and away we'd go. And I guess we guarded more people and shot more baskets there in one of his rooms than were shot during the wintertime in Madison Square Garden, because we really had a fine time. And that's where you learn basketball, is to sit down and talk with a man that's got a fertile mind, that knows what he's doing, and that knows exactly, from experience, how to handle a situation, because he's been there on the firing line, and has first-hand knowledge of how to handle the problem.

[Pause in recording]

RUPP: Alright, fine. I'd like to talk about "Doc" Carlson at 00:35:00Pittsburgh. I'm talking about some of these coaches now, that I've known down through the years, that have made a great contribution to the game. Now, Dr. Carlson coached there thirty-one years. He won three hundred and seventy games, and he lost two hundred and forty-six. His '27-'28 team and his '29-'30 teams were possibly the outstanding teams that he had, and were claimed, unofficially, the national champions. Now, he was an innovator. He liked to do things. He was the first coach to take an eastern team to the West Coast. That was 00:36:00in 1931 and '32. He was also a pattern coach. He used the figure eight. And, we'll discuss that later. He had a lot of funny ideas. "Doc" had a lot of funny ideas. He trained his boys on ice cream. Every day at practice he'd give his boys ice cream, and "Doc" ate ice cream all the time. You'd see him at a national convention, he'd always have some ice cream around. And, he made quite a contribution to the National Coaches Association, and I believe at one time served as president of the National Association of Basketball Coaches. Dr. Carlson always would come up with something in a heated discussion. It wouldn't make any difference what you were discussing. You could 00:37:00discuss anything you wanted to discuss, and he would come up and he'd say, "Gentlemen, I want to ask one question that I've asked for years, and years, and years, what is a legal block?" Well, of course, there isn't such a thing. And, that'd always get a chuckle from everybody. Now, he had some very outstanding basketball players there at Pittsburgh. And his teams, of course, were flawless. He drilled, and drilled, and drilled and was a rigid drillmaster. His teams, offensively, were beautiful to see. "Doc" made a trip one time to New Orleans, and he wanted to stop here on the way down to kind of break the trip. And, he wanted to--he wanted to play us. We played him over in the old gym, and I wasn't too hot to play him, because "Doc" had 00:38:00a very excellent ball club that year, and I didn't know just exactly how good we were going to be, because we were inexperienced, in a way, and to go against a patterned offense like that, I just couldn't see how we were going to do well against him. But, he played at Butler, and that was billed as one of the outstanding games of the year. We finally put "Doc's" Pittsburgh team on our schedule, and gave him a very modest guarantee, of course you couldn't give big guarantees in those days. But "Doc" didn't hesitate to travel. In fact, "Doc" claims he won the first NCAA championship game that was ever played. 00:39:00He claims he won that. "Doc" could come out with things, and he could substantiate a lot of his claims. I remember one time "Doc" brought his team and a team from the East, I don't remember what the team was now, to Atlanta where we had a meeting of the National Association of Basketball Coaches, and there they engaged in a game, primarily to show the difference in screening, the difference in coaching techniques and things like that. Well "Doc" won that game, and he claimed that was the championship of the world or something like that. And, we all got a chuckle out of that. But, "Doc" didn't hesitate. He'd--pressure didn't mean a thing to this man. This man had absolutely no pressure on him at all. He was head of the University of Pittsburgh medical staff on the campus. He didn't care about coaching basketball. He 00:40:00loved it. He did it just for the fun of it. I don't know if they ever got around to paying "Doc" or not. I never did hear him say that. But, he didn't care about that. He was a doctor. An active doctor, a practicing doctor that took care of the health of all the students there on the Pittsburgh campus. Had a responsible position. And, going back to this game with Butler, I believe it was Len Miller and I went up there, and--to scout the game. We drove up and we checked in at the Antler's Hotel, got something to eat, went out to the Butler Field House to see this game. Well, in all my life, I have never seen a team with the precision that this Pittsburgh team had. "Doc" was quite a fellow. Well this team just ran completely over Butler, ran 00:41:00through them and just crushed them. And Butler had a very fine ball club. We went on back to the Antler's Hotel. I told Len, I said, "Go over and get the car." He says, "Why? Where are you going?" I said, "I'm going home." He said, "We won't get home until three, four o'clock in the morning." I said, "I'm not going to sleep anyway, not after seeing that game." I said, "I couldn't sleep a wink all night. I might as well get home and worry about it on the way home rather than be up there in bed and worry about the thing and then have to drive home tomorrow." I said, "I've got to get the boys, and got to figure out how we're going to stop this outfit." They had a very well-drilled team, 00:42:00as I said. We finally found a way that we thought would stop them. Well, they came down here, and I remember we had them 18-0 before they scored their first field goal, and that was a pure accidental score, because "Doc" wouldn't let them shoot unless they absolutely got a shot off of the offense. There's a loose ball on the Euclid side of the gym, and one of their boys got the ball near the free-throw line, he just took it and pitched it up there and it went in. I think the score at the half was 22-2 or something like that in our favor. And we so completely dominated this team, that it was boy, just pathetic almost. We beat them 35-17. They did play better ball the second half. But after the game, I went downtown with "Doc," had something to eat, and 00:43:00we talked about it and he said, "Well," he said, "you did something no one ever has done to me before," he said, "That's to float that man away from my screen." And he said, "You picked up all of my screeners as they came in there." Now, we never zoned him. I could show you very well with a diagram just exactly what we were doing. But I floated the man near the basket and picked up every one. I wouldn't let him go out as the man under the basket went out for the screen, I didn't let my man go out with him. I kept him right there, let him go out a little ways, because I was afraid he might get the ball and jump and shoot, which he didn't. And, so the next morning, Mrs. Rupp had baked a lot of things for the team. They were going to New Orleans by train. There were no planes in those days, I don't believe. Well anyway, no teams were flying. And--well, we didn't have an airport anyway, they couldn't fly out of here. So, we got a big box. It was Christmas- 00:44:00-during the Christmas holidays, and we had a lot of cookies, and some cakes and things, and we filled a big box with oranges and apples and things, and took it down to the team and gave it to them to take with them on the train, because a train ride gets rather monotonous. Well, there was a little gift shop in the Phoenix Hotel. And, "Doc" went in there, and he bought a bunch of toy--little toy elephants that you would pin on the lapel of your coat. "Doc" took these and put one on the shoulder of every one of his boys. And then he said, "Now, Adolph," he says, "I want you to go in there and stand with these fellows. And I want you fellows all to look at Coach Rupp," and then 00:45:00he took pictures. He had his camera and he took a lot of pictures. He says, "Boys," he says, "what does this teach you?" He says, "I'm just teaching you one thing, I don't want you to ever forget what happened here in Lexington, Kentucky, and I don't want you to ever forget that this is the man that really laid the wood to you." Well, the boys felt bad about it anyway, and of course I got a big chuckle out of that, but that was just one of the ways "Doc" handled things. Another time, "Doc" would jump off of the bench and holler and give the officials un- shirted hell. I mean, he really went after them. And in those days, of course, you didn't have these thin skinned guys you've got now.

[Tape 1 side 1 ends; side 2 begins]

RUPP: --Lexington, Kentucky, and I don't want you to ever forget what happened here in Lexington, Kentucky, and I don't want you to ever forget that this is the man that really laid the wood to you." Well, the boys felt bad about it anyway, and of course I got a big chuckle out of that, but that was just one of the ways "Doc" handled things. 00:46:00Another time, "Doc" would jump off of the bench and holler and give the officials un-shirted hell. I mean, he really went after them. And in those days, of course, you didn't have these thin skinned guys you've got now. They could take it in those days. Now then if you get up and stand around and blow your nose, they'll call six technical fouls, because they said they might have detected a little evil in what you were thinking. Well, I don't exactly agree with a lot of the things that they've put in there, because I think it was a little attractive sometimes when the officials had to get on the ball because some of the coaches were giving them a little business on the side. Well, they were playing in the East, I don't remember where it was, I believe it was the Palestra, I think that's where it was. They had about six thousand people there, and "Doc" was jumping up and down and 00:47:00hollering all the time, and someone got up in the balcony, and he had a bucket of water. When "Doc"--just as "Doc" jumped up, they poured this whole bucket of water down on "Doc," and it cooled old "Doc" off. But he got a big chuckle out of it. Instead of getting mad, "Doc" laughed and had the biggest time, just joined in and it cooled everything off. But, "Doc" was a fighter. "Doc" was a fighter. A great credit to the game of basketball. You've got to give him credit for that. He was a sound coach. A good defensive coach. A good offensive coach. Although, I believe, right now his teams were possibly too rigidly coached. They adhered too strongly to the principle that they had to adhere to the pattern. And not to break it. As a result of that, I 00:48:00think that some of "Doc's" teams later, in later years, were not as good because basketball started to get to be a running game. And, by being a running game, you nullified a deliberate basket very quickly. Now, the next man I'd like to talk about is Paul "Tony" Hinkle of Butler. There's a man that has to be admired by any standards that you want to set. He was the athletic director, he was a football coach, he was a basketball coach, he was a baseball coach, he coached everything all the time he was at Butler. There was a man, I don't see how he held up under the pressure, except there was just simply no pressure on "Tony" Hinkle. If I am--I don't believe I am mistaken. "Tony" 00:49:00Hinkle was a product of Alonzo Stagg. And got a lot of his ideas from Stagg. I think he played for Coach Stagg at Chicago. And, "Tony" very seldom got excited. I think that's one reason that he survived all this high blood pressure and everything. If he had anything, he kept it to himself, which sometimes is worse. I sometimes think if a guy explodes and gets rid of all that stuff, it's better than to keep it inside and have it burn you up. Now, "Tony" didn't mind scheduling big teams. I remember Butler University playing the Haskell Indians, when the Haskell Indians were a big team out at Lawrence Kansas. I saw the game myself when they came out there, and these Indians, oh my, they 00:50:00just tore Butler to pieces. And at that time, if I'm not mistaken, and I don't think I am, I think Haskell Institute, as it was known, played the University of Notre Dame. You can check that and I think you'll find that I am correct in that statement. So, it shows you that he didn't mind taking on the big boys. Although in the later years, it was very apparent that a school like Butler would not be attractive to the University of Illinois, or to Michigan, or to Ohio State, or a school like that, because they didn't have the man power to handle a big school like that. Unless you had a big squad in football, it was impossible for a school like Butler to compete with. And Butler did not compete with those big teams there. But in basketball they 00:51:00did compete with the big teams. They didn't mind. They played Notre Dame, every year. They played Purdue, they played Indiana, they played the big name schools. They didn't care who they were. And they won their share of the games. "Tony" was a very fine coach. I don't think he had the benefit of too many scholarships up there, and they always said that "Tony" picks up the crumbs that fall off on the floor, and then puts it together. Well, I don't know about that, because "Tony" did have some very outstanding basketball players that were not necessarily crumbs. I mean, they were a whole loaf of bread when he got a hold of them. But he had the ability, the uncanny ability to take just the average run-of-mine players and mold them into a good, sound basketball machine that could hold its own with any of the big 00:52:00name teams in the country. "Tony" also was very active in the affairs of the National Basketball Coach's Association. And at one time its president. He was active even when I was president in 1970 and '71. He very often got up off of the floor and made a statement that he think was very pertinent to the game. He was still coaching, and I think just retired at the end of that year from all his active duties. Now, he had a very modest little office down in the Butler Field House, and he took care of the equipment. I--they accused him of doing everything. Patching head gears, patching shoes, doing everything. But, "Tony" was just a busybody, and he ran the concessions. He ran everything around that place. And, it sometimes makes you wonder if 00:53:00today we aren't overstaffed in some of the things that we do. You had to like a fellow like "Tony" Hinkle. I don't think he made very very many enemies among the coaching profession. At least I never heard of them. He made an awful lot of friends, and whenever he got up to speak, his words were usually weighed well by the listeners, because he didn't pop off, he never had any great crazy ideas the way some of these coaches have today, that the minute you put in a rule, they start to figure out how they can beat it. Or, if they haven't got the material, they try to find out some way that they can to try to beat the other fellow by devising some scheme that isn't exactly according 00:54:00to Hoyle. He wasn't that kind of a man. It was my privilege also to play him. We beat him 81-60 in the opening round of the '62 Midwest regional at Iowa City, and we also beat him 39-28 in 1936. That was the year that we played Notre Dame the night before. We came down in a bus that night, because I didn't want to make the trip all the next morning. It's a good thing we did, because the weather up there is so bad, at that time of the year. We went down to-stopped, I don't remember, I believe it was the town of Peru or something like that. Kokomo or some place like that, and spent the night there, and then came in the next day and played "Tony" in 1936, that was the first 00:55:00time that our teams met. The next man that I'd like to discuss is Nat Holman. Nat Holman, of course, was known as an Original Celtic. I knew Nat when he traveled with the Original Celtics. They usually traveled through the South during the wintertime. I don't know why they picked the South. I think primarily for two reasons. One, they were so well liked down this way, and basketball was not exactly a big thing down here. They would go all over the South, play--get in a big car, and there'd be about six or seven of them, and they'd jump in this car, and they'd travel from city to city, and put on these exhibition matches, playing anybody that wanted to play. Well, of course, the 00:56:00dominated the entire South. Now, he also played on some teams in the east, and I think Nat started playing professional basketball, possibly at the early age of eighteen or nineteen in New York. He was always a natural athlete. He was just the most flawless of any man that you have ever seen out on the floor. I don't believe that I have ever seen a man, even in his later years, when he was already getting old for the game of basketball, that could do things with a finesse, and a polish, that this man could do. Now, he was also a natural coach. And, he was credited with being the brains, not only of the Original Celtics, but 00:57:00being the brains that improvised a lot of plays, and individual moves, and things that finally became the backbone of what was then known as New York style of basketball. The give and go was the style that they used in New York in the days, oh, let's see in the '30's and the '40's. That was predominantly the style of play. He had--he coached City College of New York, and I just don't know much about their eligibility requirements. They tell me that these boys, again, some of them, of course, played for City College, and then in the evening they'd play- -if City College was not playing, they'd get some boys from one of the 00:58:00other schools, and they'd go out somewhere and play games, pick up a little pin money along the way, as they called it. That was perfectly all right in those days. These boys sometimes played as many as eighty or ninety games during the year. Surely only twenty or twenty-two or -three of them were played for their school. But then they played on Sundays, and basketball, in those days, before professional basketball came along, people would go to see these games. They'd rent a high school gymnasium, or some athletic club somewhere, and they'd go and schedule a team from a neighboring town, bring them in there, and charge admission, and then divvy up the gate, and you can see now why a bunch of boys would get clever that way, because it brought about a standardization of basketball known as the New York style. Because, 00:59:00these boys didn't have to learn--a Kentucky boy didn't have to learn the Tennessee style of play. A Georgia boy didn't have to learn it, or Alabama boy didn't have to learn it, because they all played the same style of game. It didn't make any difference. You could play with anybody. It was all that give and go stuff. A big pivot man in there, and you give the ball, and you go for the basket with an idea of getting the ball back. Or, you'd give the ball up, throw it to the pivot man, go for the basket with an idea of getting the ball back from there. So, the coaching was simplified, because it wasn't necessary to do a lot of it, because everybody knew every other player in the 01:00:00whole city. So that by the time the tournaments would come around, these boys had each other pretty well cataloged. Now, City College, of course, had some very outstanding teams in the latter part of the '40's and the early '50's. That's when they were the strongest. And, of course, Nat achieved the grand slam in basketball, by winning the--both the NCAA and the NIT in '49 and '50 with a great basketball team. I saw them win the NIT, I saw them win the NCAA. I believe, if I am not mistaken, they beat Bradley in both the NIT finals and in the NCAA finals. Now, I may be mistaken in that. But I do know that Bradley was entered in both tournaments, and so was City College. And City 01:01:00College was the only team to ever achieve that. Now, in later years, of course, the two tournaments conflicted, being played at the same time. And they're drawn out longer now. I liked the arrangement of the others better. But then, they claim the new set-up now gives you more rest, and doesn't take the boys away from school so much, but I don't believe that at all. I used to like to go to New York and--well, of course, I didn't get to see many of the plays. But we always had a big delegation to go back there with us. We did very well back there. I think out of thirty-six games or something like that that we played back there, I think only lost about five or six during all that time. We did very well while we played back east. Now, all those games weren't played against eastern schools by any means. Let's not get 01:02:00that in our head, because when you're in tournament play, those schools were from everywhere. Nat Holman was a great credit to the game of basketball. I liked it particularly because I liked these New York--I liked Nat especially, because in later years, the New York faction took a liking to me, and whenever we would go to a convention, or go to a--the hall of fame meetings, or something like that, it was always Nat Holman and Joe Lapchick and that crowd that would get Adolph, and I was possibly the only foreigner that was in the crowd, but we'd go and eat together and we'd sit around together and go to the bar and have a few drinks, and just talk about old times, and things like that. Usually 01:03:00the--most of the Original Celtics now are in the hall of fame. If I'm not mistaken, there's only one that isn't in there. And, all those boys that were living, they naturally all get together because they slept together, they traveled together for years and years and years, and then for a man like me to have the privilege of being associated with them is something I'll never forget. One of the last letters I had, before he passed away, was from Joe Lapchick. And of course, I hear from Nat Holman, and as I have said, he dresses immaculate. He ran a boy's camp for years and years and years, is a very, very fine lecturer, a very, very fine speaker, and when he gets up on the floor of the national convention, which is seldom, people sit up and 01:04:00take notice. Now, it's a remarkable thing, but the coaching ranks are changing hands very quickly. And, you're getting in a new set of coaches. The older set are passing out of the scene. These men that I'm talking about now are the men that have been the foundation of the game of basketball down through the years. And naturally we want to remember them for what they've done. Now, I'd also like to talk about George Keogan of Notre Dame. There was a dynamic fellow if there ever was one. He was simply a ball of fire. When he got up at the national convention and talked, I mean, you could hear him out on Fourth Street. 01:05:00His voice just penetrated. Fighter from the word go. I came here to Kentucky, and of course George wanted to play Kentucky, we had a good reputation, we were winning games, and so I didn't hesitate to go up there at all. I--he wouldn't play me down here. So, I thought that I learned something by playing these good teams. Now, he studied the pros, and particularly "Dutch" Dehnert, and the Original Celtics, and from "Dutch" Dehnert, he adopted the successful use of the pivots and the cuts. Now--


[End of interview]