Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Gene Neff, October 12, 2018

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries

 

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00:00:00 - Coming to play for the University of Kentucky basketball team

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Partial Transcript: Okay, uh, normally we just start out by just stating your name and your years at UK.

Segment Synopsis: Gene Neff is introduced. He talks about growing up in Ohio, the offers he received to play college basketball. He talks about playing for UK, his teammates, and the point shaving scandal.

Keywords: 1950; Billy Evans; Coach Harry Lancaster; Dickey Prater; Eaton (Ohio); Fathers; Freshmen; Korean War; Offers; Point shaving scandals; Rebounds; Roles; Scholarships; University of Alabama

Subjects: Baseball coaches; Baseball players; Basketball players--Kentucky; College athletes; College athletes--Recruiting; College choice; College sports--Corrupt practices; College sports--Scouting; College sports.; University of Kentucky--Baseball; University of Kentucky--Basketball

00:02:37 - Playing baseball for UK

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Partial Transcript: So, so, uh, Eaton, Ohio, that's--is that up by Cleveland?

Segment Synopsis: Neff talks more about his high school sports career and how he came to play baseball for UK. He talks about other athletes who played multiple sports at UK. He compares Coach Lancaster to Coach Rupp.

Keywords: All-Stars; Class A; Class B; Cliff Hagan; Coach Adolph Rupp; Coach Harry Lancaster; Eaton (Ohio); Football; Frank Ramsey; Golf; High school; Injuries; Outfielders; Personality; Pitchers; Professional baseball; Relief pitchers; Teeth; Track

Subjects: Baseball coaches; Baseball players; Basketball coaches--Kentucky; Basketball players--Kentucky; College athletes; College sports.; University of Kentucky--Baseball; University of Kentucky--Basketball

00:07:07 - Sophomore year--Teammates

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Partial Transcript: So your freshman year your team--your freshman team was undefeated.

Segment Synopsis: Neff talks about his teammates during his sophomore year. He talks about how he did not get to play much due to the talent of the other players. He talks about his relationships with his teammates.

Keywords: Abilities; Billy Evans; Boston Celtics; Cliff Hagan; Coach Adolph Rupp; Dickey Prater; Football; Frank Ramsey; Freshman teams; Freshmen; Friends; Gayle Rose; High schools; Lou Tsioropoulos; Minutes; Play time; Points; Rebounds; Relationships; Roles; Scores; Shelby Linville; Sophomore season; Talent; Teammates; Undefeated

Subjects: Basketball coaches--Kentucky; Basketball players--Kentucky; College athletes; College sports.; University of Kentucky--Basketball

00:14:27 - Coach Adolph Rupp

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Partial Transcript: Still--I still remember those plays.

Segment Synopsis: Neff describes Coach Rupp's plays, attitude, and discipline. He talks about the investigation into the point shaving scandal. He talks about his relationship with Coach Rupp.

Keywords: All-Americans; Army; Attitudes; Coach Adolph Rupp; Defense; Disciplinarian; Discipline; Investigations; Offense; Personality; Plays; Playtime; Point shaving scandals; Practices; Punishments; Questioning; Relationships; Standards; Tough; Travel; Treatment; Trips; University of Notre Dame; Warmup pants; talking

Subjects: Basketball coaches--Kentucky; Basketball players--Kentucky; College athletes; College sports.; University of Kentucky--Basketball

00:19:10 - Sophomore year--Point shaving scandal

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Partial Transcript: That, uh, '51-'52 team, uh, the record books says 29 and 3.

Segment Synopsis: Neff talks more about his sophomore year, including their wins and losses. He talks more about the investigation into the point shaving scandal.

Keywords: 1951-1952; Awareness; Bill Spivey; Cliff Hagan; Contracts; DePaul University; Frank Ramsey; Friends; Ineligible; Losses; Louisiana State University; Money; Penalized; Point shaving scandals; Professional basketball; Relationships; Rumors; Scores; Sophomore season; University of Minnesota; Walt Hirsch; Walter Hirsch; Win-loss records

Subjects: Baseball players; Basketball coaches--Kentucky; Basketball players--Kentucky; College athletes; College sports--Corrupt practices; College sports.; University of Kentucky--Baseball; University of Kentucky--Basketball

00:26:25 - Being drafted during the Korean War

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Partial Transcript: Um, so I'm assuming then because of the uncertainty of all the things with the point shaving, um, that you kind of went ahead and pursued more baseball.

Segment Synopsis: Neff talks about focusing on baseball due to the basketball point shaving scandal. He talks about losing his deferment during the Korean War due to signing with a minor league baseball team. He talks about his experience playing basketball during the war and as a medic in the Army.

Keywords: 121 evac hospital; Amateur status; Basic training; Basketball teams; Camp Pickett; Cliff Hagan; Contracts; Deferment; Draftees; First aid; Fort Lewis; M.A.S.H. units; Medics; Military draft; Point shaving scandals; Recreation; Seasickness; Signing bonuses; Tourniquets; Troop ships; Troops; Uncertainty

Subjects: Baseball players; Basketball players; Korean War, 1950-1953--Veterans; United States. Army--Military life.; United States. Army. Reserve Officers' Training Corps

00:33:08 - Baseball career

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Partial Transcript: All things considered I got out of that pretty luckily.

Segment Synopsis: Neff talks about his baseball contract, which he resumed after returning from the Korean War. He talks about playing in the minor leagues. He discusses his decision to quit baseball.

Keywords: AA baseball; Augusta (Ga.); Birmingham (Ala.); Contracts; Decisions; Detroit Tigers; Italy; Korean War; Married; Military draft; Minor league baseball; Minor leagues; New York; Opportunities; Ty Cobb; Wife

Subjects: Baseball players; Korean War, 1950-1953--Veterans; United States. Army--Military life.

00:36:08 - Career after baseball

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Partial Transcript: But my wife was, uh--she was a UK graduate.

Segment Synopsis: Neff talks about his college education after returning from the Korean War. He talks about meeting his wife at UK. He talks about teaching and coaching high school basketball before working for GE.

Keywords: Careers; Children; Coach Adolph Rupp; Colleges; GE Aircraft Industries; General Electric Aircraft Engines (GEAE); High school coaches; High schools; Jobs; Masters degrees; Plays; Talent; Veterans; Wife

Subjects: Basketball coaches; Employment; Teachers; Teaching; University of Kentucky

00:39:59 - Relationships with his coaches

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Partial Transcript: Did you, uh, did you ever kind of catch yourself saying, "That, that sounds just like Adolph Rupp."

Segment Synopsis: Neff talks more about Coach Rupp's plays, attitude, and discipline. He compares his relationships with Coach Rupp and Coach Lancaster.

Keywords: All-Americans; Attitudes; Coach Adolph Rupp; Coach Harry Lancaster; Control; Decisions; Discipline; Freshmen coaches; Halftime speeches; High school coaches; Meetings; Point shaving scandals; Practices; Professional baseball; Punishments; Recruitment; Relationships; Respect; Tactics; University of Alabama

Subjects: Baseball coaches; Baseball players; Basketball coaches--Kentucky; Basketball players--Kentucky; College athletes; College athletes--Recruiting; College sports--Corrupt practices; College sports--Scouting; College sports.; University of Kentucky--Baseball; University of Kentucky--Basketball

00:46:06 - Family

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Partial Transcript: Um, since we have Roger here in the room, I want to ask you too, as a young kid when did he realize that you had played for Adolph Rupp?

Segment Synopsis: Neff talks about various family members' interest in sports.

Keywords: Children; Daughters; Family; Fathers; Firefighters; Football; Granddaughters; Grandsons; Miami of Ohio; Pressure; Roger Neff; Son-in-law; Sons; Sports; Teachers; Wife

Subjects: College athletes; College sports.; Families.; University of Kentucky

00:49:06 - Conclusion

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Partial Transcript: So but it's, uh, it's been well worth it.

Segment Synopsis: Neff summarizes his experience at UK. The interview is concluded.

Keywords: Careers; Coach Adolph Rupp; Kyle Macy; Reputations

Subjects: Baseball players; Basketball coaches--Kentucky; Basketball players--Kentucky; College athletes; College choice; College sports.; University of Kentucky--Baseball; University of Kentucky--Basketball