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Free Throw Lane Kentucky
Basketball Timeline
100 Years


January, 1910 - E. R. Sweetland signs a three-year pact as State's Director of Athletics and its first basketball coach.

March 1, 1921 - Kentucky State upsets Tulane, Mercer, Mississippi A & M and Georgia to win the first Southern Inercollegiate Athletic Association basketball championship.  Hundreds of Wildcat fans await "play-by-play" via telegraph, and greet the team's train with a celebration and parade in downtown Lexington.

Spring 1921 - Basil Hayden becomes UK's first All-American basketball player.

Dec. 13, 1924 - The Wildats defeat Cincinnati in their first game in the new, 2,800-seat, $100,000 Alumni Gymnasium, considered by many to be a "white elephant."

March 23, 1930 - A Freeport, Ill., high school coach named Adolph Rupp is named head basketball coach at the University of Kentucky.

Dec. 18, 1930 - UK defeats Georgetown College, 67-19, for the first of Adolph Rupp's 876 victories.

Feb. 28, 1933 - UK wins its first Southeastern Conference championship by defeating Mississippi State, 46-27, in the finals in Atlanta.

Feb. 17, 1934 - UK establishes a national record with its 23rd consecutive win (47-27) over Vanderbilt.  Near riot erupts as fans vie for seats in Alumni Gym.

Feb. 14, 1938 - Joe Hagan's 48-foot shot with 12 seconds left lifts the Wildcats over Marquette, 35-33.  After the game, Gov. A. B. "Happy" Chandler pounds a nail into the floor to mark the spot where the shot was taken.

March 20, 1941- After winning its sixth SEC championship, UK wins its first NCAA Tournament game, 46-44, over Illinois.

March 20, 1946 - UK wins the National Invitation Tournament (NIT) with a 46-45 victory over Rhode Island.

March 23, 1948 - Adolph Rupp's "Fabulous Five" wins UK's first NCAA Championship, 58-42, over Baylor.  The team is met in Lexington by 15,000 fans and given a parade on a fire truck.

August 13, 1948 - The U.S Olympic basketball team, featuring Kentucky's Fabulous Five, wins the gold medal by defeating France, 64-21, at Wembley Stadium in London.

March 26, 1949 - UK wins its second consecutive NCAA Championship, defeating Oklahoma A & M 46-36 in Seattle.

Dec. 1, 1950 - UK plays its first game in the new, $3.9 million, 11,500-seat Memorial Coliseum.  Again, skeptics label the building a "white elephant."

March 27, 1951 - UK wins its third NCAA title defeating Kansas State, 68-58, in the finals in Minneapolis.

1952-53 - UK's season is suspended by the NCAA.

Dec. 5, 1953 - Cawood Ledford broadcasts his first game as the radio "Voice of the Wildcats."

Jan. 8, 1955 - Fans are stunned as Georgia Tech defeats UK, 59-58, in Memorial Coliseum, ending a 129-game home winning streak that still stands as a national record.

Dec. 7, 1957 - The longest game in UK history proves fruitful for the Wildcats as they defeat Temple 85-83 in three overtimes.  Vernon Hatton scores UK's final six points to edge the Owls.

March 21, 1958 - Vernon Hatton's layup with 17 seconds left pushes the Wildcats past Temple, 61-60, and into the NCAA championship game.

March 22, 1958 - UK wins its fourth NCAA title by defeating Seattle, 84-72, in Louisville.  The "Fiddlin' Five" were led by Vernon Hatton's 30 points.   The win gave Rupp his most coveted title, the one he vowed to win after the NCAA had suspended UK's 1953 season.

March 17, 1962 - For the second straight year, UK is eliminated from the NCAA Tournament by Ohio State.  The third-ranked Wildcats, the SEC co-champions, go down 74-64 to the Buckeyes to end a 23-3 season.

March 19, 1966 - In one of the biggest upsets in NCAA Tournament history, top-ranked UK, featuring "Rupp's Runts," loses in the NCAA Championship game, 72-65, to Texas Western.

Jan. 27, 1968 - At the time, it was believed that Adolph Rupp became college basketball's all-time winningest coach when the Wildcats overcame a record-setting performance by LSU's Pete Maravich to defeat the Tigers, 121-95.  Years later, it was discovered that he had achieved that feat on Feb. 18, 1967, with a 103-74 win over Mississippi State.

Jan. 18, 1969 -On the road against its oldest rival, UK became the first team in college basketball history to win 1,000 games, defeating Tennessee, 69-66.

June 9, 1969 - Tom Payne, a seven-foot All-American from Louisville, becomes the first black player to sign with the University of Kentucky.

Feb. 28, 1970 - Dan Issel becomes UK's first player to score 2,000 career points as UK defeats Vanderbilt, 90-86.

March 14, 1970 - Dan Issel scores his 2, 138th point, etching his name into the record book as UK's all-time leading scorer.  The top-ranked Wildcats are upset by Jacksonville 106-100 in the NCAA Tournament.

March 18, 1972 - Adolp Rupp coaches his last game at UK, a 73-54 loss to Florida State in the NCAA Tournament.

Dec. 2, 1972 - Joe B. Hall coaches his first game as head coach at UK, a 75-66 win at Michigan State.  UK goes on to win the SEC championship and finish 22-8 during Hall's inaugural season.

March 22, 1975 - UK upsets undefeated Indiana in the Mideast Regional semi-finals to earn a trip to the Final Four.  Before the national championship game with UCLA, legendary coach John Wooden announces his retirement.  The Bruins go on to defeat UK, 92-85, on March 31.

March 8, 1976 - Jack Givens keys a late rally as UK outlasts Mississippi State, 94-93 in overtime, in the last game played at Memorial Coliseum.

March 21, 1976 - UK wins its second NIT championship defeating North Carolina-Charlotte, 71-67 in New York.

Nov. 27, 1976 - UK defeats Wisconsin, 72-64, in the new, 23,000-seat, $53 million Rupp Arena.

Dec. 10, 1977 - As top-ranked UK is defeating Kansas on "Adolph Rupp Night" in Allen Field House on Naismith Drive in Lawrence, Kansas, Rupp dies.  Thousands would participate in the funeral procession in Lexington.

March 27, 1978 - Jack "Goose" Givens scores 41 points as UK wins its fifth NCAA Championship, 94-88, over Duke in St. Louis.  More than 10,000 fans greet the team at Blue Grass Airport and 15,000 more celebrate at Memorial Coliseum.

March 26, 1983 - In the first meeting between the schools in 24 years, Louisville defeats UK 80-68 in overtime to earn a trip to the Final Four.

March 31, 1984 - Georgetown outscores UK 23-2 at the start of the second half to defeat the Wildcats 53-40 in the NCAA semifinal game.

March 22, 1985 - Joe B. Hall announces his retirement as UK loses to St. John's, 86-70, in the NCAA West Regional in Denver.

Nov. 22, 1985 - Eddie Sutton coaches his first game at Kentucky, a 77-58 win over Northwestern (La.) State.

March 10, 1989 - Kentucky finishes the year with a 13-19 record, its first losing mark in 61 seasons.

March 19, 1989 - In the wake of an NCAA investigation, Eddie Sutton resigns as UK basketball coach.

May 19, 1989 - The NCAA places Kentucky's basketball program on probation.

June 2, 1989 - Rick Pitino is named head basketball coach at Kentucky.

June, 1990 - Rick Pitino makes history by naming Bernadette Locke, an assistant for the Georgia Lady Bulldogs basketball team, to his coaching staff at Kentucky.

March 2, 1991 - Before a crowd of 24,310 at Rupp Arena, Kentucky defeats Auburn 114-93 to claim the best record in the Southeastern conference and end its two-year probation.

March 15, 1992 - Eligible for post-season play for the first-time in three years, Kentucky dominates Alabama, 80-54, to takes its 16th SEC Tournament championship.

March 28, 1992 - In what many called the "best NCAA Tournament game ever," Kentucky takes defending NCAA champion Duke into overtime in the East Regional finals in Philadelphia.  A last-second shot by Christian Laettner sends Duke to the Final Four, and breaks the hearts of Wildcat fans everywhere. It is Cawood Ledford's last game as the "Voice of the Wildcats."

April 3, 1993 - Kentucky faces Michigan in the NCAA semifinals, marking UK's 10th Final Four appearance.  An 81-78 overtime loss to the Wolverines ended Kentucky's season at 30-4 and marked All-American Jamal Mashburn's last game in UK blue.

Feb. 15, 1994 - Trailing by 31 points with 15:34 remaining in the game at LSU, the Wildcats pull off a Mardi Gras miracle.  Connecting on 11 three-pointers and outscoring the Bayou Bengals 62-27 during the final 15:34, UK storms back to a 99-95 victory - the greatest comeback in UK history.

March 2, 1996 - With a 101-63 victory over Vanderbilt in Rupp Arena on Senior Day, UK became the first team in 40 years to finish with a perfect record in the SEC, a 16-0 sweep.  It was the Wildcats 25th win in a row, tying the school record for consecutive wins in a season set in 1966.  Two games later, they set the new record at 27 games.

April 1, 1996 - After avenging an early season loss to UMass with a win in the NCAA semifinal two days before, UK squashed a late Syracuse rally to win its sixth national title, 76-67.

March 31, 1997 - Despite losing its star, Derek Anderson, to a knee injury on Jan. 18, UK returns to defend its NCAA title in the National Championship game, falling in overtime to Arizona, 84-79.  It would be the final game in the Rick Pitino Era at UK.

May 6, 1997 - Rick Pitino announced his resignation at Kentucky to take the challenge of rebuilding the NBA's most storied franchise, the Boston Celtics.

May 12, 1997 - UK's athletic director, C.M. Newton, introduced Orlando "Tubby" Smith as the new head coach of the Kentucky Wildcats.  Smith was an assistant at UK from 1989-1991.

March 30, 1998 - Kentucky defeats Utah in the finals of the NCAA Tournament giving Tubby Smith his first NCAA Championship.  This is Kentucky's seventh national championship; second in three years.

Sept. 5, 2001 - After a long illness, Cawood Ledford dies at his home in Harlan. A planned tribute at Rupp Arena was canceled following the “9/11” terrorists attacks.

Dec. 8, 2001 - Kentucky beats North Carolina for the Cats’ 1,800th victory, the first college basketball team to reach that milestone.

March 16, 2003 - After running the table in regular-season Southeastern Conference play, Kentucky defeats Mississippi State, 64-57, in the finals of the SEC Tournament to secure its 24th league tourney crown and complete a 19-0 season sweep of conference opponents. It marks the first time the feat has been accomplished in 51 seasons.

March 22, 2007 - Tubby Smith resigns.  




Center Court


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