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20 Gayle Rose

Gayle Rose
Hometown (Last School)
Paris, KY (High)
1951-52, 1953-54, 1954-55
November 2, 1932

Gayle Rose was born Robert Gayle Rose in Olive Hill,  on November 2, 1932, to Dr. J. M. Rose and Violette Fultz Rose.

Rose had the distinction of playing basketball for his brother, Jimmy, at Olive Hill and Paris High Schools. In 1949, he led the Paris Greyhounds to the semi-finals of the State Tournament, where he was named to the All-State Tournament Team and a was consensus All-State selection. In 1950, he was named the most outstanding player of the Central  Conference, to the Kentucky All-Star Team, and a consensus All-State selection. He was one of three players from Kentucky invited to participate in the North-South Game, where he was named Mr. Basketball. He was also named a First Team Chuck Taylor Converse  selection.  He was considered the best offensive guard in the state.

On July 25, 1950, Rose announced that he would play his college basketball at Kentucky.

Rose went on to play for the University of Kentucky from 1950-55, where he was the point guard for The Undefeated Team of 1954.  They won 25 games, by an average margin of 27.2 points. And they beat 6-foot-11 George Mikan and the NBA world champion Minneapolis Lakers in an exhibition game at Memorial Coliseum.  They averaged 88.5 points for the regular season and 87.4 for all games.  Even though they chose not to compete in the NCAA tournament because their Big 3 — Hagan, Ramsey and Tsioropoulos — graduated in midyear and were ineligible, one prestigious national basketball organization named them national champions anyhow — UK’s little-known title.  It is impossible to know how the team would have done in the NCAA Tournament but it’s worth remembering, however, that the Wildcats beat the eventual champion, LaSalle, 73-60 in the finals of that season’s UKIT and feared no one.  Rose, the dependable six-foot Paris product was considered by many observers to be among the best change-of-pace dribblers in the business. It was Rose’s dribbling artistry that enabled Kentucky to control the ball in the closing minutes and whip LSU for the championship in the SEC playoffs.  Rose was regarded as an excellent long-shot artist and also developed a good one-hand jump shot.   Rose was a fast-driving type of player who operated extremely effectively in the fast-break kind of offense that Kentucky relied upon.  In his last home game for Kentucky on March 5, 1955, Rose scored a career-high 20 points in a win over Tennessee.  He followed that up 6 days later with 20 points in a loss to Marquette in the 1955 NCAA East Regional semi-finals.  Kentucky finished the 1955 season 23-3 in what was supposed to be a rebuilding year.  Rupp announced at the University’s annual basketball party on May 3, 1954, that he wished to retire three uniforms, those of all-America Cliff Hagan (6) and Frank Ramsey (30), co-captains of the 1953-54 team, and Lou Tsioropoulos (16), the third departing mainstay of the undefeated outfit which gained rating as the nation’s No. 1 collegiate unit. The jerseys of four others who saw extensive duty with the team throughout the ‘ ‘miracle” season-— Bill Evans (42), Gayle Rose (20), Linville Puckett (33), and Cookie Grawemeyer (44) —should be memorialized in the same fashion, the coach said, when the players have finished their college careers.  Rose was also a member of the U.S. Air Force R.O.T.C., Sigma Chi social fraternity and the “K” Club.  He graduated in 1955 with a B.S. in zoology.

Coach Rupp, who was well known for some memorable quips, said this to Rose once, “Rose, you look like a Shetland pony in a stud-horse parade.”  When Rose, not known for his rebounding, picked off an errant shot, Rupp shouted, “The world’s come to an end! Rose got a rebound! Practice is over.”

On March 24, 1955, Olive Hill and Paris residents presented Rose with a red Plymouth sedan.  The car was presented to Rose, after a luncheon in his honor at the Phoenix Hotel.

On April 2, 1955, Rose married Beverly Davis Prall at the First Presbyterian Church in Georgetown, Kentucky.  His brother, Jimmy Rose, read the nuptials.  Beverly was a cheerleader at Georgetown Garth High and was voted the school’s “Most Popular Girl” when she graduated in 1954.  Rose and Beverly met for the first time at Joyland Pool when Beverly was twelve. They met again at the Boys’ Sweet Sixteen Tournament when she was sixteen and a cheerleader, and he was attending the University of Kentucky playing basketball. After graduating
from Garth School, she also attended the University of Kentucky.  They had one daughter, Stacei Rose.

In the following months, he was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force, where he served as a pilot at Hondo A.F.B. In 1956, he was selected to play for the U.S. Air Force All-Star Team. He was honorably discharged in 1957 with the rank of First Lieutenant.

Gayle returned to the University of Kentucky and graduated from the College of Pharmacy in 1960. He was employed by McAdams and Morford Drug, Bourbon County Hospital, Hart’s Drug and was part owner of Gaines’ Pharmacy in Georgetown. In 1970, he began Rose Pharmacy in Olive Hill, where he served the people of Carter County for over 35 years, as his father had done before him.

He was President of the Olive Hill Industrial Foundation and served on the Board of Directors of the First National Bank of Grayson for over 30 years; he attended the First Christian Church. After his retirement, he returned to Lexington in 2011, where he enjoyed spending time with his family and friends and attending Southland Christian Church.

Gayle has been inducted into the Paris High School Hall of Fame, the 10th Region Hall of Fame, the Dawahares/Kentucky High School Athletic Association Hall of Fame, and the University of Kentucky Athletics Hall of Fame. His jersey (#20) hangs retired in Rupp Arena. 

His passions were U.K. basketball, golf, hunting and fishing. He could spend hours telling stories about playing basketball for Coach Adolph Rupp.

Rose died peacefully in his daughter’s arms on November 12, 2016, at The Homeplace at Midway after a long and courageous 12-year battle with Alzheimer’s Disease.  He was 84.

College Statistics:

Per Game

1951-52 28     1.6 4.2 .393 0.7 1.1 .667 1.1 0.9       1.3 4.0
1953-54 23     2.4 7.0 .346 1.8 2.8 .646 1.3         2.9 6.7
1954-55 24   22.8 2.8 7.8 .355 1.9 3.3 .563 2.7         2.7 7.4
Career 75   22.8 2.2 6.2 .361 1.4 2.3 .611 1.7         2.2 5.9


1951-52 28     46 117 .393 20 30 .667 30 24       36 112
1953-54 23     56 162 .346 42 65 .646 31         67 154
1954-55 24   547 66 186 .355 45 80 .563 64         64 177
Career 75   547 168 465 .361 107 175 .611 125 24       167 443

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