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undated Interview with Adolph Rupp AF007:1996OH023 A/F 539 01:00:00 University of Kentucky Athletics Project Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Rupp, Adolph, 1901-1977 University of Kentucky--Basketball Basketball coaches--Biography Basketball--History Freeport (Ill.) Lexington (Ky.) Southeastern Conference Southern Conference University of Kentucky Men's Basketball (1930-1931) Southern Conference Men's Basketball Championship (1931) UKAW Adolph Rupp; interviewee Russell Rice; interviewer 1996OH024_AF539_Rupp 1:|11(1)|21(13)|33(8)|45(13)|58(6)|70(1)|82(4)|94(12)|105(9)|118(4)|137(8)|147(3)|158(1)|167(7)|178(15)|190(6)|200(1)|208(12)|221(1)|230(12)|241(1)|250(11)|260(5)|270(12)|281(3)|289(9)|300(1)|310(2)|319(1)|329(12)|340(1)|348(15)|357(11)|370(2)|378(9)|388(2)|398(1)|407(14)|416(14)|427(8)|439(11)|452(5)|463(14)|475(2)|485(9)|494(7)|513(4)|522(8)|532(6)|543(6)|552(12)|563(12)|576(7)|585(12)|595(7)|603(5)|613(8)|622(11)|633(12)|641(3) audiotrans ARupp interview RUPP: Now, I came down here, I was interviewed. I wasn't too much impressed with the job down here. I had a gymnasium that I thought was better than the gymnasium that they had here at the University of Kentucky. I met members of the Athletic Council. I met Enoch Grehan, I met Professor Bureau, I met Mr.--Dr. Ligon, and I met Dr. Funkhouser. And, they took me over to lunch, and we went to the third floor of McVey Hall for lunch. We got there late, and they didn't have anything at all left there. I got one piece of fish, and a stick of cornbread and a cup of coffee, and I didn't think that the people down in Kentucky were eating too well. So, the only thing that I saw was between the depot and the gymnasium. You can imagine my impression of Lexington. Then, of course, I saw all these fifty-three or fifty-five little shanties that were standing here where the coliseum now stands, across from the stadium, and I had been to the University of Kansas, where they had a nice new stadium, I had been to the University of Illinois, where they had this tremendous stadium. I had been up to Wisconsin. And I saw this little old peanut huller of a stadium that we had here. I just couldn't get steamed up about this thing too well. So I just did--I didn't know what to think about it. So I went home, and they said they'd let me know, and sure enough, in about ten days I got a telegram saying that I had been appointed as the new basketball coach, and for me to wire my acceptance. I didn't do it for three days, and so they called me and said they want me to wire immediately whether I'd take it or not. So I was--a lot of things were going through my mind. And I was busy at the time. I was coaching track there, I was--had charge of the dash events, and I assembled one of the best relay teams that they had in the Big Six up until that time. It was--I didn't know anything about track either. But I think sometimes the less you know about some of these things, the better off you are, and I think that's the reason some of these people second guess me as much as they do in basketball. Now, the--in the last two years that we were at Freeport, my teams won forty of the last forty-eight games, and the overall record was 67-16. Now, that same year, also, I got my masters degree from teacher's college, and I got a principal's diploma. And, I was going in school to administration, because I noticed that those folks got the most pay, and I thought it'd be best to get in that line of work. So, that was the thing that I was shooting at at the time. When along came this offer to come down here. I talked to several members of the school board, and they said I'd be very foolish to leave up there. They said, "You've got a lifetime job." I talked to our principal, Mr. Fulwider, who was a fine man, he was just a fine man. He said, "Well, you can stay here as long as you want to," he said, "You're doing a fine job." He said, "This 67-16 record is as good as we ever expect anyone to have. You're doing just a fine job." And he said, "We'd like to have you stay." And so he said, "You take the day off," and he said, "You go downtown and you talk to people." And he says, "You go see the following people." Well, in the meantime, I wasn't suspicion of this at the time, but I finally found out about this later. He sent me to some fellows to see, and he had cautioned them, and called them and told them to kill me about coming down here taking the job. And they all discouraged me. They said, "Oh, no, you shouldn't go down to that school like that." He says, "Kentucky. Why," he says, "whoever heard of Kentucky doing anything?" He said, "They're not doing anything in football, and basketball, or anything else." He said, "Why," he said, "That's hillbilly country," he said. "There's no use," he said, "when you live in a nice country like this, nice agricultural land, nice people, nice town like this," and I got to thinking of those shacks that I passed on the way over from the depot to the gymnasium, and then the little shanties that I saw across from the stadium, I got to studying about it. Well, I went to see the last guy that I talked to, and he was up on a ladder hanging a sign, and he got down off the ladder, and he says, "Adolph," he says, "I'll tell you one thing. You take that job." He said, "You can always go to a better job from there than you can from here. You'll never get another chance to coach another university. And while you've got the chance, you'd better take it." And he said, "If you don't make a go of it down there," he said, "you'll always get a better job going from there than you will from here, and if you have to you can come back here." Said, "You'll always find a job. Don't worry about that. You've got enough degrees, and you've got enough savvy, and the fact that you've coached at the University of Kentucky," he said, "on a two year contract," he said, "will take care of it." I got exactly the same salary to coach here that I got at Freeport. And that wasn't, of course, an inducement. And then, at the same time, I had a girlfriend up there at the time, Esther, my present wife, and I wasn't too hot to kind of leave there. We were getting kind of interested in each other, although we hadn't discussed any plans at all, but we were seeing quite a bit of each other. And, I didn't see any reason to leave up there, and of course I wasn't prepared to bring her down here, because I didn't have any money, and no way for me to set up housekeeping. Of course, things are different now. A lot different now. You can get started--the less you've got now, the better you get started, I guess. But I had no backing at all, and no one was going to back me, and so I just said well, I've got to make up my mind. So I wired them and told them I would take the job. Well, the next day the principal called me and he said, "You made an awful mistake," he said. He talked to me most of the morning. He says, "You ought to study this thing over and call them back and tell them that you're not going to take it." I said, "Well, I gave those people my word that I'm coming down there," and I said, "I'm just going to--" He said, "Well, I'm not going to accept your resignation." And he didn't accept it until the second to last day that I was there, and that was about June the fourth that he accepted my resignation. And, I finally gave it to him, and that meant then that I had severed my relation there, and I was definitely coming here. And, so I wrote to "Daddy" Boles and asked him if there was any reason for me to come and be here during the summertime. He said, "No, there's no reason to come." He said that they didn't recruit, and that there's no reason for me to be here. That if I wanted to come it'd be perfectly all right, they'd be more than glad to have me down here, but as far as anything to do, they had nothing for me to do, and if I had something to do up there, that'd be fine. Well, I did have something to do. I could sell some securities. I had helped in the security business up there, and I was making a little money on the side, so I decided to stay. Well, about--I was supposed to report September the first, that was the opening day of football practice. So the last of August, I finally bundled the few things I had, they weren't a lot, and put them in the back end of my car. I did have a trunk, because in those days, it was the style for everybody to have a trunk. I put all the stuff in there, put it on the railroad and sent it down here, and got in my car, and drove down here, all the time wondering, "Well, did you make a mistake or didn't you?" Well, if you turn your memory back, in 1930, we had about as severe a drought that you've ever heard of. I tell you, when I got into Kentucky and got around to Shelbyville, Frankfort area--I've been through a drought in Kansas, but I've never seen it look any worse out there than it did here. And I said, "Well, I'm used to this, so I'm right at home." I drove in here, "Daddy" Boles, of course, was glad to see me. I saw Bernie Shively, he was glad to see me. Gamage, of course, was glad to see me. He said that football would start the next day, that he'd appreciate it if I'd be out there in uniform, and they'd get--tell me what to do. Well I went out there and stood around. There wasn't much to do. And, so finally Pribble and I took charge of the freshman team, and I believe one of the Phipps boys helped us. I may be mistaken in this. Maybe that was the next year that one of those boys helped us. But anyway, we got along coaching out there, and we had, I don't remember what kind of a football year we had, but anyway, we'll get into that later, because that begins my story here at the University of Kentucky. [Pause in recording] RUPP: Well you-- RICE: That would be about right. RUPP: You tell me when you want it. Now we'll just sketch a few things, and bring a few things together so that we know exactly where we stand on some of these things, because they'll all add up in the long run to being a part of what eventually turns out to be a career here at the university. A lot of people have asked this question, not a lot of people, there have been thousands and tens of thousands of them have asked this question. And, newspapermen by the hundreds, by the thousands, have asked this question, and that is, "Why the brown suit?" Well, I'll tell you. In those days, I was not a wealthy boy. I didn't make a lot of money teaching school. I got about eighteen hundred dollars to teach before I came to Freeport, and then I got a raise at Freeport to about twenty-four hundred. And, I think finally got up to where they raised me to twenty-seven hundred. Now, if you would offer a boy that kind of money to coach today, he'd laugh at you and get a job digging ditches for two months and say, "We're going off to Florida for the winter." But, in those days, that's the best you could do. Since that's the best I could do, since I had three college degrees, that suited me just fine. All I wanted to do was have an opportunity. That's all you can ask for in this world is an opportunity. And, if you take advantage of those opportunities, you'll get along all right. But you ought to at least take advantage of those things. Now, I finally got a hold of a few extra dollars. Mainly because of the fact that I had a brown suit, and in those days, I did not have many clothes. In fact, I never had a lot of clothes until just recent years when so many of the clothes were given to me by so many of my friends. And, I just had a few suits of clothes, an odd pair of pants, and I decided to go down, and I bought a nice blue suit of clothes. I recall I paid thirty-five dollars for it. Now, that was a nice suit of clothes in those days. And, I don't know what you could get for thirty-five dollars today. But, I wore it to the game that night, and everybody said I just looked nice, and I felt good, and I sat there with a team, and just felt fine. And, we got skinned. I'll tell you. They beat us to death. Oh, they didn't beat us to death, they beat us about ten or eleven points. But I said, "This is no good." I said, "This blue is not the answer to this thing. New clothes are not the answer to winning basketball games." And so I went back to wearing that old brown suit, and we started winning again. So I said, "Well, this is the answer, it's brown." And from then on, I've worn a brown suit to every basketball game that we've ever played, including the all-star games that we've played, and I played, I guess, in at least thirty or thirty-five of them. And, whenever we have an important engagement, it's always a brown suit that I show up in. Now, many times I go to banquets, and I'm always introduced as the man in the brown suit, and then they suddenly discover that I've got a blue suit. Well, you can't always have too many brown suits, you've got to vary these things occasionally. So I do have some other colored suits too. And, so it's sometimes embarrassing, but I always explain that, and I say this, I just simply say, "Well, you know, I've only got one other suit besides the suit that I'm wearing, and that's a brown suit, and I have to keep that in good condition, because," I said, "The pants are getting a little thin, and I can't take a chance on going out on banquets and wearing that thing out completely, in speaking, because," I said, "I'll need it next winter again." And that usually brings a good laugh from the crowd, and satisfies them completely. Now, while I was at Freeport, there's another thing that I want to bring out, and that was I made the statement that I had a lot of philosophy that I learned from Dr. Naismith, and from Dr. Allen. Now, what was the philosophy that you're talking about? Well, when you talk about philosophy, you're talking about a lot of things, and that is personally personal conduct. What is your personal belief in regard to how you should conduct yourself, and how you should conduct your relationship with your team, with your public, and with others? Now, I was always--and people won't believe this. They just won't believe this at all, because I was always a very timid youngster. I continued to be that for many years. I always put on a bold front in order to scare people off, and a lot of them said, "Well, he's a brash guy." Well that suited me fine. That, at least, got me by. But I was always timid, I was always bashful, I always--I was always afraid of girls. I--well, to prove that, I didn't even get married until I was way out well in life, because I just--I was just afraid of them. And I was mainly interested in sports, and I didn't care about those things. Socially I didn't care for those things. I didn't care for invitations out, and being a single man, I was often invited out to Christmas dinners, and to Thanksgiving dinners, and things like that, and I didn't care for that too much. I really didn't care for the social life a great deal. The only social life that I cared for was to go to the Elk's Club. I belonged to the Elk's Club at Freeport, Illinois, and that was a real club. I thought it was one of the finest clubs. And of course, those clubs up in that area mean a lot more than they do in the areas down this way. We had a very nice club. We had a library of around three thousand or four thousand books. We got all the papers there everyday, and you could go there and read. And then, of course, on Friday and Saturday nights, we had elaborate parties there. And during the summertime, we had an eastside country club, where the Rockford Elks, and the James Way Wisconsin Club, and the Freeport Club all met. And, we all went out there, and always had a red snapper dinner. And it was a real affair. You could get all the red snapper--everything you wanted free of charge. It was just a lovely thing. And there were just hundreds and hundreds of us showed up for it. Well, it was a good chance for me to mix with people. There were a lot of wealthy people in that area, especially in Rockford, and James--James Way, Wisconsin, I believe that's the name of the town, and Freeport had some wealthy people, and they got out there, and of course, since it was an eastside country club, it was well guarded, and well fenced, and all that. And, they played cards. And, they had a couple of these machines there that you put nickels into, and a few things like that. And it was those things that kept the club going so that you could serve these things free of charge. Then on Saturday night, we always had a big hamburger banquet and another card game at the Elk's Club at Freeport. And everybody showed up for that. Oh, we packed that place. And, of course, I made that all the time. Rather than going out and dating somewhere, I always thought that that was important. And, I took my friend Elmer Hoffman with me a lot of times on this thing, because he wasn't an Elk, but I roped him in somehow, and there's no one ever kicked about the thing, but I had two other buddies that I met there every single night for three years. And that was a guy by the name of Rosenberg, and another one, and I can't remember his name, he was a German, and he was a bachelor too. And, he was a fine fellow. And the three of us always got together. And, we always had--we always got together, we enjoyed each other so much. This Rosenberg, I believe that was his name, ran a big department store and was a very, very wealthy man. And why he associated with a bunch of guys like this other fellow and myself I don't know. But the three of us just hung together. Every Saturday night we'd get together. And we'd spend from maybe nine or 9:30 in the evening, whenever he closed his store, we'd get together. I'm sorry I don't remember the name of this other man, but he was a small, squatty little old Dutchman, and he spoke German half of the time, and of course, Rosenberg spoke German, and I spoke German, and a lot of the evenings we just conversed in German. And we sat there, of course, and then enjoyed playing these machines, and then we'd wait until the hamburgers all got--and they had real hamburgers in those days. And we just waited until one o'clock when we usually went home. And then I went back to the Y, and of course the others went to their respective homes. But, that was about the extent of my social life. I never cared a great deal to go out to these other parties and things like that. The Elk's Club. And then that same year, I was elected to the Germania Society. Now, that is a society that you almost had to be born into in order to get into. It was a very wealthy outfit. They had a big building in town. They had the biggest theater in the building. And they rented this theater. And of course, the theater paid the rental on the whole thing. They had bowling alleys. And every day at four o'clock, they served beverages. And even though the--we had prohibition in those days. That didn't affect the Germania Society. You had to have three keys in order to get into that place. And then you had a peephole on the inside, and there's no way to get into that place, unless you were--absolutely had those three keys and got in there. And you could go in there and eat anything that you wanted. They always had a nice luncheon for you, at four o'clock every single day. And I was elected to that, and that was one reason that I studied a long time before coming down here, because I was having a good time there. I'd been elected to the membership in this club, and it was a very exclusive club. It was a wealthy club, and at that time, as I remember, they had a surplus of around one hundred thousand dollars in cash. And, for a club to have that is a good thing, because (chuckle) most clubs today go busted. So, I remember all those things pretty well. But, many times now, Red Greb would take me, he and his wife, would take me to Madison, Wisconsin, to see Wisconsin play basketball. Dr. Meanwell used to coach at the University of Missouri. And of course, I believe he was there when I played as a freshman and sophomore. And then he left and went to the University of Illinois, and made a tremendous record, and from there went to Wisconsin and made a sensational record there. He was one of the finest coaches, I think, that the world has ever produced. Dr. Meanwell was the first man to ever come up with a screening offense. He used the outside screen, used--we called it blocking in those days. And, that caused, of course, the zone defense to come in, because it was--the zone was the only way that you could stop a screening type of an attack. And, I was impressed, of course, with his style of play. I went to watch the--there was a Shrine Club at Belvidere, Illinois, that had a very excellent basketball team that played in a semi-pro league. And, in those days--well, it's equivalent to the pro-league today. And I used to go over to watch them play, and they had an excellent basketball team. And of course, I learned some basketball there. But I used to go up and watch Meanwell. And he was kind enough to let me sit up in a press box. You had to climb up a ladder, and sit up there in the press box, and he was up there in the press box with his team, and in order for him to substitute, the sub had to climb down a ladder and get down on the floor and report, and get in. And Meanwell would be up there and holler at his boys, and I tell you, I sat over there, and I was amazed at some of the things that he said, and some of the vocabulary I picked up, I guess I picked up from him. But he was what I consider the first of the modern coaches of basketball to come up with a screening type of offense that really made the game of basketball what it is today. Not as complex as it is today, because goodness knows there are hundreds and hundreds of coaches today that have contributed to the game of basketball. We here at Kentucky put in the inside screen. And, we'll talk about that later. And, of course, that was our contribution, and one of the contributions that we made to the game here ourselves. Now, when I came to Kentucky here, most my team had graduated. Gone were the Lawrence McGinnis, McBrayer, "Pisgah" Combs, "Spooks" Milward, and a bunch of those boys. The local writers all said that they didn't give me a chance to win scarcely any of the games. They said they didn't think that we'd win half of our games. And so I was kind of apprehensive about the thing, and I was wondering whether I'd made a smart move to come down here or not. So I called in Carey Spicer, and of course he was out for baske--out for football. And, along with Carey Spicer being out for football, there was--Ellis Johnson was out for football, George Yates was out for football, and Bronston was out for football, Cavana was out for football, so I had five boys that were out for football that I couldn't get until after the season was over. So, that was a handicap any way you wanted to look at it. But, I called Carey in and talked to him. I told him what my plans were. Now, Carey, of course, was very much impressed, right away, with what I said. And, said that they were glad that they would have the opportunity to fast break, and get an opportunity to score, and to have an opportunity to shoot, and not be restrained the way they were before. And, so he got the word around to the other boys, and I think the other boys got a little confidence, that maybe the new coach was going to give them a better opportunity than they had before. Whether that turned out to be true or not, I don't know. But, I helped coach, and then on a Saturday, I was in the press box, I sat in the press box, and I helped chart the football games. And, my job was to chart the football games to see how many yards had been made through the line over every position. And, I, of course, turned that in at the half, and then I turned it in at the end of the game. And, in that way, they knew exactly whether the line was getting the job done, or not. And, then they knew whether or not they could improve on it or not. I don't know whether they were taking pictures of these scrimmages at that time, or not. I can't say as to that. I doubt very much if they were or not. I think they depended on a rather crude method of information that we were giving them at the time. I don't know if they still do that or not, but I knew that after every game, I turned into Coach Gamage exactly every yard that had been made, and where that yard had been made, and over which player that yard had been scored. Now, the football team got away to a good start. They won the first game. They beat Maryville 40-0 and "Shipwreck" Kelly, of course, one of our favorites, got four touchdowns, and he was a great player. He was a great player, played professional ball. I think at one time owned a part interest with Dan Topping, if I'm not mistaken, with the- -in the Brooklyn Dodgers. And I think he sold it out, practically gave it away in those days. If they had owned it today, how wealthy they'd be. Well, I guess they're wealthy enough anyway without owning that thing. But I don't know anything about that. I personally shouldn't make a statement like that, because I don't know anything about that. But I guess they're doing all right. I haven't heard them going in and getting any welfare checks, so I guess they're doing all right. Now, on my first basketball practice, I had fifty of them report. Now, that's a lot of boys to come out. That's the largest number that the paper reported that had ever been out for practice at Kentucky. Now, I closed the doors, and the only way you can tell whether you're going to get anything done or not, you don't have to use your boys that you know something about in these scrimmages, so I started scrimmaging, and getting rid of some of this stuff that I knew was not going to be worth anything. And I cut the squad to thirty men. Now, on my first squad, of course, there was Cecil Bell, Charlie Worthington, there was a boy by the name of Little, a left-hander who was a fine boy, I think he's principal or superintendent of a high school at Sturgis, Kentucky, right now, if I'm not mistaken. There was Bill Kleiser, a fine boy, Johnny Epps, Ellis Johnson, Carey Spicer, George Yates, Jake Bronston, "Bud" Cavana, "Little" McGinnis, "Aggie" Sale, and a boy by the name of Congleton, Lavin, who has made a great name for himself in racing circles. If you'll follow him, I think he's the handicapper in the Keeneland, and in Churchill Downs, and in some of the finest race tracks in America, and has made a great name for himself in racing. And there was a fellow by the name of Crump, and Bill Trott. I imagine Trott's retired now. He was a coach and then later became a teacher in the Evansville school system. And that was my first team. All a bunch of fine students. All a bunch of good kids. All a bunch of conscientious workers, and all a great bunch of boys to have around, and boys that even to this day call me their friend, and I call them my friend. Now, I called them together, and I told them that we want to play an aggressive style of basketball. I said, "I want to go back to the pioneer spirit of our forefathers." I said, "The pilgrims who landed on Plymouth Rock didn't look for security." I said, "What security did Daniel Boone ask for when he penetrated the wilderness? And what security did our pioneer mothers and fathers have when they carved their homes out on of the western plains? All they wanted was an opportunity." And I said, "That's all I can offer you folks." And I said, "Now boys," I said, "let's not look for security, let's look for opportunity." And I said, "If we'll keep that philosophy in mind, the rest of our lives, in whatever we do, you'll all become great someday. I want a perfect harmony, I want a perfect execution of play, and I want perfect attention to details." And I said, "If I can get that," I said, "we'll have a great team." Now, we used about five or six standard plays, based on outside screening, and they were very kind to us because the South still did not catch on to the screens. We did not use the inside screen until about five or six years later when we discovered this thing in an accidental way. We were running spring practice at that time, which you permitted to do. And, I saw this thing develop one day on the basketball court, and I says, "Wait a minute boys, wait a minute." I says, "Stop!" I says, "Run that thing over just exactly the way you ran it before." They did, and it wasn't quite as smooth as it was the first time. I says, "Now wait a minute boys," I says, "I think we've got something here." I says, "Let's set this thing up again." Then, we sat down--we didn't sit down, we got out on the floor, and we talked about the proper footwork that we thought would be essential to setting an inside screen. And by setting this inside screen, we then ran a series of forty-eight consecutive games in the Southeastern Conference before we were defeated. And it's all due to the fact that we were setting this inside screen, and these teams in the South did not know what we were doing. We were having miraculous results with our inside screen. And if I say one thing, I'll say that the University of Kentucky's contribution to basketball was the inside screen that we developed here, and I think it was developed about '34 or '35, here at the university. Now, the first year of course, we opened with Georgetown College, and as we mentioned before, we beat them. And then we played a benefit game, I don't know, for the unemployment fund. I don't know why we did that. And we played that with Marshall, eight hundred people showed up and paid a dollar a piece for it. We gave Marshall their expenses, one hundred and sixty-five dollars, and the rest went to the unemployment fund. I guess it lasted a lot longer than it would today, but it didn't help our athletic budget any. Then Bobby Dodd and his Tennessee team came to town, and they said that some four thousand or five thousand people came there. They estimated the crowd, I don't know, they just let them in in those days, and they packed in there. I don't know how many--how they could count them, or how they reported them at the game, or anything like that. But they crammed them in there. And I remember some of them showing up in there that were fifty and sixty years old that wore freshman caps, and got in, and on the strength of that, that was the only identification mark they had to have, and they let them in. Now, of course, you've got to have so many identification marks, I even have trouble getting into the coliseum, and I'm coaching the team. Now, then we finally got down to making the first trip of the year. I'll never forget that. We went down to the Southern Depot, and we got down there, and here a bunch of the boys showed up, they had on these knickers. Some of you people don't even know what knickers are. They were the style of the time. And, some of the boys had sweatshirts-- knickers. And, I told them be there early, and most of the boys were early, and I said, "Boys," I says, "What in the name of the Lord are you guys showing up here for in clothes like that?" I says, "I'm taking around a bunch of university students, not a bunch of bums." I says, "I'm not packing around a bunch of bums; I'm packing around the finest boys from a fine university." Now I says, "You've got time to go home and get your clothes on." I says, "I want you to go home, and I want you to get on a shirt, and I want you to get on a tie and a coat, and I want you to get back here," I said, "this train is ten minutes late anyway," and I says, "you get out of these knickers, and that darn fool stuff, and let's get some class to this organization. When we get off of that train," I said, "I want you to look like something." I said, "This sloppy business isn't going to get by as long as I'm coaching this team." And, we didn't have any more trouble after that. The boys understood right quickly. Now, of course, we have game traveling jackets and pants, and stuff like that. So we got along all right. We beat Vandy 42-37, and beat Tennessee 36-33 in an overtime. And then I remember we made a trip to Atlanta, and this is the thing that really shook me up. We went down there; we stayed at the Georgian Terrace hotel. And, after we were home about four or five days, "Daddy" Boles came into my office and (chuckle) I didn't have an office in those days, I had just a--I had a place in the hallway, I'd like to take you over there and show you that sometime, the old gym that had a beaverboard thing put around it, and anybody that wanted to come in there just crawled over the top of it. No use to lock the door, just leave it open. I didn't have anything valuable in those days in there anyway, and all the letters I received I could put in my pocket and take home with me, and it wasn't--it was quite an office. I'll tell you one thing. How I could recruit anybody in those days was a mystery to me. But, our gym at that was better than anything they had in the conference, but we recruited Kentucky boys because they wanted to come to the state university. But he brought in a bill there that they were missing, I don't know how many towels, and how many lamps, and how many other things from these rooms. And they gave a list of the rooms, and everything else, and thank goodness I keep it even to this day, I have a list of the rooms, and I file it with the athletic directors office, immediately upon my return from a trip I file it, so that they know exactly who stayed in which room, and the name of the motel or hotel where we stayed. I think that's important. I learned that early. And it amounted to around some four hundred dollars, and they asked to be reimbursed. A lot of blankets were missing. So, I had a meeting with the squad, and I said, "Now boys," I said, "here is a list of the things that are missing, and here are the rooms, and here are the name of the occupants of those rooms, and I want all of that stuff brought tomorrow to my office, and if it isn't brought to my office tomorrow, before practice, then don't show up for practice." I says, "Just forget about practice from here on out. Because," I said, "I'm not packing around a bunch of kids that are going to swipe a bunch of stuff from hotels." I said, "I understand some of you picked up some silverware off of the diner," and I said, "Boys," I said, "That's a bad practice. I want that stopped." I said, "We don't tolerate that. I'm not going to put up with that another time. I don't want another thing missing. If I find another thing missing out of another room, I'm going to dismiss you from the squad," I said, "now that's final--" [End of tape 1, side 1] [Beginning of tape 1, side 2] RUPP: --hotels. I said, "I understand some of you picked up some silverware off of the diner," and I said, "Boys," I said, "That's a bad practice. I want that stopped." I said, "We don't tolerate that. I'm not going to put up with that another time. I don't want another thing missing. If I find another thing missing out of another room, I'm going to dismiss you from the squad," I said, "now that's final." So the next day when I came to the office, sure enough every single item showed up, we boxed it up, and sent it back to the hotel, and from then on we didn't have that problem. So, our sloppy dress problem, and our question of bringing towels home, and stuff like that's been solved, and has been solved ever since, and this question of bringing blankets home, and lamps, and things like that's been solved too. And I think it's important, because I understand some schools still do that, because I have been told by some of these motels where we stay that some of the teams that stay there certainly are rude. And I have letters on letters from these motels that tell us that we conduct ourselves in a more gentlemanly fashion than any team in the Southeastern Conference. And I certainly am proud of that, and I'd rather have that said about us than the fact that we won a basketball game. Now, I recall the paper saying that--as we kept winning and winning, that the press was very delighted with my brown suit, and they thought that that was a good superstition. And they kept talking about it, and all the time we kept going along pretty good. Football team had a record of five and three, which wasn't bad. And, we got along good. We won about twelve straight games, and then we went down and played Georgia at Woodruff Hall. I'll never forget that game. If it were played yesterday I'd remember it just as plainly as I do today. We lost that game, as I remember 16-25, and Harry Mehre can tell the story of that game better than anybody I've ever heard tell it, because he had two sporting good salesman referee that game that he hadn't signed the order for before game time, and he likes to tell that story, whether it's true or not, I don't know, but it certainly is a good story. And then we--the next day we went to Clemson and we got beat there, which is the only two games that we lost. Now, we went to the Southeastern Conference tournament then, the Southern tournament. We beat North Carolina State, we beat Duke, and we beat Florida. And then we lost 27-29 to Maryland in the finals. I'll never forget that. We had an awful bad first half. We just couldn't seem to get on track. They had a fine basketball team, and with a minute to go, we finally led by two points. Then they had a boy by the name of Berger that scored a basket. The ball came in from the tip-off, and I'll always, to this day, always to this day, not as an alibi, not as a cheap sport, question the time of that, because the time continued to run. From the time the ball, at that time, went through the basket until you walked back to the center jump, the clock was not stopped, but continued to run, and I remember we took a lot of time walking back there. But, for some reason or another, it seemed to take an awful lot of time. And, it seems to me there were sixteen seconds or something like that left to go. And we took a lot of time walking back there. They threw the ball up, and Berger again got this ball, he shot it from the middle of the floor. I can see it now. And the thing went through, and that was the end of the game. They beat us by two points, and I met this boy Berger three or four times since then, and we always talk about this thing, and he's, of course, remembers it, because Maryland, at that time, had a very fine basketball team, and I think possibly deserved to beat us. Oh, I don't know if they did or not, we had a good team too. But that night they were the superior team and proved it. We got home, I didn't shave coming--we had to get up early that morning, and I got on the train and "Daddy" Boles was on there, and he said, "You'd better go and shave," he said, "because," he said, "there'll be a big crowd to meet us." I says, "Ain't anybody going to meet us when we get beat." He says, "You'll be surprised." He says, "When we get back home," he said, "there'll be a crowd to meet us there, don't you worry about that." So, I went in and shaved, and tried to look halfway civilized, although I hadn't slept too well the night before. And we got off of the train, sure enough there was a nice crowd there to meet us, and it was in bad weather, they had a parade scheduled and they canceled that. And so we went to the gymnasium and they had a celebration there. I remember Dr. McVey came in there, made a fine talk. Not long, about five or six minutes, that was about the length of time he would devote to a thing like that. But, he said he was proud of the team, it was the best that they had been able to do for a long time, and so I thought it was a good deal. So, at the end of that, I got a new two year contract, and instructor in the department of physical education. And, I thought I worked for the athletic department, but it was physical education. A couple of years later, I got a(??) full-time professorship in the university, which I retain to this day. In those days we had spring practice. We worked on a special shot at that time, which was DeMoisey's hooker, and we tried to teach some of the boys that, but we were not successful in doing that, because he was the only one that was able to make a go of it. Everything worked along beautifully until that fall, we elected Jake Bronston captain of the team, and that fall they announced that Jake Bronston had played, I believe, four or five minutes in a game against Centre College, or someplace like that, and was declared ineligible because of that, and could not play. And so there--one of my best guards that I've ever had went down the drain. Now, that was also--the year before that, of course, I went to Freeport, and that was the year that I got married, on August 29, 1931. And, I sneaked in there, and swiped my wife away from her family, and we had a nice wedding, and everything worked out nicely, and we spent about ten, twelve days on our honeymoon, and then came down here. The following year we were 14-1 the regular season, and we lost to Vanderbilt 31-32 in Lexington in the last game. We went down then, in a tournament, and of course, I knew we were going to get beat. Because we played in Baton Rouge, as I remember, and our opening opponent was Tulane, not a very good basketball team. But they had a front page story in the paper there, which I still have on file, that said that the University of Kentucky would have to conform to all the rules and regulations of the Southeastern Confe--the Southern Conference, and that they would call Kentucky according to the rules the way they were called in the South, not the way we were accustomed to having them called up north. Well, I knew then that it was going to be rough. So M.E. Potter, who was in physical education here, and was getting his doctor's degree down there, I told him, "Arrange a fishing trip tomorrow." And so he arranged a fishing trip, and sure enough we got beat, I think by one or two points. If I remember correctly. And, Tulane beat us just in the last second of play. And I don't think the score--I don't remember that at all, and the--no, that isn't--the--that is the other year, that is the second year, we beat Tulane, and then lost to North Carolina 42- 43 in the Southern tournament. But it is the next year that I'm talking about that we went down there, and we got beat down there. But that ended, of course, a season for us. But I got in a good day's fishing, and the next day we came home. Now, the Southeastern Conference was formed in 1932. Now, I didn't have anything to do with that. In fact, I didn't even know it was going to be formed, although I heard rumors about the thing. And of course--the rumor, of course, was Kentucky going to be a part of the Southeastern Conference or not? And, who were the schools that were going to belong to the Southeastern Conference? And, we had, of course, Sewanee, and some of those schools that didn't belong. Now, in that year, we were 20-3. And, that included the four victories in the Southeastern Conference where we beat Mississippi State in the finals. Now, all five of our Kentucky boys were named on the All-Conference team. In one of the others, only four of them were named, DeMoisey, Sale, Johnson, and Davis. And, they declared a half holiday here in Lexington. I don't know why they do that. I've always requested that when we win the NCAA or something like that, that we don't have a holiday, although they always demand when they win a game from Tennessee in football they have a holiday or two, and if they win a bowl game, they have a holiday, but I always say keep the school running. We had a big convocation, Sale made All-American again, he set an All-Conference scoring record, and that, of course, was the year Mr. Gamage resigned as football coach. Chet Wynne resign--succeeded him, and it looked like we were beginning to take a very prominent part in southern basketball. [End of interview] Adolph Rupp starts the interview remembering the difficulty he had in deciding if he should leave Freeport High School (Illinois) to coach at the University of Kentucky. He then talks about the frequency with which he is asked about his brown suit, and goes on to explain the story. Rupp discusses the clubs and societies he joined in Freeport, Illinois, and mentions that nothing like them exists in Lexington. He lists the names of some of the players on his first few teams at the University of Kentucky, and the development of the inside screen play in basketball. Rupp describes the attitude of the players when he arrived, and how he instilled discipline and maturity in them. Rupp goes in to detail about University of Kentucky's loss in the Southern Conference Championship to Maryland in 1931 and the positive reception of the finale of his first season as the University of Kentucky basketball coach. Rupp finishes the interview by briefly describing the next two seasons and the formation of the Southeastern Conference.