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undated Interview with Adolph Rupp AF007:1996OH026 A/F 541 00:16:57 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 University of Kentucky Basketball (1944-1945) UKAW Adolph Rupp; interviewee Russell Rice; interviewer 1996OH026_AF541_Rupp 1:|10(5)|24(6)|39(11)|52(9)|73(4)|87(12)|97(9)|107(13)|117(11)|128(5)|138(5)|150(7)|165(7)|177(5)|191(4)|202(11)|221(13) audiotrans ARupp interview RUPP: --than the game--courtside--was that we were playing rough basketball, was due to the fact that we were aggressive. We played a little aggressive. And when you consider the fact that they would not allow any contact at all in the South, and we were brought up that way here too. Whenever we went north, we just had to change our style of play completely. But the game that they indicated here, the Kansas State game, was the first football game of the season, was not necessarily true, because it wasn't that rough. By any standards you want to judge it by, it was not that kind of a game at all. So that, I think explains that fairly well. RICE: Before the war, anyways, had southern schools built their basketball up very much? RUPP: Vanderbilt did. I think Vanderbilt tried to build it up. You mean on the court, don't you? RICE: Yeah. RUPP: Well, I think a very definite effort was made during the war. Of course, during the war, a lot of the schools in the South didn't even play basketball. I think there were only six teams in the conference that had teams during our seven years--during the war, and it was right after the war though, that basketball really banged out in the South, and became the great sport that it is today. And, I don't think the South has to apologize today for basketball any more than any other section of the country. It seems to run in sections, at times, where the East predominated--or, dominated everything for years, and the Middle West, Pacific Coast, and the South, it goes in sections and you have good strong teams in these areas, and I think the South, though, didn't get basketball on its mind until after the Second World War. RICE: One last thing ----------(??) RUPP: All right. RICE: We didn't talk about any of the UK players. RUPP: Well, Mickey Rouse, of course, was a fine athlete. He came here under the most peculiar circumstances that I've ever had happen up until that time. I have two situations, well, I guess I just won't explain this thing, but he came here, and of course had to have a scholarship, and at that time, of course, we were still fighting the idea that only a scholarship would be given in case a boy absolutely needed help. Well, his daddy was a doctor, and I didn't think his daddy--I thought his daddy could put him through school all right. But I found out the boy would not come here unless he got a scholarship. So I dug up a scholarship for him, and Mickey was a very fine shot, an excellent shot. We've had some great guards that could shoot. Mickey was one of them. He was a fine leader. Captain of the team. And, became one of our best players up until that time, at the guard position. He and Lee Huber, possibly, were the outstanding guards that we've had. We've had some very fine guards. But Lee Huber and Mickey Rouse, and--kid on our Olympic team, what was his name? RICE: Matthew? No. Oh, Beard? RUPP: No. The other one. RICE: Oh, here? Pyrom. Pyrom. RUPP: Huh? RICE: Kenny Rollins. RUPP: Kenny Rollins, were possibly the outstanding guards that we have had here at Kentucky. [Pause in recording] RUPP: I'm ----------(??). I talked to him. Am I on? RICE: Uh-huh. RUPP: Well, of course, the war was interesting in this respect. The schools had to determine whether or not they were going to continue their athletic programs or not. We here at the university decided that we would discontinue football, but that we would try to maintain the team in basketball. Now, of course it was difficult to get boys for the team, because you'd start building a team, the first thing you know, a boy would be drafted, or be called to the service, and away he'd go, and a lot of schools just discontinued the entire program. I think in the Southeastern Conference there were six schools only that played basketball, and the rest of them just tossed in the sponge. Now, here's how we built this team, and it was very interesting, because it was a very fine team. At the one forward, we had a boy by the name of Tingle. Tingle was rejected from the Armed Services, for the simple reason that he had a broken arm, and it was set, but it caused his arm to be crooked. And, he was rejected on account of that. Now, Tingle was a fine shot in basketball, and a good defensive man when he wanted to be one. And, he had good size, he was about 6'3" and was a hustler, I'll say that much for him. He could really hustle. Now, at the other forward, we had a guy by the name of Schu from down here. Tingle was from Bedford, Kentucky, and Schu was from Versailles, Kentucky. I think that Schu actually stayed with Governor Chandler's family, and they helped him get through school. Now, Schu was deaf. He just couldn't hear anything, and it made it necessary, of course, for me to just speak loud at all times so that they could hear. Now, you couldn't have a boy like that in the army, so he was rejected. Then at center, we had a boy by the name of Campbell, and he was up here around Hamilton, Middlesboro--Middlesburg, Kentucky. Ohio, Ohio, Ohio. Because he stuttered. And, whenever he got excited, he just couldn't--he'd just rattle off a bunch of stuff there that no one could understand him. Now he was rejected too on account of that, because you couldn't have a boy in the Army and have him nervous the way he was, and then not be able to speak very plainly either. Now, at guard, we had a guy by the name of Parkinson from up here at Yorktown, Indiana, the same town that Barker was from. Barker played here later, played on the same team with Parkinson. They were both from this little town of four hundred up there, and they had a fine basketball team there, as I recall, they went as far as the state finals in basketball in Indiana that year. He was just a fine shot. Parkinson had a defect, and was rejected also, so he came here. And, we then had a boy by the name of Parker, Buddy Parker, a local boy here. He was in the Navy, but he developed some ear problems and was dismissed from the Armed Services, and he was over there at school one day, Buddy, I think, played around over at Henry Clay High School a little bit, but Buddy came over there, and I had him suit up one day and work out with us, because we didn't have enough boys to scrimmage, and that evening his mother called me, and she said that Buddy was very, very discouraged that he had been rejected, or dismissed from the Armed--discharged from the Arm--from the Navy, and that she wished that I would do something to get his mind off of that fact. That he was here in town, that most of his buddies would be in the Navy, or the Army, or the Air Force, and that he just felt--he was just down. The boy was down. And his mother said, "Let's see if we can get that boy interested in something." So I talked Buddy into enrolling in school. I believe it was the second semester, and he enrolled in school, and he was the other guard on this team. So, it was completely made up of Army rejects, and it just showed that if you want to go out and try to build a team, it's fine. Now, let's look at these boys to see what made them such a fine basketball team. Tingle, 6'3", an excellent shot. Schu, about 6'2.5", a sturdy fellow, a good rebounder, a fine man all around. Defensively as well. "Dutch" Campbell, about 6'5", I believe he made All-Conference center that year, and he was just a fine basketball player in every respect. It was just fortunate that we got a hold of that boy. I don't remember the contact, or how we got him at all. Now, Parkinson, of course, made All-American. And, he was, I thought, possibly the best shot that I had had here on our teams up until that time. He could drill in that long one. Now, that--this shows again how we figured that basketball here at the University of Kentucky. We always said that in order to have a good team, you've got to be able to make a long shot. If you can't make the long shot, you won't get the short shot, because they'll mass their defense under that basket and not let you get that shot. But, if you can hit from the outside, and every good team has got to have outside shooting, if you don't have outside shooting, you'll not get the inside shooting. Now, Parkinson solved that problem, 6'3", fine shot, could hit well from out there, and then Buddy Parker, of course, a tremendous floor general. He could set up the plays just better than anything. In the first NIT [National Invitational Tournament] Tournament that we won here, it was Buddy that really did the work for us that day to set up the plays, to make this team go. All in all, it was just a fine basketball team, considering the fact that it was during the war, when most of the good basketball players were in the Army, or the Armed Services somewhere. RICE: And Brannum came later I guess. RUPP: Yeah, Bob Brannum came later. That's right. Yes, he came later. Of course, Brannum came--Brannum--there were two boys, Bob Brannum, and then he had another brother, a twin--they were twins. And, some people had difficulty telling them apart. I didn't. I heard about them. I was out visiting my mother in Kansas, and I heard about these two boys down at Winfield, Kansas. They were seventeen years old, and I went down there to see them, and talk to them, and I thought we had both of them here at the university. Well, it so happened that Bob did not want to go to the same school where his twin brother was going to attend. Now, I thought sure that I had both of them. But here, this friction developed right away, and then, either take Bob or take the other brother. Well, Bob was the better player of the two at that time. The other brother then went to Kansas State, and made regular on their team. Both of them would have helped us, and I'd have liked to have them. Bob, I think, made all-American center here, was a fine, courageous, rough--he came as near to being another "Cowboy" Edwards as anything we've ever had around here. He was just rough. And the rougher it got, the better he liked it. And, they didn't move him away from under that basket, he stayed right under there. And, he came here--an unfortunate thing as I felt about the thing, at the time, although it turned out all right, was the fact that he wanted to get married before he came here. Well I told him, I said, "That's not at all going to work out," I said, "Bob, in the first place you're only seventeen years old, and in the first place you ought not to get married you're too young, and in the second place you have no way to support your wife," and I said, "I don't believe the thing's going to work out." But again, here were a bunch of kids, seventeen years old, in love, and he wasn't going to leave Winfield without the girl coming with him. Otherwise he was going to stay there and go to a college there, I think Southwestern College at Winfield, Kansas. A fine school that developed some great outstanding basketball teams, and always have good basketball teams, even when I was a youngster out there in Kansas. But, Bob came with his wife, and of course we had this housing out-- these pre-fab houses, I don't know, we had hundreds, and hundreds, and hundreds of them out there in the area that now I think is Cooperstown. I believe that's what they called it. And, they were a couple of--I bought a couple of them, moved them out to my farm, when they finally dismantled the village. And--but a lot of setting around here in Central Kentucky. We had a sitting room, two bedrooms, a bathroom, and the kitchen and dining room were combined. You can rent it for practically nothing, and Bob got in one of these, and he would--they put them up on the campus, in order to accommodate the veterans that were coming back, and in order to accommodate the people that wanted to go to school, because in the first place, we didn't have a dormitory then where we've got now. We had very few of them. Well, Bob lived out there for about, oh, I guess about six or seven months, then he moved to another housing project here in town that was more perma-- [Pause in recording] OTHER VOICE 1: Let me know if I'm wandering too much. OTHER VOICE: That's all right. I'll weave it out. OTHER VOICE 1: It's already on? OTHER VOICE: Yeah, it's on. OTHER VOICE 1: Okay. I started back in a little tiny place called-- [End of interview] Adolph Rupp begins the interview discussing the effects that World War II had on college athletics. He also discusses the impact the draft had on creating teams. Rupp discusses Mickey Rouse's playing style and how he was able to recruit Rouse to play basketball at the University of Kentucky. He goes in to detail about many players from the 1944-1945 season, including Jack Tingle, Wilbur Schu, Kenton "Dutch" Campbell, Jack Parkinson, and J. "Buddy" Parker. Rupp finishes the interview by discussing the difficulty he had in recruiting Bob Brannum to play basketball for the University of Kentucky.