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undated Interview with Adolph Rupp AF007:1996OH031 A/F 546 00:54:41 University of Kentucky Athletics Project Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries Rupp, Adolph, 1901-1977 University of Kentucky--Basketball Basketball coaches--Biography Basketball--History Adolph Rupp; interviewee Russell Rice; interviewer 1996OH031_AF546_RuppEDT 1:|17(5)|26(8)|36(7)|46(5)|56(14)|68(8)|78(6)|89(10)|98(3)|106(12)|122(2)|130(12)|141(7)|153(5)|166(10)|183(9)|193(6)|205(4)|217(11)|230(10)|249(2)|273(3)|302(9)|335(4)|355(8)|370(12)|381(12)|396(6)|409(6)|420(13)|429(10)|446(6)|458(5)|470(15)|483(8)|497(13)|509(1)|525(1)|538(10)|553(8)|571(4)|585(2)|600(7)|611(9)|622(5)|636(6)|647(2)|658(5)|671(11)|683(7)|705(4) audiotrans ARupp interview RICE: All right. Just -- let's talk about basketball over the years, where it is now, just your views of the game as a whole? RUPP: Well, in talking about basketball, I'll have to talk about it from the very beginnings. When I started in basketball here at the University of Kentucky, there was no such thing as a scholarship. [Pause in recording] RUPP: No. And, of course, my first team I had Worthington, I had Bronson, I had Carey Spicer, I had George Yates, I had Darrel Darby, and one other from Evansville, I can't recall his name now, on the football team, and they were, of course, the boys that I had in basketball. I was hired here as an assistant in football too. And so I was out there, and I turned it over to "Pisgah" Combs, who graduated the year before. And he took little McGinnis, and whatever we had out there, and worked with them, and then I'd come in afterward and I scheduled the practices so that I'd have a chance to see him. And, about the twentieth of November, I'd go out with basketball, and then about December first, the football players had reported. That meant that--we didn't have much time to practice, but I think our first game was the fourteenth of December. Now then, they push them up into November, and basketball now is a big thing. Of course, the big thing then, here at Kentucky, we, of course dominated the situation early. We went to the finals of the Southeastern--not the Southeastern, it was the Southern Conference. We had about forty teams in it, I think. And, we went to the finals with Maryland, and "Buzzy" Berger hit a field goal for them after a tip-off play with about twelve seconds to go, and that's the final score. It was two points difference. But, basketball was an exciting thing. When we came home on the train that evening, there were, oh, I don't know how many, there were thousands of them down there at the southern depot to meet us, and we walked all the way to the Alumni Gym, and they had a big celebration there, Dr. McVey made a speech, and everyone else talked that wanted to, and then they decided to dance. And, well, I went home, I was tired. I didn't shave until we got to Winchester, because "Daddy" Boles said, "Now, you ought to be shaving," he said, "and cleaning up, because," he said, "there's going to be a big crowd down there to meet you." I said, "No one's going to be here to meet us, we lost." He said, "You better shave." So I shaved, and we were ready. Well, we continued to win, win, win. And, finally basketball got to be so big here at Kentucky that the Southeastern Conference decided that football coaches, and assistant football coaches no longer would be the answer if they wanted to cope with basketball. So, we came along, and even in--with old Alumni Gym, we produced the Fabulous Five. I would say, right to this day possibly, the greatest basketball aggregation of all time. I--of course, we didn't have the techniques that the boys have today like the jump shots and all those things, but we had a sound ball club, and we went to--and won the Olympics. But from then, the NCAA tournament didn't amount to a great deal. I think we turned down four of them before we finally accepted to go. We won the NIT [National Invitational Tournament], I believe, in '47 or '-6 or '-7 or in there sometime. And then we decided to go to the NCAA and we won that. And by virtue of winning that, we had to play again to decide who would go into the--and represent the United States in the Olympics, and we wound up with Phillips Oilers. We had an eight point lead when Barker received a broken nose, couldn't play anymore, and they beat us. Beard played a tremendous game. And all of them did. All of them did. Well, we went over there in the Olympics, as everyone knows, and gave a good account of ourselves. Then we came back the next year and won again. Then they refused to allow us to go to the tournament the next year, and they sent North Carolina State, and they were humiliated in the first game. So, the following year they decided, well, we'll send Kentucky again. And they did. And that was, of course, a bunch of sophomores. Hagan, Ramsey, Tsioropoulos and all that crowd, Spivey I think was a junior, and Bobby Watson was a junior. And, we won that. And so we then tailed off until '58 when the Fiddlin' Five won the thing, they had no business winning it. They beat Seattle with Elgin Baylor and a great team behind him. But we won it. And, I've always thought for a bunch of boys to come along and win on shear determination, that was the crowd. Of all time, there's no one. Everyone said that was the worst team that won the NCAA, that may be right. It was possibly not as talented. But, as far as determination is concerned, there's no team ever won it with more determination. Well, I've seen basketball come and go. We built Memorial Coliseum, seat about twelve thousand. Everybody said that I was crazy to build a thing--building that big, but we packed it the first night. We dedicated with Purdue before a capacity crowd and defeated them, I think some--well, easily, it was a nice victory. And from then on basketball continued to grow here at Kentucky. Now, all the schools in the Southeastern Conference finally decided that if they were going to make any money--because basketball was carrying the sport program here at Kentucky. They decided that basketball could make money, but if they were going to make money, they'd have to get bigger places. Now, Tennessee has a bigger place than we have, Vanderbilt has, Alabama has, Auburn has, Georgia has, and the Mississippis have got places about eleven thousand. And, there's only one weak sister in the conference, of course that's Florida, and I think they're getting ready to do something. Well, they have been now for twenty years, so they're getting ready to do something sometime down there. But, basketball, at one time, was a coaching thing. You had great coaches. I remember reading a book, The End of the Giants. Fortunately, they named me, they named Hank Iba, Joe Lapchick, Clair Bee, and Nat Holman. An Era of the Giants, and I would say in those days it was a coaching job. Absolutely. I would say today basketball is now a recruiting proposition. When I see that--in all the sports pages, the great athletes in high school, and the schools that have been in there to recruit them--the schools that have been most successful are those that have taken the outstanding boys and concentrated on those. There's no use to take a guy anymore that just isn't capable of playing. Now it's a recruiting thing. It isn't a coaching thing. I would say that coaching has changed a little since Hank, and Johnny, and I quit, and that's been mainly in the phase of different defenses. Although the defenses aren't so much different as when I quit. We put in a 1-3-1, and I think everyone will give us credit for putting that in. It's been a wonderful thing for us as a jump attempt at a team that was giving us trouble. We put in a 1-3-1 and we've had tremendous success with it, and still are having success with it. The 1-3-1, I think, is one of the best defenses. Although I've often thought at night that the 2-3 might be a great defense to have in reserve. In fact, we used that the last two years that I was here, and we had great success with that. But I would say that the 1-3-1, you've got to have mobility. If you don't have mobility, you're not going to get anywhere. In any defense, mobility is the answer. Aggressive mobility. You haven't got-- [Pause in recording] RUPP: On that, we numbered our boys clockwise. One in front, two at the wing, three in the hole, four at the wing, five at the center, I mean, at the free-throw line. Now then, of course the two and the four positions are exactly the same. And, if you've got great mobility, and we had it when we had Kron out in front, a 6'4.5" guy, and he could knock those passes down and go all the way in and score. On the right, we had Conley. Your strongest man ought to be on that side. In the hole, we had Jaracz. On the other wing we had Dampier, and in the center we had Riley. And, I would say, those boys absolutely personified the acme of perfection as far as defense on the 1-3-1 is concerned. They played their position so well. Now, I would say today that basketball today has gone into a recruiting proposition. When you read the paper, you can take it everyday, so and so has been contacted by so and so and is going to so and so and he's got four colleges--or universities in mind. If you can get the material, of course you can win. If you don't get the material, you're not going to win. There's no use kidding about that at all. And, I would say that your defenses today, from the zone principle, or the man to man plus the zone, are better by far now than they were four years ago when I was coaching. And, I like to see the development of the game. I like to see the professional game. Primarily for the execution that those boys have. But as far as strategy is concerned, it's not there. The college game is still the greatest game in basketball, and I like to see a good college game, and see the boys out there if they're talented. And, you have about eight or ten, maybe twelve universities that have the talent. When they go out there after each other and use the principles that are laid down by their coaches, I think it's the finest basketball that is played in America today. Now, what else? RICE: Pretty good. Pretty good. I don't know. Like I say, this is going to a national press package. I think that's real good talking about the defense like that. I don't know about the offensive phase of the game, maybe you ought to touch on that a little bit. RUPP: From an offensive standpoint, I still believe that the greatest offense that has ever been perfected is the offense that we employed here at the university for a long time, and that's the pivot post offense. That was made famous by the Celtics. The Original Celtics, and I studied their play, I was with them many, many nights, and talked and talked and talked until the wee hours of the morning with them, in order to get--if you haven't got a good pivot man, you're not going to get anywhere with it. Now, we did, at one time, have a pivot man Hagan. He was only 6'4", four and a quarter, but he was the finest boy in the pivot that you could have. He wasn't that big boy that'd go back to the basket and knock it in, but he was a boy that had good hands, could deal the cards off just as well as a guy in Nevada could, and the next thing he could do is go back to the basket, if there wasn't any other alternative, he'd go back to the basket, particularly to his left, and use a hook shot that no one could guard, no one ever was able to guard us, so I don't think they can guard it, and he was possibly the finest pivot man that we have had here at Kentucky. RICE: Hagan. RUPP: Hagan. RICE: Cliff. RUPP: Yeah, Cliff Hagan. Now the athletic director. But, he was really, for his size, a tremendous athlete with good hands, and a good hook shot. We had others like Bob Burrow. We had, of course, guys like Groza, we had guys--many, many fine pivot men in there. But, I would say Issel, next to Hagan, was possibly the finest pivot man that we had in recent years. I can't compare Groza with those, because Groza employed a different style of play than Hagan and Issel did. But Issel--and, I think he has proven that beyond any question at all, that as far as playing a pivot is concerned, he is tremendous. Now he's played pro ball while he's playing pivot. He was terrific. Leading the league in scoring. Then when he went to the outside, to a wing position, he dropped almost ten points. Then when he went back to the pivot again, as the way he did last year, he not only won the league championship, but he also proved that he was effective in the pivot. He was a tremendous pivot man, strong as could be. Much stronger than many pivot men we've had. And, I would say today, if I were again going to coach, I'd go back to the pivot post offense. You had so many possibilities. With our six, and our fives, and our fours, and our sevens, and our eights, and our nines, and our tens, which I can't diagram today, but they were well-executed plays, and we worked on them and worked on them, not only hours, but hundreds and thousands of hours each year in order to perfect it. Then, as far as that's concerned we had the stack offense, and it proved very effective, and still has proven effective, because too many schools today don't realize the effectiveness of the stack. They have a stack, but it's a two man stack. We had a four man stack. And the four man stack was, I think, my idea completely. I thought of it, and we put it in, and it was one of the finest offensive formations that we have ever had. It's part of the pivot post offense, but the pivot post offense with all the variations, we had ten, with many options off of those, plus the post--the stack. I don't believe, if I were coaching for ten, fifteen, twenty more years I would change a single one of those things that we had in those days. RICE: What's the basic principle of the stack? RUPP: Well, the stack is really a double screen. You drop a man in, the man that passes goes in and sets the first screen. The pivot man goes to the opposite side. Then, both of the others come in and screen for them while they go out. Then, if they don't get a shot on the screen, maybe the inside man can get the screen, because they're on the inside. Then, if they don't, they reach back and screen for each other again to try to get the same formation going. And that's the formation that, oh, gee. It just got us basket after basket after basket. RICE: What's happening in this recruiting war? What's going to happen? RUPP: Well, I tell you. I don't know. The NCAA, I think, has been very negligible in actually trying to pin down the recruiting. It's vicious. It's so far more vicious than it ever was when I was coaching. Of course, I was not in on the recruiting, except on rare occasions. And, I don't think Johnny was or Hank was. But, I will say today, if one tenth of what I hear is true, then the NCAA has a problem on this recruiting in all sports. It's getting down to baseball now, and track, and other things. That I'll tell you, they've got their hands full. They better put on a hundred more investigators, and then I don't think they'll find out what's going on. I think they've overlooked a lot of these things, because they know as well as I do. I've talked with some of them. They know the things going on, but there's nothing they can do about it. RICE: Everybody knows what they're doing. RUPP: Yeah. [Tape 1 side 1 ends; side 2 begins] RUPP: I think they've overlooked a lot of these things, because they know as well as I do. I've talked with some of them. They know the things going on, but there's nothing they can do about it. RICE: Everybody knows what they're doing. RUPP: Yeah. [Pause in recording] RUPP: --trying to find out who was financing this boy. RICE: Is that Alcindor? RUPP: Alcindor. And said, "We couldn't find out. We know it's wrong," but said, "There's nothing we can do about it, we can't trace it." And that's the way it was. The guy that's the head of the Big 8 now. The commissioner of the Big 8. ----------(??) RICE: Wayne Duke? RUPP: Wayne Duke, that's the guy. [Pause in recording] OTHER VOICE: That's what he asked me to tell you. RICE: Can you tell me anything different? OTHER VOICE: Now that we've completed six games, nobody's more surprised at the results that we've had at this point, than I think-- [Pause in recording] RICE: That's likely. How about Kelly Coleman? Did we report West Virginia for that or not? RUPP: I don't remember if we did or not. RICE: Yeah, but they got on probation for it. RUPP: Yeah. RICE: Of course, Jackie Moreland, Texas A&M-- RUPP: That's the guy I was thinking about. Jackie Moreland is the guy that we were talking about that went to Duke. And, he promised us faithfully he'd be here. In fact, put his trunk on the train down there. And if it hadn't been for the railroad not being able to find out why that trunk hadn't arrived in Lexington, they'd been--Duke had been clear on that. But Duke got slapped down for a couple of years on that. RICE: Okay. Then, of course, he went to Southwest Louisiana or something. RUPP: Yeah, that's right. That's right. RICE: Ended up playing pro ball, and he's now dead. RUPP: Yeah. Oh, he is? RICE: Yeah. Died a couple of years ago. Oh, Schroeder. Just--there's a kid, John Schroeder that enrolled here and ended up at Ohio University. RUPP: Yeah. RICE: That-- RUPP: I don't remember those details too well. He was a big kid. RICE: But, how different the kids must have got all of the sudden. RUPP: Umhmm. Yeah. RICE: That their word was no longer binding. RUPP: Yeah, that's right. That's right. Kids would promise you, and we've mentioned the Schroeder kid, we mentioned Moreland, we've mentioned Brads, we've mentioned a bunch of these others that all agreed to come here, and for some reason or another, changed their mind at the last second. I don't know what caused them to change their mind, because I would be of the impression that if a fellow put his trunk on a train, it'd take a lot of persuasion to get him to change his mind, but I understand that in that particular case, if I'm not mistaken, his sister was offered a nurses scholarship to attend Duke, and that she blew the curtain on that case down there then. RICE: Alcindor. RUPP: Well-- RICE: Were we ever in the running for him? RUPP: No. No, we never recruited Alcindor at all. That's a mistake. In fact, I didn't think we could get him, and at that time, we were not making a run for those boys. The first real colored boy that we went after was this boy down here at Louisville that played so many years of pro ball-- RICE: Wesley Unseld? RUPP: Wesley Unseld. That was the first colored boy that we ever contacted to come to the University of Kentucky, as far as I can remember. RICE: What happened there? RUPP: Well, Mr. Shively and I went down there to visit there at an appointed time with him. He didn't come along. And, we didn't understand why he didn't come, so we sat there and talked to his parents, in just a modest little home, and finally he came there with Dromo, I believe was the coach, and Dromo was with Louisville, and he came in and he shook hands with us, and he said that he had to leave, that he was going with Dromo to hear Dromo speak somewhere, and he was sorry that he couldn't visit with us. And, I think we talked to him about--well, we didn't talk to him at all, that was the end of the conversation period. And, so Mr. Shively and I stayed there and we talked to Mr. and Mrs. Unseld for quite some time. I would say well on to an hour. And we presented our case as fairly as we could. Mr. Shively did a fine job to help me that night, and so finally we told them goodbye, and said that they would tell Wesley everything that we said, and that we should make another appointment to come back. We never got that appointment back again, so--never got the first one for that matter. But he was the first one we really put some emphasis on to try to get to come up here. The next one was "Butch" Beard, and of course "Butch" Beard, we had so much help from the Mattingly family here in Lexington to help us with him, and he promised us faithfully that he would be here, and he came here to a track meet with some people, I don't remember who he was with, but he came up here to a track meet, we were running UK relays, I believe, at the time. And, he came here, told us he was coming, but at the same time, on his way up here, had signed at Louisville. And, I don't know why a boy will tell you something like that, and then know that he's done wrong. We had this boy up here from, I believe Hazard that played at Western, what is his name? RICE: Rose. RUPP: Yeah, Rose boy, and he flew in from down Texas somewhere, and I don't remember, he was somewhere, and he called the mayor, or the manager of Hazard to meet him at Louisville. They stopped here on the way back and the boy faithfully told us that he would be here the next day or the following day and go to school. And this man that went to all that trouble to go down and get him, take him back up there, was so delighted, and two days later when he signed--or, the next day when he signed that--I don't know when it was, at Western, this man called me from Hazard and told me that he never would have gone down there to get him. He said, "That boy just stood there and lied to you," and he said, "I'm never going to fool with fellows like that again," he said. And, well, now I've given you about five, or six, or seven, or eight cases here of boys that have promised--good boys that they would be here at the school. And, I remember this boy Mac-- RICE: Daniels? RUPP: Daniels. We went down there. We really made an effort to get that boy. And, Harry went down there, I believe with Joe Hall or somebody, whoever our assistant was at the time. And, they--he drove in while they were waiting for him there with a car from Warren County that had, I believe, thirty-six miles on it, a Chevrolet, and they visited, and they were suspicious of this thing, and he said it was his car--well, didn't know how he was going to get that car, but anyway, he got it, and Harry said, "Now drive up to Lexington and let's go over our situation up there." And he said, "No," he said he was afraid to drive the car. He said he hadn't driven a car much, and he didn't want to take that new car and bring it up here. Well, the matter of fact of the case is he'd already been--had already agreed to go to Western, and I don't know how he got the car, or anything like that. There was a veterinarian down there, I believe his name was Allen, who was acting as his right hand man, and he himself told me that he would deliver McDaniels if we could get someone to put up a two hundred thousand dollar note to allow him to build a small animal hospital down there in his home town. He had a little animal hospital out there in his home, and I was out there, and he knew that he had to do better than that, so he came up here and made that deal with some of our local bankers here. Well, our local bankers at the time were very suspicious of the thing, and of course you can't get two hundred thousand dollars and loan it to a fellow in the animal hospital business at a town so far away and be sure that you might never get any of it back. I don't think he got it anywhere else, but then that was the deal that he proposed to us, and I heard it myself. RICE: Did you have very many deals proposed like that? Over the years? RUPP: No, I didn't have. I didn't have many deals. That was a--that was the biggest deal I ever had. I had parents ask me for clothes for their boys for four years, and extra spending money and things like that, but that was all. We never went out for things like that. RICE: You never took a real active part in recruiting, did you? RUPP: No, I didn't. I didn't take a very active part in recruiting at all. In the first place, didn't have to, second place, Harry was doing a pretty good job for us, and then we came along, we had a bunch of them, then assistant coaches, that didn't do much. They promised a lot of things, but then whenever I went then, they said, "Now, if you'll come," just like we had this thing with this Hosket kid up here at Hamilton or Middletown, Ohio, I don't know where it was, and we were practicing one afternoon, Mondo Angelucci was there, and I went back to my office to get my hat and coat to go home, it was about 4:30 or later, and my assistant coach up there at the time said, "If you will come we can sign him tonight." He said, "They're going to have a--" said, "We're going to have a dinner party up here, and they're throwing a dinner party for him tonight, and we're invited and they want you to come." Well, I was tired, and Mondo says, "We've got to go." He say, "We've got to get that boy." And he said, "If we can sign him tonight." So I got the papers and everything and put them in my pocket, and we went up there (chuckle) and I got the shock of my life because they had the house filled with people. I think when we sat down to eat there were twenty-four of us there, in that neighborhood, and they asked what I wanted, and he said he wanted that big--well, it was a seven and a half dollar steak, and he wanted the supreme shrimp cocktail, that was a big job, and he wanted an extra order of mushrooms, and he said, "My girlfriend here will have exactly the same thing." And I said, "Well, this is going to be--someone's going to get hooked with a real bill." Well, we finally finished the meal, and we were then going over by the house to sign him, and I could smell all along that we were down a bad alley, because I had asked him in the meantime to sign there in front of all those people, and he didn't want to do that. And so we went back to the house and he told us frankly that he hadn't definitely made up his mind. Well, on the way out, I didn't know who was going to pay for this meal, I was invited to it, so was Mondo, and they came and said, "Well, who's going to pay this bill?" "Well," I said, "I don't know who's going to pay it." I said, "I was invited to it." And I didn't have that much money on me in the first place. And so I asked our assistant coach, I said, "How much money have you got?" I said, "Who's paying for this?" He said, "I don't know!" He said, "I was invited to it." Well, it turned out to be a good-sized bill, and one of the other fellows jumped in and paid a little of it, but again, there was another thing there, just misrepresentation. Of course, we got caught with the deal, and it was a nice bill, and that taught me a lesson after this. If you're going to invite anyone out, invite him yourself, don't invite anyone that you don't want, because all these other deadheads that was--his mother was there, he, his girlfriend, and then all these other deadheads that didn't help a bit, except to eat and run up a check. RICE: Has the NCAA done much to stop all this? I know they've visits now, and what you can feed them. RUPP: Well, they've limited the visits, but then again, that's being violated. I know that's being violated. And, they've--we proposed--I made that proposal at the convention in Louisville, that we limit the visits to two, and the visits of the coaches to two, and they got up right away, someone in the back of the room and bellowed at the top of his voice, and he said, "That's fine for UCLA, and Purdue," Purdue had a great team at that time, "and Kentucky. But how's it going to help the small schools?" Well, they finally worked around to agree then that the small schools could visit five times, and have the boy as many times as they wanted to, and the whole thing broke down. But the NCAA had not ruled on the thing yet, and they made some progress in that respect. The visits are supposed to be two, forty-eight hours each. And, the parents are supposed to be invited in once, forty-eight hours, and those are being violated, and everybody knows it, and the contact, you're not supposed to contact a boy, and what is an official visit. I don't know what an official visit is anymore. But if you go to a town--now, suppose I were going to a ballgame in, well, Podunk Center, and they had a good boy there, and after the game I shook hands with the parents and visited with them a little bit, common decency almost demands that you do that. And then you say hello to the boy, played a nice game, and all that. Is that an official visit? Well, it isn't supposed to be, but you've got to be awful careful. What is an official visit? They try to say, "Well, that's a visit where you come into their home and visit with them there, and maybe to invite them out to dinner." Well, you can do that, but how many times can the alumni do it besides you? RICE: If you had it all to do over again, these last dozen or so years, recruiting wise, would you have done anything different? RUPP: No. No, I wouldn't. I wouldn't. Because I don't know of any violations that we had. I wouldn't--we didn't go out, and those people that wanted things in addition to the scholarship, I was scared to death. The last ten years, I'll admit, I was scared to death to even think about the thing, because I was in line to be president of the National Association of Basketball Coaches. And the nearer I got to that, it's a ten year process, the nearer you get up there to where you're the president, wouldn't it be a beautiful thing to say that the president of the National Association of Basketball Coaches has been caught violating the recruiting rules. And that scared me to death. And I kept after Harry and everybody else. I said, "Boys, for God sake, don't get us into any trouble." And that's what we lived by. RICE: All right. The attitude that you have to cheat to win. It must be carried over from assistants that go from one school to another. Everybody does the same thing, coach. I mean, not everybody, I mean these certain groups, they pull the same tricks, and they're always trying to see how to get--beat the NCAA. RUPP: That's right. You take these coaches now that move. They're always moving back and forth and back--especially in football where you have ten, twelve coaches. One school, I think had fifteen. You--all these guys know what these other schools are doing. Some have been to four or five different schools. T hey know what the recruiting procedures are at that school, and they know about how to get by, and how far you can go, and they put this thing together then wherever they land. And, they say this is what they did down there, and don't let them tell you any different. Well, you're not going to squeal on them, because if you would, I don't believe you'd get a job very often at any other school anymore. So, these assistants are careful, they'll talk, but they're careful where they talk. RICE: What about Fred Taylor giving everything up? RUPP: How's that? RICE: The Ohio State--Fred Taylor, all this success and then-- RUPP: Well, he had a lot of success there, but he had the success, I think, with the boys that were there when he took over the job. But I think Fred Taylor, essentially, wouldn't cheat at all, and I made that statement ver--many times up in Ohio. But he lost good boys right out of Columbus that went elsewhere to play. But Fred Taylor was just absolutely strict. And, you say that you have to cheat to win, well he won nicely with boys that I don't believe were getting a dime. And then, of course, he did have some very disastrous years, but they'll come to you if you stay in the business long enough, they will. But this idea that you have to cheat to win is wrong. You don't have to cheat to win. There's some plenty--there are plenty of good schools that are winning. If that's the case, take all these schools that are winning, and all these conferences, and year after year, they're consistent in doing that. I've had someone tell me that two of these Big Ten schools are always cheating. That's the reason they're winning. The rest of them can't compete with them. I don't believe that. I don't believe that at all. I think these schools that are winning are just doing a better job coaching, a better job of recruiting, a better job of public relations than the other schools are doing. And, a lot of kids want to go to a school that's winning and sit on the bench. They'd rather sit on the bench with a championship team than to play on a team that can't win. And I've had boys tell me that many times. "We want to play with a team that's consistently winning. And we don't want to play on any of these other schools." And I think that's one reason there that we got so many good boys there to come here to Kentucky, because they wanted to be with a winner. [Pause in recording] RUPP: And, the basketball immediately started getting more popular. And we had some very, very fine officials. I would say that at the time--well, I terminated my services as a coach in the Southeastern Conference, I would say that we had about six or seven, maybe ten, I'll make it ten to give credit to them. We had ten excellent officials in the Southeastern Conference that would measure up with a team--with any officials in other areas. And, we had some of these officials that finally worked in the NCAA playoffs. They never got into the finals, but they did work the semi-final games, and that, of course, was a big boost, and of course, I fought every time I could in the NCAA meetings that we ought to have officials from all areas. They finally carried it, I think, a little bit too far, and they made a rule that no official from the area could work in an NCAA tournament. In other words, we had Pacific Coast officials in here several times, and I thought their interpretation was just out of this world. I just didn't think that it was right in any way. I still think the Big Ten possibly had the best officials. They had some excellent officials there. Rex--not--that wasn't his name, Enright, Jim Enright was an excellent official out of Chicago. One of--and he worked many final games in the NCAA. Then I think the Southeastern conference had the next best officials, then the Atlantic Coast possibly third, and the Pacific Coast had the worst officials I've ever seen work in the NCAA tournaments. Now, you've got to educate these officials. In our league, and I think they do it everywhere else, they have a commissioner just of officials. And, they have these men meet, and they go everything--over everything. They then give them a written examination, and they have to pass that, and then they have a checkup before anyone can get to work in the Southeastern Conference, they have to be out--they have to be observed before they even get a tryout, and if they get a tryout, then they're checked very, very carefully before they finally get on a full-time basis. And I think officials, as a rule in the Southeastern Conference, caught on quicker, and developed more rapidly than they did in any other area. RICE: What about when you officiated? Back in high school? RUPP: Well, I officiated myself, and so I had a very kind idea on officiating. I worked basketball games when I was out in Kansas, and of course, fifteen dollars and that was it, and maybe you got twenty dollars, and then I went to Iowa and I worked there, and they had a--they had two games, one a girls game, and then a boys game. I'd never seen a girls game before in my life. And I had to get in there and learn these rules, and I wasn't the best official by any means. I thought I was a good official for boys. But I was too strict. I never will officiate like that again, if I had it to do all over again. I was way too strict. When I came to Kentu--Illinois, I worked at a lot of tournaments there, and then when I came to Kentucky here, I worked many tournaments way up into the state finals. I never got in the state finals, I didn't want to. I went to observe the players more than I did anything else. But, I worked here and had a steady diet of games with Morehead and with Eastern, and with Western, and with Centre College, and with Georgetown, and all these other colleges around here. And then I had a heavy diet of high school games, more than I should have had at the time, because when you have a practice, leave say at 5, 5:30 and run maybe up to Morehead, you're kind of tired when you get there. I always tried to get someone to drive for me going up, I'd drive coming back, and I worked both football and basketball, and had a very--as far as I know, I never had any complaint at any time at all from any of these coaches, and I thought that maybe at times--I know I didn't work good games every night. I know that. And should possibly have been criticized, but then I never criticized a lot of officials for the simple reason that I had gone through all that experience, and you can't tell if a guy is working a good game or not. It depends entirely on the game. And, some games are difficult to officiate. Some aren't. Some just simply run along just smoothly, and it's just a question of getting the game over with. Others, of course, present problems. RICE: All right. What about a guy like Lou Bello, that type of official? RUPP: Well, we had, of course, some people that were grand standers. I thought, of course, that Jim Enright of Chicago put on a good act. He was loud. Very loud. Frank Lane was not nearly--he wasn't obnoxious in anything, but he was positive. When Frank said something is a foul, it was a foul. There was no argument by anybody. The same, of course, of Enright. He was an excellent official. And, I liked both of them. Now, we had a fellow by the name of Lou Bello, he was from the other conference. He's from the eastern section of the United States, I believe, North Carolina. He was a good official when he wanted to be, but I think he made a serious mistake many times. I know he came into our coliseum here and the first thing he did was go over to the cheerleaders and shake hands with them and visit with them and hug one of them, and of course, that was all right as far as I was concerned, because they were our cheerleaders. But, I always thought that Bello, he yelled too much and hollered too much, and jumped up and down and threw his hands around and stuff like that, which I don't believe was necessary. He was reprimanded, I know, by the coach's association, and--not by the coach's association, I don't think they ever reprimanded him, but I mean by the different conferences for being a little too loud, and being too--attract too much attention. But he was a good official. But all this other sideshow stuff was not necessary. He was a good official without that. But people liked him. They always cheered when he came on the floor, regardless of wherever that was. And he knew all the time that he had charge. And, regardless who the other official was, that didn't make any difference. He called whatever he saw, wherever it was, and just disregarded the other official. I'd say he was a good official, except he put on too much of a grandstand show. RICE: I've got to turn my lights on. Uh oh, excuse me. Sorry. [Pause in recording] RICE: Now, before the war, they were always complaining because Kentucky was so rough. The people down South were. Now, was that because you were playing the Big Ten teams? RUPP: Yeah. RICE: And no harm no foul, and the South had not caught up. RUPP: Had not caught up with it. RICE: All right. Now after the war when the South started using illegal screens-- RUPP: Umhmm. RICE: They were the ones that--were they rough? RUPP: They were rough, yeah. RICE: But it was a different type of roughness. RUPP: Yeah, that's right. They did not understand, at all. It was a--there was a complete difference between the eastern, and my idea of it. They thought we were playing rough, so they thought contact had-- [End of interview] The interview begins with Adolph Rupp describing his illness and treatment. He goes on to recap the tournament history of his first basketball teams at the University of Kentucky, going on to describe how the Southeastern Conference decided that basketball could be a good resource for income. Rupp discusses his personal favorite defense formation in basketball, weighing the pros and cons of both a 1-3-1 and a 2-3. He explains his offensive strategy and how he developed the ideas from the Original Celtics team. Rupp mentions the best pivot men he has had at the University of Kentucky, including Dan Issel, Cliff Hagan, Bob Burrow, and Alex Groza. Rupp details the troubles he's had with recruiting, mentioning Kelly Coleman, Jackie Moreland, John Schroeder, Wesley Unseld, Alfred "Butch" Beard, Jim Rose, Jim McDaniels, and Bill Hosket. Rupp talks of his fears of getting caught up in a recruiting scandal as he neared becoming the president of the National Association of Basketball Coaches. Rupp refutes the idea that you have to cheat to win, mentioning Coach Fred Taylor of Ohio State as an example. Rupp finishes the interview by talking about the referees and differences between conference referees, and the differences in what are consider fouls between conferences. insert here