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October 28, 1971 Interview with Adolph Rupp, October 28, 1971 AF007:1996OH033 A/F 548 01:01:51 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 University of Kentucky--Presidents Oswald, John W. (John Wieland), 1917-1995 Kirwan, Albert Dennis Singletary, Otis A. UKAW Adolph Rupp; interviewee Russell Rice; interviewer 1996OH033_AF548_Rupp 1:|9(7)|19(9)|29(9)|41(7)|51(13)|62(4)|72(1)|83(10)|91(9)|101(1)|112(13)|123(7)|134(14)|147(2)|158(13)|171(13)|181(1)|190(2)|205(1)|215(1)|225(9)|237(13)|246(12)|254(9)|264(11)|274(3)|281(7)|292(8)|304(4)|315(9)|328(3)|340(7)|350(3)|360(4)|369(1)|379(11)|391(1)|402(3)|412(9)|422(3)|431(9)|445(9)|455(4)|465(14)|474(8)|483(1)|494(11)|503(3)|511(7)|527(5)|536(11)|547(9)|557(1)|566(10)|576(9)|589(3)|601(3)|613(2)|625(5)|637(8)|649(1) audiotrans ARupp interview RUPP: We now come to President Oswald, who came here to the University of Kentucky, and he followed Dickey. So I've had a great opportunity to see these various presidents in action, and to get an idea of how they felt in regard to athletics. Where Donovan felt that we should have great teams, that they would be good public relations for the entire state, Dickey was of the opinion that football teams would be all right if we'd win 50 percent of our games. He felt that half of the teams that play on a given day can only win, if that many, because there's bound to be some ties. If victory is the only gratification to be had, the total of disappointments will always be greater than the total of satisfaction. Sports should provide an escape for built up energy and emotions, and not a sense of frustration. He did not feel that changes should be made which would diminish the desire to win. Now, he--I don't believe that Dickey felt that the sports program played a big part in the educational process here at the university. And I don't believe that there was a great deal of pressure on President Dickey at any time, in regard to this. Now, remember the academic standards have been gradually going up here at the university. Donovan was the first to suggest this, and Dickey, of course, also wanted to raise the academic requirements, feeling that the university should, in a sense, be the model for the entire state of Kentucky. Now when Dr. Oswald came in, the Wildcat Club, and some of the others downtown, The Quarterback Club, I believe, was a club that was organized at that time, felt that we've got a man now that played football. And he certainly understands football better than these other fellows that never played football that have been presidents of the school. It was true that Dr. Oswald did play some football at DePauw University, but he got his greatest recognition by being selected by Sports Illustrated, twenty-five years after that, on the silver anniversary, I believe, for men who participated in football that were selected on the All-American team as having achieved great distinction. And, naturally they felt that they now had a man in there that they could go up to and say, "Listen, we've got to lower these standards, and we've got to get some football players in here from Pennsylvania, and some of these other coal mining areas, where they really have bigger football players." I've often heard it said that all you have to do, in order to get a good football team, is get a couple of busses, and go up along the Ohio River, above Pittsburgh, take one bus on one side of the river, and the other one on the other side of the river, and come down through those areas, and by the time you'd get to Maysville, Kentucky you ought to have two good football teams. And that's the way to get the football players. To go up to Pennsylvania. And The Quarterback Club felt that the standards, the entrance requirements should be lowered, and that would be the way to build a football team. They had some support, too, out here on the campus. But, they didn't realize that Oswald was as tough on these academic requirements, because he came here with only one idea in mind, and that was to even increase the reputation of the university as an academic institution. In fact, he got in bad right away, and we might as well say some things here, because I'm not going to mince any words. I'm going to tell it just the way I saw the story. Now, when I say he got in bad, he had an idea that you should remove the deans every five years and allow someone else to be the dean. Well, that didn't set good at all with any of the deans, I'm sure. And, it didn't set very good with a lot of the townspeople, because these deans who had been established here for quite a length of time had built up enormous friendships, and they, of course, felt they should stay there as long as they were qualified. But, Dr. Oswald thought that if a man had any ability at all, he ought to be able, during a period of five years, to put those thoughts into operation, and then turn it over to someone else and let him put his ideas in operation, and that would be the best way to build up a department. Well, that may have some merits. I won't say that's wrong. But he started shoving some people around, and the minute you start doing that in an old established university such as you have here, you step--start stepping on toes, you're going to get some static. And he started getting static very quickly. Now, I say he would not lower the standards but raise them. But--and, continued to do that. Now, he was more interested in integration, I believe here, than in anything else. As you know, at that time, the schools in the South had not integrated, and there was quite a discussion taking place, especially in Mississippi about this very thing. Donovan started integration, and we had very little trouble with it here in Kentucky. It was true, they did not allow it on any of the athletic teams, there was no use for us to recruit colored athletes here, for the simple reason that we couldn't play them in conference competition. I've had some people say to me, "Well, why didn't you drop out of the conference?" I don't drop out of a conference. That is a matter for the athletic board, and for the board of trustees to decide the conference that the university belongs to, and not the basketball coaches. It's just as simple as that. And people don't do a great deal of thinking when they say, "Well, why didn't you drop out of the conference?" Well, the thing then came that we had--ought to integrate our teams. Well, now then, you can see the trouble that we had there right away. We had it in more respects than one. First, and right here is the crux of almost the entire situation, we have had integration in our southern schools from the dawn of history until now. Now, you're integrating, and you're allowing the Negroes to come to the university, but owing to the poor academics that you have furnished these people up until now, they couldn't pass these rigid entrance requirements that we have imposed on them here. Now, let's see, where does that leave us? We're making a bonafide effort to get these boys here, to play for us. But we can't get them in the school. And so the coaches are getting the blame for not integrating the teams. At the same time, you're finding these colored boys saying that they do not want to be the first to break the color line in the South. I've had them tell me, not once, not twice, but many times that they did not want to be the first to go into Mississippi and play basketball, and be right there confined in a small area. Because at that time, at Mississippi State, we were having plenty of trouble, and we were all white. So you can imagine what might have happened there, how explosive that might have been. Well, Dr. Oswald insisted on this. Now, I just want to take you back to the scene now, and just let you know exactly what happened. Mr. Shively came in, and told me that Dr. Oswald was very interested. I said, "Yes, I know he is, he's talked to me about the thing." And, I said, "The first thing you're going to have to do," I said, "I can get them, but can you get them in?" "Well," he said, "Adolph," he said, "I understand your problem, but," he said, "can't you find someone that you can get in here?" I said, "Yes, I can find someone to get in here, but I can't find someone that can play and get him in here." So, as a result, Bob Johnson, of course, came down to see me several times. He now--of course, Mr. Shively was taken out of the athletic department and was put in on the payroll of the university, and Bob Johnson was made head of student affairs. A separate office had been created. And, the athletic department was put under this department of student affairs. And Bob Johnson was really almost a custodian of the athletic department. He came down here, and he'd try to tell us what to do. Well, it was a very complicated affair. But, we never knew what to do or where we were getting our orders, or--one was telling us this, and--well, it just wasn't the way I like to see a department run. Well, it finally wound up that one day they asked me to come up to the president's office, and I went up there. They told me how important it was to be integrated. Bob Johnson was there, Bernie Shively was there, the president was there and I was there. And it started out very friendly, and I just pointed out, just as I have to you, the problem that we were having. He says, "Well, get someone. I don't care if he sits on the bench," I says, "I'm not going to do that." I said, "I'm not going to get someone and have him sit on the bench." I said, "I don't recruit that way. When I recruit, I'm going to get someone that can play. And the only way I'm going to offer anybody a scholarship is if they can play." Well, we kind of got a little heated about that thing, but that didn't--that kind of blew over a little bit, so we came down and Mr. Shively said, "Well, you can see now how important it is that we make a real effort." So Mr. Shively made some trips with us. I said, "You go with us." And he made some trips with us. We went down and tried to get this Wesley Unseld. We went into his home, were treated fairly nice by he and his mother and by his father. He came in, of course, and stood around there for about, oh, I'd say five or six minutes, and then his coach came and got him, and they went out to somewhere, I don't know where they went, but we had an appointment with him. But we talked to the mother and the father and it didn't get anywhere, and we never got anywhere at all with that situation. Later on we found out why we didn't, but that's another story that maybe I'll tell someday and maybe I won't. But anyway, we kept drifting, every other day, it seemed, Mr. Shively would come into my office and say, "Coach, had a call from the president, he wants to know how you're getting along with these colored boys." Well, maybe I hadn't even been out of town, or called anyone during that time. You just can't go out and find someone. If you could do that I'd go out and find a 7' center every afternoon. But you can't do that. You can't find anybody. Then the next thing, after you find someone that you can get, can you get them in school? That's the next thing. Well, finally it came time for another conference up there at the president's office. And we went up there and we really had it. I mean, we got there and Mr. Shively started laughing, he says, "I kind of enjoy this," he says, "I like to be in a conference where two strong-headed guys get together like you two fellows do." He said, "I'm enjoying this." And the president, I don't think liked it too well, but he said, "Well, I'm just going to tell you what I'm going to do. I'm going to demand that you get some colored boys." He says, "You're keeping us, and probably jeopardizing us from getting all this federal help, which amounts to some eleven million dollars." And he said, "If we don't get this through, it's because basketball is the last segregated department that we have here in the university." I said, "Well, doctor," I says, "if you can help me any, suppose you help me go and recruit then." I said, "It's just that simple. I made an effort." I says, "I brought you the list, told you the times, and we made an effort to go get these boys, and we haven't been able to get them." And I said, "I can't get them." I said, "I had Bernie Shively go with me and we couldn't get them." And I said, "Now, if you and Bob Johnson can get them," I says, "hop to it." I said, "It's going to suit me fine." Well, as a result of that, we didn't get anybody. And, before he left, we did sign a boy. We signed a boy from Owensboro, Kentucky. And this boy agreed to come here. But before we--as soon as they found out that we had signed him, a school from out of state came and got him, took him out of this state, and didn't bring him back into the state until after he had been at that school and enrolled in school, and attended classes so it was impossible for us to get him to come here to the university. But that's exactly what happened. Now, we also tried to get this Beard boy to come here. We thought we had that boy. I don't think--I had some help here in town, and I think these people will come out from their homes, from out of the bushes, and tell you that they did everything they could. I had some women here in town, wonderful people, who offered to allow the mother and the father to visit in their homes, and to stay all night with them if they would come here to pay us a visit. They wouldn't come and visit us. This Beard boy wanted to come here. I'm positive he wanted to come here. He came here one day at a track meet. I was out here at the track with him, and he told me that he had decided to come to the University of Kentucky. And I says, "Fine, let's shake hands on that." We did. He did not come to the University of Kentucky, and before the day was over, had signed with the University of Louisville. [Pause in recording] RUPP: Now, things got a little complicated after that, because Beard made an effort after that, if we understand everything correctly as it was reported to us, he even tried to get a lawyer to break that contract he had with the University of Louisville, because he felt he had been tricked, as he told us, into signing that contract. He thought, as he told me, that he was signing for some clothes. Why the boy would make a statement like that and not read the contract is something I don't know. But he tried to break it. He wanted to come here. He told me he wanted to come here. But the facts are he didn't. All right. We had another boy that wanted to come here from Hazard, Kentucky. I do know that he made a trip to Texas to visit a school. He came back to Louisville on a plane and called for the mayor of Hazard to come and get him. The mayor of Hazard went down there and got him, brought him into my office, he sat in here, and agreed to come to the University of Kentucky. The mayor was the happiest man that you have ever seen. The next morning the mayor called me and was beside himself; the boy had signed to go to Western Kentucky. Now tell me that I didn't make an effort to get these boys? We did. We made every effort that we could. And, I don't know. I don't know if it satisfied the president or not. Well, anyway, things didn't go too well around here. Bradshaw, of course, had trouble with his football team after one of his losses to Georgia. He had a very rough practice on a Monday and got four of his boys hurt, and Dr. Oswald was very much concerned about this. He investigated this thing. He was assured by Bradshaw and Mr. Shively that nothing unusual had happened at that practice that wouldn't have happened anywhere else. And I believe them. If they said it, that's good enough for me. And, Oswald was interested, I think, in winning. He made trips with us to several of the tournament games. I think liked to live in the limelight. I remember he went with us to the Astrodome. I was delighted to make that trip with him. Bradshaw invited me to make many trips with them, invited Mrs. Rupp to go on several trips, which I appreciated. But the trip I appreciated most was the one we made to the Astrodome, and after watching the practice there that day, I said, "Bradshaw," I said, "I hate to see you play here." I said, "You're going to get some boys hurt here tomorrow." That proved correct. Norton got hurt there. We were sitting there with an invitation to play in the Cotton Bowl, and after the game was over, of course, that invitation was withdrawn. Now, Bradshaw, of course, didn't have a contract. I don't think it was of indeterminate length. In other words, it was agreed that whenever he decided not to coach football, or if he were removed, he'd be given another job here at the university in some other capacity. He was placed on retirement and everything worked along nicely here. So, I just don't know. But things seemed to drift badly for Dr. Oswald. In fact, he built up the animosity of the local papers. And whenever you do that, you're in trouble. As I have often said, I am not particularly concerned what they say about me in papers away from here. The thing that concerns me is when I have to pick up the local paper, and my family picks up the local paper, and find out that they are really blistering me. Now that's a thing I tried to avoid. Now, he couldn't avoid that. I do think that he was treated, possibly, fairly by the press in Louisville. They took him apart at times, but I think he was treated fairly well there. But locally here, his image was negative. On the campus it was split. There were some that felt that he was doing a great job from an academic standpoint. There were others, and a great majority of them, that absolutely despised him. I don't think that he particularly liked unusually successful people around him. I think what he wanted, primarily, was yes-men. I think he wanted to run the show. I think, as he once said, he was hired to do the job and he planned to do it. And whenever he said something, he wanted it done just like that. And he'd want yes men around him. And he didn't want anyone on the campus that had a reputation, or that attracted the limelight away from him. I've often thought of some of these great professors we had down through the years, like Dean Anderson and Dean Funkhouser, and men like that. I just wonder how soon they would have collided, had they been here on the campus at the time of this administration. Because there were strong-willed men that had reputations that were known internationally. Well, I think that sums up, to a large degree, the thing as I knew the man. Loved by some, admired by many, and just simply ignored and almost hated by a vast majority of people here in the commonwealth. They were glad when he left. Oh, there was a group that met and pleaded for him to stay. The papers, some of them, said that they'd made a great mistake. That the academics of the university would now go down the drain. Well, this has been some three or four years since then, they haven't gone down the drain yet, and I'm not too sure they will. But, the whole thing is, there is peace on the campus again that we didn't have. I think that during the Oswald administration, particularly the last year, people just felt uneasy about making any moves on the campus. They didn't know where to go, what to do, or how to do it, and they surely were afraid to say anything that might cause, or arouse any feeling by the administration. I think the man also was misunderstood in a lot of ways. I know that this finally came to light, and it came to light because I saw it myself. There was much said about the fact that the man went out to Carnahan House and there above the garage, had a very plush apartment made, and that he would go out there and he'd go out and paint pictures and go out there and relax. But after all, it was just a place where he went and spent a lot of time, and that there was an awful lot of money spent. In fact, the amounts ranged from thirty to sixty thousand dollars that he had spent out there by using university labor. If that was the case, then of course it should have been a very plush apartment. Now, it is my own observation, I went out there and I saw this apartment after he left. If that was a plush apartment, then I live on a castle on the Rhine worth five hundred million dollars. That was not plush in any way. That was just a very modest little apartment that he had up there. The rooms were very small, and the furniture was just as modest as it could be. In fact, everything that he had at Maxwell Place was a hundred times better than what he had out there. If he went out there it was to get away from the pressure that he had here at Maxwell Place. He could go out there and hide, that is true. And, of course it's--I don't blame him for that, because I do think a man in that capacity should have a place where he can go and hide. And I think that was the object of this. But the fact that the people said that he was going out there and had spent all this money and occasionally had some of his friends out there and they had balls out there, you couldn't have had a ball out in that place if you'd have wanted to. There wasn't room enough to turn around. The ice box was just a very tiny little refrigerator, the stove was just a very small electric stove, and the furniture, as I said, was just as modest as you could buy. In fact, you wouldn't have had it in your own home, because it's a proven fact, and I saw it myself, it didn't cost much. And the university labor that was used, I don't believe there were two thousand dollars spent, maybe twenty-five hundred dollars, fixing up the whole thing. That'd be my rough estimate of the thing. The floors were covered just plainly, and there was nothing elaborate about it. You know those are vicious rumors that they get out about a man, and it's a shame that you just don't sometimes catch those things. You never hear of those things when they're said about you. But it's a shame that he just didn't appoint a committee and have them go out there and look at that thing. Maybe he wasn't aware of this thing. But that rumor was so widespread, and I know it was damaging, because people felt that he was spending money from the university that should go to augment the salaries of the faculty. Well, that's--nothing more foolish was ever said about a man than that. Now I know, I said a man ought to have a place to go to take the pressure off. I know during the basketball season, and I know--I'm sure it's during the football season, when these coaches feel that they would like to get away from it all, I know after a Saturday night's game, I wish I had a place on my farm where I could go and just sit there, and relax, and think about the game, and not have any pressures, not hear any telephone ring, not hear the AP and the UP call from Atlanta, and then have them call from maybe New York City, and have them call from Louisville and everywhere else bothering me. And I'd like to stay there until Sunday afternoon and then come in and work out against the plays that the opposing coach has, and then go back out there and relax again Sunday evening. There wouldn't be anything nicer than that. So, the idea of having a place where an executive can relax, I think most corporations furnish those hideouts for people, and certainly the University of Kentucky is a big enough corporation that it ought to have a hideout for a president. Now, it was during the Oswald administration that Bernie Shively, our athletic director, suddenly passed away. There was never a more tragic thing ever hit an athletic department than that. It was sudden. He was watching a football game one afternoon, and a heart attack hit him, and that was it. We were in a complete state of shock here at the university. Then, to complicate things still worse, they appointed Bob Johnson, a vice president, as athletic director, or acting athletic director of the department. He knew absolutely nothing about it. A man, unless he's experienced in the handling of athletic work, should never be given responsibility like that. And, of course, some of the coaches immediately took advantage of this situation. We felt that some of the coaches of the--we don't--I don't call them minor sports, because these coaches resent that, because they think tennis and golf and track and these other sports aren't minor. They think they're spring sports. So we'll say spring sports. They got their salaries up good and nicely, and at the same time they also got nice appropriations and more scholarship and better equipment and things like that, which turned out to be rather a burden along the way. And then, of course, the question of getting an athletic director unsettled the entire department, because Mr. Johnson would be down here, occasionally an hour, two hours a day, maybe you'd get to see him once a week, or--it was just impossible to make any intelligent decisions around here at all. And everybody did just about as he pleased. So, you can see there were many reasons why there's a question as to the judgment that we had here made by the administration in regard to the athletic department, was a wise thing or not. Then following, of course, Oswald, came Dean Kirwan, as I affectionately call him now. I knew Ab Kirwan as a football coach. He was a former player here at the University of Kentucky, and was a right good player, I understand. Made a fine reputation, a good end, and did a fine job of coaching football at Male. When Mr. Shively was made athletic director of the university, he and I discussed the question of getting a football coach in here. And, he decided then that we ought to get someone here in the state of Kentucky that had the friendship of all the high school coaches, because we were losing so many good high school football players to other schools. That, if we could get a strong man out of the high school ranks here in Kentucky, that we would salvage all of these athletes, and that would be the way to build up the athletic program here at the University of Kentucky. I told him I thought that was a mistake. Well, the year before that, Mr. Shively himself coached the football team, and that's another story that I'll tell some day, because that was an interesting affair, and I think one of the most badly organized decisions we had here at the university for a long, long time. But I don't blame him for not giving up the job, because the criticism was heaped down on him very severely. Shively was a wonderful football player, no question about that, at Illinois, having made All-American there, and having coached nicely and well under Coach Gamage here. Shively knew his football, but as a head coach, after having been out of the sport for some time, just could not get his hands back on the job, especially with a bunch of war-time 4-Fs and freshmen that weren't old enough to play. And so he had a very disastrous year. Well, I told Bernie that I did not think that that was the solution to our problem here in football. I said I think if you want to do it, the thing to do is to get an established football coach with a reputation, and see if he can't attract players here to the university. "No," he said, "I don't think that's it." He says, "I've talked to a lot of high school coaches," and he says, "They seem to think this is the best way to do it." And, at that time, the president gave him support. He thought that this was the best way to do it. So, they got coach Kirwan to come over here to coach the team. Now, I knew him here as a coach, he was--he knew as much football, I'm sure, as any other coach. That is, not the question of the football problem here at the university, the fact that we've got stupid football coaches, because that isn't necessarily the problem. The problem is, we haven't been getting the type of boys that we should have for our program. Now, it was my privilege to ride with coach Kirwan on many of these trips. I made trips with him all over the state of Kentucky. I went with him up into Ohio. I went with him over into West Virginia and into Virginia. We visited some of the military academies, and we visited some of the high schools there, and I thought, at the time, that he was doing a nice job in presenting the university to these young men. But I never felt, at any time, that after we talked to these boys, that we had a chance to get them. We did not get a commitment to have them visit the university, and it just didn't seem to work out, and I don't believe we got many of those boys to come here. But, the man worked hard at it, he tried to recruit, but of course you can see what happened with his football program, and we'll get to that--we've discussed that, I think, when we discussed the football coaches some time ago. Now, he had to, of course, go to war, the way so many others did too. And that, of course, gave him a lot of time to think about what he should do when he returned. So, his coaching, as I said, was not impressive here at the university. He won, I believe twenty-four games, and did have some nice victories in his career, but he lost twenty-eight and had some ties, and naturally that didn't appeal to the people, because you had to beat Tennessee, and at that time, he was playing Alabama. He did beat Mississippi the last year he coached, and that, of course, was a great victory. But all in all, he didn't seem to do the job the way the people here wanted. He didn't have the financial help. Let's give the man credit for that. He just didn't have the help. So, when he came back from the war, I don't know what transpired. Whether he asked to be relieved of the job of football coach or whether they asked him not to seek reemployment, I do not know. I have never heard that story discussed at any time. I didn't--I really didn't think it was any of my business, so I didn't go into that at all. But he came back here, and he taught school here then, and he realized that if he was going to continue in the field of education it was necessary for him to get more advanced work than he had. He decided to teach history. And so the university, I think, gave him a leave of absence, and he went to Duke University, as I recall. [Pause in recording] RUPP: He went to Duke University, as I recall, to get this advanced work. And after spending two years over there, he returned here to the campus, and I think had a position in the history department. He stayed there, and I believe, was finally made head of the history department here at the university, which is quite an achievement. Ab then helped--decided to write some books, and he wrote several books in regard to Kentucky history. I haven't read any of them, but I understand they were well-written and well-received. And, he and Tom Clark, who was in the department also, were cronies, both of them concentrated on Kentucky History, and both of them, of course, were together a great deal of the time talking about this. Now then, if I'm not mistaken, he was made dean of men, is that correct? He was made dean of men. And, continued as dean of men, and when Oswald finally left the university employment, Kirwan then was selected to act as president, as I understood the situation. Now again, I am not too sure about that, but then, I understand that's the way it was. We had, I think, another acting president once down through there, but I don't remember what that really was like either. But, I never regarded Ab Kirwan as a university president. I always regarded him as a football coach, as a traveling companion on scouting trips, and as a fellow that you could sit down with and talk to. And, so I never regarded him as a great educator, although I understand in later years he made quite an impression in his field. Now, I'll say this. In all due judgment for him. He brought peace to the campus. We'll have to give the man credit for that. His decisions in the year that he served as president of the university, and he gave them to understand strictly. I think he'd had a heart attack before he assumed this responsibility, and he gave them to understand, very strictly, that he would not serve for more than one year, and for them to get busy and to find a new president. And his decisions were well chosen. I think they were possibly his own decisions. He was not intimidated by anyone on the campus, necessarily, although I do believe Ab was possibly influenced by some of--in some of his decisions by some of the earlier impressions that he received here, because I think I--well, it's my feeling that that was the case, at least. And, I do know, though, that we had the student unrest. A great deal of student unrest, and a lot of this--the students petitioning this, and that, and everything else from the president. They wanted to have a hand in everything. They wanted to be a member--they wanted a member on the board of trustees, and they wanted free access to dormitories, and abolish living quarter hours, and everything that you can think of. Well, Kirwan, very wisely, sat down and chose the right path. And, all this turmoil that we had soon subsided on the campus, and I just don't think that the man could be influenced a great deal by the student body. And, during--it was during that time when Oswald and Johnson tried to bring in Bill McCubbin as athletic director. Well, the athletic board wouldn't go for that at all. The--I don't know the reasons for this, but Charlie Bradshaw was here, and Bradshaw and Lancaster were fighting for the-- [Tape 1 side 1 ends; side 2 begins] RUPP: The athletic board wouldn't go for that at all. The--I don't know the reasons for this. But, Charlie Bradshaw was here, and Bradshaw and Lancaster were fighting for the job as athletic director, both of them trying to get it. I know that some of the members of the athletic board were for Bradshaw, but I think Kirwan finally got over on the side of Lancaster and recommended him for acting athletic director. And, so the thing--when Bradshaw's name came up before the athletic board, it was dropped immediately before it even came to a vote, because I don't think they even got a second on the thing--got a second on the motion. So, that, of course, threw everything into an uproar, and of course, we were sitting down here not knowing what to do. Well, anyway, the appointment then, of Coach Lancaster, as acting athletic director, and you've got another acting athletic director now which doesn't give him any authority to speak up, doesn't help things a great deal either. Then Dean Kirwan though, at the end of his term, relinquished the job as president, and he was finally voted some two years after this, to be known as a full-time president of the University of Kentucky, or the seventh president of the University of Kentucky. And now, today, I think he is a dean of the graduate school here on the campus to the University of Kentucky, which gives you some idea of the high esteem that the faculty hold in regard to this man, who was just a football coach, and worked his way to the top in his profession, to where he is now the dean of possibly one of the most prominent colleges on our campus. [Pause in recording] RICE: Okay, now. Start. RUPP: Dr. Otis Singletary is the eighth president of the University of Kentucky. And, of course, I'm not going to be able to say a great deal about this man, because I aim to finish this tape sometime in the future. Although I want to give my impressions so far of the man. He was born in Mississippi, and of course brought up in Mississippi, that's football country. He took his gra--his college work at LSU, and everybody knows that's football country too. Then I believe he got his advanced college degree at--doctor's degree at LSU, and naturally he was indoctrinated into college football. I think from there he went to North Carolina. And from there to the University of Texas, and everybody knows that Texas is also football country. And it was while there at Texas that he became acquainted with Darrell Royal, the football coach, and they got to know each other very well. Of course, he thinks that every football coach, and he evaluates them in terms of Darrell Royal. He thinks they ought to all be like him. They ought to all win. And, as a result of that, he thinks Darrell Royal is one of the finest gentlemen that he's ever met. He played golf with Darrell Royal, and they became great friends while they were at the University of Texas. And I've often heard him speak very highly of Darrell. Darrell, of course, is a friend of mine also, and I think he's also one of the fine football coaches in the nation today. And, eventually, possibly will go down as one of the great coaches in history. Now, when Dr. Singletary came to the University of Kentucky, he should have had a background knowledge of the situation here. I am sure that he was aware of the fact that we did not have a great football tradition, except when Paul Bryant was here as football coach. Now, the situation that he inherited, he inherited the whole shebang. He inherited the athletic director, he inherited a new football coach, and he inherited me also. I remember that we had the reception, we met him, he was up here from the University of Texas to meet the faculty and the staff over at the student union building, and so one afternoon, we all decided to go over there, and meet Dr. Singletary. We lined up, of course, in our--got in the line with the rest of them, and Dean Kirwan was introducing everybody to Dr. Singletary. I remember Harry Lancaster was first, and he introduced him as athletic director, and they said a few words, and then he said, "And here, of course, is the Baron of Basketball, Adolph Rupp, our fine basketball coach." Well, we said hello and a few things like that, and he said, "And here is John Ray the football coach," and he took a look at him. And, so we stood around a little bit, and tried to make a little small talk with the other members of the faculty, and drink some of their punch, and eat some of their cookies, and we weren't getting anywhere fast, so I told Coach Ray, I said, "Let's go back over to the office." So we got over here, and on the way over, we naturally asked each other the question, "What do you think of the fellow?" Well, of course, that's a cruel judgment to place on a man. And, so, we, of course, couldn't tell much about what we thought of him, but that evening when I came home, Mrs. Rupp said, "Did you go to that faculty reception for the president?" I said, "Yes I did." She said, "Well, what do you think of him?" I said, "Well, honey," I said, "I'll tell you, he looked at me and I thought I detected in his eye a glint that seemed to indicate that, 'Well, I'm not too much interested in basketball, I'm interested in football, and I don't know what makes you tick,' and," I said, "I don't know if he said to himself, 'I don't care what makes you tick, but basketball is not one of the things that I'm interested in.'" Well, I said, "I don't understand that, because he was born in Mississippi, and he went to LSU, and he undoubtedly had an opportunity to see my teams play while he was a student down there, and he certainly knew something about the University of Kentucky basketball, or he should have," and I said, "I thought that he should at least have said, 'Well, coach, I'm sure glad to get up here with a winning team like you've got.'" But he didn't say anything, in spite of the fact that we'd won all these national titles and everything else. He just passed me right down the line, which is perfectly all right with me. But I knew then that he didn't know too much about basketball. Well, he, of course, got a big shock at the end of the first year in football, when it became very apparent that we weren't going to win. Now, John Ray, as I've made the statement before, is a very optimistic man. And, you've got to admire him for this. You've got to--you don't know what a man's thinking about. You know, you other folks out there listening to this, if any of you are, you judge people, possibly by yourself, or you judge people by what you think a man ought to do. You don't really know what a man down deep in his heart thinks that he wants to do, thinks that he hopes he can do, and thinks that he wishes he could do for you. Only John Ray knows that. Only Adolph Rupp knows that. And only the coaches that do things for you. The publicity men, when they write a story about you, they hope, and only in their heart do they know what they want to write about you. A professor, only in his heart knows what he wants to convey to the student body, and the student body may think, "Well, he did a poor job in presenting this." Well, that is the judgment that people have sometime of others when, in reality, it isn't a fair judgment to make. Well, John Ray's first year was not too successful. And, the thing that Dr. Singletary couldn't understand is, "Why can't we win here in football? Why are we taking these defeats?" He sat with some of these presidents in their boxes, while he was away on trips, and of course they jumped up and down and hollered and yelled and had a big time, and of course Dr. Singletary didn't have much of an opportunity to do much cheering. He couldn't understand why we couldn't win. Although, he was patient. He realized this was Ray's first year, he's going to give him his time. And, that's something that you've got to do. As I say, Ray was very optimistic, possibly too optimistic, build too many followers up to believe that he was going to be--do the miracle thing the first year. Along came the basketball season, and Dr. Singletary, I guess, some evening, just said, "Well, let's just mosey over there and see what's going on. I hear so much about this darn football team. Everywhere I go they talk about--" or basketball team, "everywhere I go they talk about basketball, and let's go over there and see what's going on," and I think he was shocked beyond words when he walked in here and saw the crowd in the Memorial Coliseum at a basketball game. And saw the tremendous enthusiasm, and saw with his own eyes, thousands of people standing outside wanting to get in that couldn't get in, and he couldn't understand why they couldn't fill the stadium here at the university that seated thirty- seven thousand. Well, those, of course, will get a man to thinking about things that overbalances what, of course, he has always believed. And night after night, during the winter, he kept coming over here and people, of course, started talking basketball and basketball and basketball, and gradually forgetting about football, which pleased Dr. Singletary. We went away, of course, to our NCAA tournament, made a fine showing in that tournament, and it was only due to a trick of fate that we did not go through to the final rounds of this tournament, and of course, I think everybody understood that. But we didn't, and that, was, of course, the thing as it was. Then, along came the second year. Of course, Ray got still more optimistic. Yes, he was going to have a great team. Spring practice looked awful good. And, then, the season started. And, it got dismal and more dismal and more dismal. Dr. Singletary again couldn't understand why the team wasn't winning, but seemed to be possibly not as good at the close of the year as it was at the beginning of the year, although they did have a fairly good closing game. Then, we finally got started on basketball again. Everybody at the close of the football season started talking basketball again. So he got to thinking, "This crazy game of basketball, there must be something to it." Kentucky is a basketball minded state. So he came to me and he said, "Coach, what kind of a basketball team are you going to have?" In fact, before the first football year was over, he went in and called the sports publicity director in, and to his home, and said, "Tell me what kind of a basketball team are we going to have here? Can we get any enthusiasm going at all to get this pressure that the student body is exerting on us, can we get any pressure taken off of us on this thing?" And he assured him, "Yes, we're going to have a fine basketball team." He says, "Yes, we are, but can we win?" He says, "Yes, I think we can win." Well, when we started winning and winning and winning again, he was naturally pleased, and he came down and he told me himself, "You certainly have taken the pressure off of me." [End of interview] Adolph Rupp begins this interview with a description of his relationship with President John W. Oswald and the struggles Dr. Oswald faced by raising the academic standards of athletes. Rupp specifically mentions the pressure put on him to integrate the basketball team while the players he was attempting to recruit were unable to be accepted in to the University of Kentucky. Rupp also talks about Ab Kirwan's time as president of the university. Rupp finishes the interview by giving his opinion of President Otis Singletary up to the point in time when the interview was conducted. insert here