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undated Interview with Adolph Rupp AF007:1996OH036 A/F 551 00:35:53 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 Schabinger, Arthur August, 1889-1972 Allen, Forrest Claire, 1885- Gill, Amory T., 1901-1966 McCracken, Branch, 1908-1970 UKAW Adolph Rupp; interviewee Russell Rice; interviewer 1996OH036_AF551_Rupp 1:|12(11)|22(4)|32(12)|41(7)|51(8)|61(12)|71(1)|96(4)|106(9)|114(12)|125(10)|136(9)|147(1)|157(12)|168(13)|175(9)|184(3)|195(5)|205(9)|216(13)|225(13)|235(4)|245(2)|253(9)|261(13)|269(13)|284(7)|291(9)|299(5)|307(7)|315(12)|330(6)|340(9)|349(6)|358(3)|365(8) audiotrans ARupp interview RUPP: Do you want to test? Or do you want to go on? RICE: It looks good. RUPP: It looks all right. One of the other old timers that I was very, very fond of, one of the men that I met early was Arthur Schabinger. A. A. Schabinger. And I met him for the first time at Creighton University. I remember Dr. Allen had an idea that we ought to always come back during the Christmas holidays and practice. And one year he took us up to Minneapolis, and after practicing up there for about four or five days, maybe longer, we played the University of Minnesota. The next year, that was our senior year, we went to Omaha, and we played Creighton. But, we went up there to practice for oh, I believe five days before the game. Now, the idea of the thing, of course, was to practice twice a day, or to do something. We stayed at a old--well, it wasn't an old hotel, it was a fairly nice hotel. Of course, hotels in those days didn't mean a thing to me. I wasn't particular, because if I was in out of the weather, that didn't make--that's all I wanted. And we stayed, as I remember, it was a Blackstone. Now, I may be mistaken. And "Phog" put us about three or four to a room, and he had the thing figured out some way or another, and we were all to be in bed at 10 or 10:30. Well, now, we decided that that was a little early to go to bed. So since we were all on that floor, and he was on the floor either above or below us, and never checked on us. He never checked on us. We decided that we'd play cards. And we did. We got together and we played cards sometimes until midnight, and then broke up. And, then got up in the morning, had breakfast, and breakfast, as I told you, under "Phog" was very, very light. Usually Post Toasties, a glass of milk, toast, and that was it. No coffee, nothing like that. And, then we went out and practiced and practiced and practiced. Then we had a light lunch. Everything was light. I don't know whether it was due to the fact that we didn't have any money, or due to the fact that "Phog" actually believed that. But I think today the modern athletes eat too much. I believe that. I sincerely do. And I think we spoil these kids, and I think we overfeed them, and I think, as "Phog" always said, a hungry tiger fights the fiercest. Well, he didn't exactly have us hungry, but I mean he had us at the verge of where we were always ready for something to eat. Then in the afternoon, or at night we practiced. And, in the afternoon, we either rested or we had a chalk talk, or--I remember we went to a show one time, and we had this fellow from Ireland or Scotland that made his fifth farewell appearance in the United States. Now, let's see, that fellow's name was--oh, he sang all those good old Irish songs. (singing) When Irish eyes are smiling--now who was that fellow that came over here? And oh, he was quite a fellow. And they took us to that show. I know we got the complimentary tickets for it. It was a matinee show, but we all enjoyed it. And I'll get his name here in just a minute. I don't know why I brought that up, I can't think of the man's name. But this has been--this has been fifty years ago. So, you understand why I don't remember this thing. But, I'll get it in just a few minutes. But this fellow, of course, was a world's famous man at the time. And, we, of course, always had something to do. One morning "Phog" got the bright idea that we ought to go for a cross-country jog. So, we took off, and "Phog" was one of those fellows--and he had good discipline, and he had good followship. By that, I mean the boys followed whatever he wanted to do. So we got way out in the country. Gee whiz, I didn't think we'd ever find our way back. We thought among ourselves that he might have some bus out there or something to pick us up and take us back, but that was not the case. So, we'd run a half a mile, and then we'd slow down and then we'd walk and we'd sing. And "Phog" was great on that kind of business. Then maybe we'd walk a half a mile, or maybe a mile, then we'd run again. And, that was only to kill time, and to get our legs in condition. But "Phog" always had a motive for this thing. A shrewd old guy. And, so we played Creighton University in that game. I remember E. C. Quigley refereed that game, and they had what was considered one of the best teams in the nation that year. They didn't practice, of course, as intensely during the Christmas holidays as we did. And, we got out there and went to work on them. We held them without a field goal until the very last second of play. And, then, in desperation, one of their Irish boys, and I can't remember his name, took a desperation shot about thirty, thirty-five feet out and hit it. And that was the only field goal that they made. I wish I had that score of that game, because as I remember, they-- [Pause in recording] RUPP: It wouldn't be in here. RICE: Sing that again, let me listen. RUPP: (chuckle) No, no, no. RICE: We'll find out who it-- [Pause in recording] RUPP: Now, I told you this thing would finally come to me, and the name of that fellow that we went to hear was Sir Harry Lauder. And, oh, he was a marvelous singer, and he entertained people, and I remember they threw pie--pies at him, and they just plastered him all over with pies. And I--we just got a big bang out of it. It was nice entertainment. It was very relaxing. And, now I told you too I'd remember some of the scores of that thing. And that game that we played against him out there, the score at the half was 15-1. So that will give you some idea of our defense against their offense. They had a boy that was billed as an All-American, and I think made All-American. I may think of his name too before this is over. They got one field goal in the last minute to play, when we beat them 29-7. And after the game, we all dashed in the dressing room, and said, "Now, what'll we do? What'll we do? Here we go to beat Missou." I'll never forget that either. We were a high-spirited team, and we really had a fine time in Omaha. Well, we took a midnight train home, and that was my first experience here with Arthur Schabinger. Now, I ran into him then again later in--when we came here to the University of Kentucky, because he had played the University of Kentucky before I came here, and in the first game, he had beaten Kentucky 28-27. And, in the second game--they always played two games in those days. Traveling was restricted to trains. It was very inconvenient, and expensive, and it was necessary to play two games on a trip. We used to do that almost all the time. So, in the second game, as I said, Kentucky beat them 25-21. Well, when I went to one of these national conventions, Mr. Schabinger reminded me that we had a contract with them that we owed them two games out there. Well, I didn't know anything about that. So when I came back, I asked "Daddy" Boles about it, and he didn't know anything about it either. But we looked at our old contracts, and sure enough, there it was, in just as plain as you could see it, we owed them two games. So, I believe it was 1932 that we finally got together, and we decided to go out there. We made arrangements. I remember the L&N [Louisville and Nashville Railroad] ticket manager came out here to see us, and he was a fellow by the name of Stites. He was a lovely man. I don't think there's ever been a nicer man put on earth than that fellow. And he came out here to see us. And, I told him I made all the arrangements, and I said, "Now figure out what the trip will cost us." Well, when he came out here and notified us that the thing would cost us over seven hundred and some odd dollars, I says, "Whoa, hold that a minute." I said, "That's more than a guarantee." So I went in to see "Daddy" Boles, and I says, "'Daddy'," I said, "how are we going to come out on this thing?" I said, "We're only going to get seven hundred dollars out of this thing." And he said, "Well, I don't know." "Well," I said, "I think the only thing we can do is arrange to go from here to Chicago in a chair car, and from Chicago go to Omaha in a sleeper, and all of us getting uppers. And do the same thing coming back. Then after the game," I said, "just repeat the process." And we stayed at the same hotel, because that's the only hotel I knew where to stay, and that was the Blackstone. Now, in the first game out there, we beat them 34-22. And, I thought we played a very nice ballgame. They had a nice capacity crowd. Of course, they only held about three thousand and that's what we played--that's what the crowd was the night Kansas played them when we beat them so badly out there, 29-7 when I played in the game. But, the second night, it was an entirely different story. For some reason or another, the officiating was different. Everything was different. And they beat us 44-36. So, unbeknown to me, we were all eating, we had made arrangements for the hotel to serve us something. They didn't stay open that late. But we had made arrangements for them to serve us some food after the game. And I was sitting there with my back to the door. And I said, "Now boys," I said, "I feel awful badly about this game," and I said, "I think you should too." But I said, "I don't want you to." One of the boys said, "Well," he says, "I'll tell you coach, we were robbed tonight." "Well," I said, "let's not put it that way, let's just say we didn't get the best of the officiating." "Well," he said, "we sure did not." Only in more emphatic words than that. And so I said, "Well," I said, "let's face it. We don't have to come out here and play under that kind of officiating," when I had a tap on my shoulder and here was Schabinger. He says, "Coach," he said, "I just wanted to bring the ball by." He said, "You won the game last night and I wanted to present you with the ball." Well, he caught me by surprise. And, so I said, "Well, thank you Art," I said, "I'm glad to get it. I appreciate it very, very much. I think it's wonderful for you to do that." And so he sat around and talked a few minutes, and we left. And, one of the boys said to me, said, "I wouldn't accept that ball." He said, "I wouldn't take it home." But we needed a ball to practice with anyway, so we brought it on home. And, of course, he should have kept the ball because he won the last game. But that was my experience in playing against him as a player, and my experience in playing against him as a coach. So, Schabinger, of course, happens to be, I believe, if I'm not mistaken, at this time, and this is June 22, 1972, along with me, the only coach south of a line, if you draw it from Washington D.C. to Cincinnati, to St. Louis, to Dallas, Texas, to El Paso, or to San Diego, wherever you want to draw it. He's the only one in that entire area that belongs to the hall of fame. And I don't know of any referee, or any contributor, or anyone else that belongs to the hall of fame in that entire area, which constitutes at least a third of the United States. So it does show that this man was a great coach. Now, "Schaby" graduated from Emporia High School in 1908. Emporia High School, we played against them when I was a kid out there in Kansas, we were only about seventy-five miles from Emporia. And, then he went to the college of Emporia. Then he went to Springfield College later. Now, as I told you earlier, I almost went to the college of Emporia, or either to Emporia State Teacher's College when I started to college, because all of my teammates stopped there, and it was only due to the influence of Roy Leeman that--who made up his mind when he said, "I'm going to the biggest and the best. If I can't make it there, I don't want to make it." He says, "Come with me, let's go to the best." He says, "You're good enough to play with the best, you're good enough to study at the best." So I said, "Roy, I'm going with you." And, we left the others there. But they've all been successful too. So let's face it, it doesn't make any difference where you go to school. Now, "Schaby" had an 80 percent winning streak in twenty years of coaching at Ottawa University, at Emporia State, and at Creighton U. where he won nine titles in the conference where they happened to play. Those conferences have changed tremendously since those days. Now, Schaby was one of the men that pioneered in intersectional games. He believed in them. He always talked about them at conference meetings. And, he was one of the first to conduct clinics and help organize the National Association of Basketball Coaches [NABC], and he was president in 1932. Now, he and "Phog" Allen were the two men that got together when that non-dribble rule was put in, that I've talked to you before. And, they decided to call a meeting of all of the coaches of the United States in Chicago. I remember I attended it, I told you, because I thought I was a coach too. I didn't realize it was for college coaches. But they said they wanted high school coaches in it too. They welcomed anybody, because as I recall, there were only a hundred and eight of us that showed up for the entire meeting. And they welcomed us. Henry Iba and I, he coached at Classen High School in Oklahoma City, and of course I was coaching Freeport. And we were the only high school coaches that showed up for it. Now, he conducted the Olympic basketball tournament in 1936. He was a member of the Rules Committee, and he did the research and was head of the committee on the molded ball. Now, I didn't think much of that molded ball to begin with, and how foolish I was. I don't know why I took the attitude that I did. Because a molded ball is the most perfect ball that you can have. But, up until that time we had the old stitched ball with a bladder. You pumped up the bladder. If the pressure went down, you had to unstitch it, open up the tube, pump it up, seal it, push her back in, and then stitch her up again. But he got that ball across and got it across at the very first meeting. And, he was a founder and director of the official sports film service from '46 to '56. And he was a great aid in the uniform rules interpretation. He always talked about that. He was a very quiet man. Never raised his voice at any time. Whenever he talked at any meeting, I think possibly he did not have as much influence as he would have had if he'd been more dynamic. He was not a dynamic sort of fellow. And, due to that fact, I don't think had the influence he would have had had he been more dynamic. He now lives in Atlanta, Georgia. He is being retired now for, oh, all these many years. I don't know what he's doing now, but he doesn't have to do anything I guess. I was very much shocked when Creighton relieved him of his coaching job out there, because I know the circumstances about it. He told me about it, and others did the same. And, I felt shocked about it. Now, he was awarded the NABC Metropolitan award in 1955. So, "Schaby" is another one of the old timers that made his imprint in the game. These are the men that built the game of basketball. And now we'll go clear out on the other side. We've been on the Paci--Atlantic side of the United States. We've been in the Central side of the United States, talking about "Piggy" Lambert and Dr. Meanwell, and George Keogan, and Arthur Schabinger, and Forrest C. Allen, and George Edwards, and many of these other coaches. Now then, let's go to the Pacific Coast and see who helped out there. We had a fellow out there by the name of Amory T. Gill. No one will know who that is. When you say "Slats" Gill, they know who that is. He's captain and twice all-state in 1920 at Salem Oregon High School. He's all-conference, All-American at Oregon State in 1924. He coached two years at an Oakland, California, High School. And then he coached thirty-six years at Oregon State where he won five hundred and ninety-nine games. He won the Pacific Coast title five years, Four West classics eight years, fourth in the NCAA in '49 and '63. He was Olympic trial coach in 1964, he was the West coach in '64, and he was president of the NABC in 1957 and '58. Now, "Slats" Gill was more on the quiet side. He was more like "Schaby". He was always present at most of the coaches meetings. He just passed away recently. He was not a big man. He was not an impressive man. When he got up to speak, he did not command the attention that some of these other folks did that were more dynamic speakers. But, "Slats" Gill was a man that commanded respect. He was possibly the outstanding man on the Pacific Coast for years and years and years. He dominated the coast. And when you go out to Oregon State and see the facilities that he had to work with, you can say it couldn't be done. Well, it was done. Because Oregon State is not exactly located in the greatest metropolitan area in the United States. I'll tell you that right now, because I've been there. But, "Slats" always spoke with authority, was always correct in what he said, believed in what he said, and had an influence in what he said. And, he was a--the contributor in the Pacific Coast on the early influence of the game of basketball. Now then, we'll go--it was my privilege to know this man. Not as intimately as I knew these other men, because I associated with these men more and ran into them more. And, we played against many of these coaches. But I did not have the opportunity to ever play against any of "Slats" Gills teams as far as I know. In fact, I'm sure that I did not. May have. I don't know. [Pause in recording] RUPP: Now then, we want to return again to the Middle West. And there we had a fellow by the name of Branch McCracken that coached at Indiana University. Branch McCracken was a big impressive sort of a fellow that had a booming voice. And when I say booming, he boomed. Branch had--was very, very much set in his ways. He either had friends or he had enemies. And, unfortunately in his last years, he did not adjust himself to the times the way he should have, and therefore his teams declined. But, Branch, at one time, had terrific teams in the Big Ten. Now, going back, Branch McCracken was all Big Ten three years in a row. He was the most valuable player in 1928. He was All-American the same year. He won four conference titles, and he won two NCAA championships in 1940 and in 1953. He coached Indiana in 1939 through 1942. And then he went to the Army. He came back in 1946 and he coached until 1965. I remember we lost to them, I believe in the Sugar Bowl. He had a great ball club that year. And, I believe it was the year that he won the NCAA championship. And that's a good reason to lose to anybody. But he won the NCAA championship, that's the first year he ever won it. He had Leonard, and a lot of those boys on that team. I can't recall their names off-hand right now. If I had time to prepare this thing, I would have gotten all their names, but they were a fine ball club. And, we both met in the Sugar Bowl in 1940, and they beat us 48-45. And that's the only time that our teams ever met. Now, Branch McCracken, as I said, was an impressive man. He was a big man. He--when he was in a crowd, he stood at least a head bigger than most people in that crowd. And, he had a good fast breaking team. He and "Piggy" Lambert, when they tangled(??) into each other, I'll tell you, no one in Indiana dare turn out the lamp the night that those two fellows got together. Everybody was interested in the results of that ballgame. And, the first good field house was built the year that Branch McCracken was coaching there, and unfortunately wasn't built big enough. Since then they've built one that is much bigger. And of course later, Purdue University built one, it was our fortune to go up there. I believe, if I'm not mistaken, we went up there and dedicated that place for them. And, we were--we defeated them in the dedication of that field house. Now, if I'm wrong, I'll stand to be corrected, but I think that's right. And, we played before about eleven thousand people. It was a nice place, but I think Purdue has built a much bigger place since then, and you see, that's the thing that people don't realize. What is big enough today in basketball? When Indiana built their place, they thought that eighty-five hundred to nine thousand was big enough. Well, there isn't anything big enough in Indiana for basketball. Purdu--Butler, at that time, had a field house that seated fifteen thousand and that wasn't big enough. High schools were selling that thing out for every tournament. [Pause in recording] RUPP: Then Purdue built one that seated eleven thousand and that wasn't big enough. Now, both of them had to build places bigger than that. We built one down here, of course, and everybody's acquainted with that. Unfortunately, it isn't big enough. We sold every ticket for it the first night, and every ticket's been sold for every game since then, and what will be big enough for the University of Kentucky? What's going to be big enough for Indiana? What's going to be big enough for Purdue? Well, no one knows. The game of basketball is played indoors, it's a short game. And goodness knows what the--how many seats can be sold. I'd hesitate to say. I want to study about this thing now. I'll have a little more time. And so I'm going to do a little study on this thing. But Branch McCracken, in his heyday, packed them in. He packed them in with all these teams. He had a great rivalry going. In those days, with Illinois, with Purdue, with Ohio State, particularly. Those were his great rivals. I tried to get him regularly on our schedule, but I couldn't. I thought that we'd learn some basketball by playing him. After playing that national championship team of his in '40, 48-45, I thought that we had a good chance against them, and I tried to get him, and get him, and get him to play me in Louisville. But I never was able to do so. Branch, of course, as I say, was not an innovator and did not change with the times. And, as a result of that, I think fell behind in the parade somewhat, and his last three years or four years were not very successful, and of course the gossip vine started humming, and when it starts humming, of course, you soon find out, unless a man corrects the situation, just exactly what the results will be. But Branch was one of the pioneers of the game. He passed away last year, so here are the old timers. A few of them left. Most of them gone that have built the game of basketball. Now then, we'll get to a few more, and then we'll call it quits. But these are not the pioneers. These are men that came along later that helped to build the game, and that kept it going. I don't think that we'll get into the new generation, because the new generation is changing too fast. They're looking for other things rather than making contributions to the game. And where a boy is solid today, tomorrow he may no longer be there. So, I don't think we'll go into the younger generation, because their contribution has not been made. I'm talking about men that have made contributions from 1920 on up until the present time. Long before many of these good coaches, fine coaches that we've got today were born. [End of interview] Adolph Rupp talks about the influence of many basketball coaches on his own coaching style. Rupp goes in to detail about coaches A. A. Schabinger, Forrest Clare "Phog" Allen, Amory T. "Slats" Gill, and Branch McCracken. insert here