Ike @ate' Pau&c
Behind Every Successful Man Is A Woman
Among the near-24,000 spectators at every University of Kentucky home basketball game in Lexington's Rupp Arena sits the wife of probably the most famous coach in the world; Mrs. Joe B. Hall.
Nearly every fan in attendance knows where she sits, only a few rows back behind the Wildcat bench. And, like her husband, Katharine Hall is scrutinized as much, or even more, by the general public present at the games. Her reactions to what happens on the court are just as important to some people as the way Coach Hall responds to the ongoing scene.
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Take, for example, the reports on last year's Mideast Regional Championship
game between UK and the University of Louisville in Knoxville, Term., that featured her now-famous confrontation with Courier-Journal Sports Editor Billy Reed. It was the first and only time I've ever read a negative report about a coaches' wife in a column by a sports writer. If it had been any other wife of nearly any other coach, the incident probably wouldn't have even been mentioned by the national media. But because she was Coach Hall's wife, and because of what she allegedly said to Reed, it was.
So Mrs. Hall, who doesn't describe herself as a "basketball wife," has to be careful about what she does every moment she is in the public eye. It's not always a pleasant way to live one's life, especially when one considers it's only a game and she's the wife of a basketball coach and not the coach himself. But at UK, basketball is a religion. To some people, Hall is like a God. And his wife and family had better live up to their expectations.
"It's a lot like being a minister's wife," says Mrs. Hall. "You're somewhat exposed as a minister might be. People can 't see what's going on but they think they can."
"It's a lot like being a minister's wife," says Mrs. Hall. "You're somewhat exposed as a minister might be. People can't see what's going on but they think they
But for Katharine Hall, always the subject of people's curiosity, it's not a problem.
"I do not have an inferiority complex," she said. "I have an ego that's up. But I've never been a snob. Hey, we're all the same."
If being married to Joe Hall was such a pain, the former Katharine Dennis probably wouldn't have stayed around for 33 years, which was the wedding anniversary the Halls celebrated last Oct. 27. That's incredible because the Halls had what seemed to be a rather inauspicious beginning.
They eloped after dating for only one month.
"Joe was a super salesman," she said of Hall, who at the time was a representative for H.J. Heinz Products. "He was fun. He was sincere. And he was persistent. I've never changed that first impression of him.
"We got married in Lexington," she continued. "A friend asked the county clerk to open the courthouse in the middle of the night for us. We were married by the minister of a church I attended, the Rev. O. Ray Weeks, who was the minister at Porter Memorial Baptist. The only people present were Joe's brother, Bill, and his wife and child, my best friend and another couple we knew. Our parents found out
The Halls At Wildcat Lodge
the next day, but not from us."
The Halls were accompanied by the couple present at their wedding to a brief honeymoon in Tennessee. After all, there wasn't much they could do with the $220 the Halls had between them. Upon their return home, the newlyweds received a mixed reaction from their parents.
"Joe's mother and daddy were wonderful," she said. "My mother was wonderful in about a week."
Hall and Dennis had known each other for years when they married. They're both from the town of Cynthiana in Harrison County. Hall was three years older than Dennis and attended another high school, but she knew of him.
"I wasn't a sports fan, but I had heard of Joe Hall," she said. "He was Mr. Basketball and Mr. Football. He was team captain. He was president of his class all four years. He was president of the honor society."
Hall went on to graduate from Cynthiana High and later played basketball at the University of Kentucky during the "Fabulous Five" era before transferring to the University of the South at Sewanee, Tenn. Meanwhile, Dennis went on to graduate from the now-defunct Berry High. The school was so small there were only 12 students in her graduating class. They eventually met at UK and Hall courted her