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7 > Image 7 of Kentucky vs. Indiana, December 15, 1975

Part of University of Kentucky Basketball Programs (Men)

JOE B. HALL Kentucky Head Coach Coach of the 1975 national runner-up Wildcats. Coach of the Southeastern Conference co-champions after winning the conference championship two years earlier. SEC Coach of the Year for the second time in three years. Coach and Athlete Magazine's Southeast Region Coach of the Year for the second time in three years. Nominee For Kodak 1975 National Coach of The Year. Coach of his third consecutive UKIT championship team. Member 1976 Olympic Basketball Committee. Such personal and team honors in 1975 were gratifying to Joe B. Hall, but the Wildcat coach has his eye on things more current as he enters his fourth year as head of the nationally famous Wildcats. The challenge facing him now is entirely different from last year, when he blended a crop of big, talented freshmen with six fine seniors, a junior and two sophomores to produce a finely honed, exciting squad that set the nation on its ear and vaulted the Wildcats back into national prominence. The scene has changed dramatically, leaving Hall with one of the most youthful squads in the history of Wildcat basketball. He feels they must overcome that youthfulness with intelligent play, 100 per cent hustle and defensive toughness. Although he is recognized as one of the nation's finest offensive coaches, it was the defensive play of Hall's 1975 squad that caught the nation's imagination. The Wildcats at times were accused of being excessively rough and of using "karate" defense, but in the long run they proved that they were merely preparing themselves for the rugged road to the NCAA championship game. The championship crown eluded Hall and the Wildcats, but they gave such a good account of themselves that Kentucky basketball again was a national byword. At the end of the season, Hall's three-year record stood at 133-82, excluding a 17-2 record on a 1974 tour of Australia. He had the distinction in 1973 of becoming the first rookie coach in the SEC to be designated Coach of the Year by his fellow coaches and by Coach and Athlete Magazine. Gathering such honors has been one of Hall's trademarks during a coaching career that began at Shepherdsville (Ky.) High School in 1956 and continued through Regis College and Central Missouri State College before he returned to UK in July 1, 1965, as an assistant to his former coach. Adolph Rupp. During Hall's two years at Shepherdsville, the Cougars won a Mid-Kentucky Conference title and he was named "Coach of the Year" in 1958. He then served one year as freshman coach and five years as head basketball coach at Regis College in Denver, Colo., where he was also athletic director and earned special recognition as coach of the champion independent team in the area. While in Denver, he also coached the Capital Federal host team in the 1964 AAU tournament and was selected as head coach of the AAU Stripes in the Olympic trials at Jamaica, N. Y. His next move was to Central Missouri, where he coached the Mules (19-6) to their first MIAA Conference championship since 1951 and their first Christmas Tournament title in history. He was named MIAA "Coach of the Year" (1964-65). A three-letter winner and team captain in botli sports in high school at Cynthiana, Ky., he played freshman basketball and one year of varsity basketball in the "Fabulous Five" era at the University before transferring to the University of the South at Sewanec, Tcnn., where he set a school single game scoring record and was team captain. Coach Lon Varnell, upon retirement, rated Hall as No. 1 of the three best players he ever coached. After touring Europe with the Globetrotters in 1951, Hall returned to U.K. in 1955 to complete requirements for his B.A. and later (1964) received his M.A. at Colorado State University. Returning to U.K. again in 1965 as assistant coach and head recruiter, he was instrumental in adopting a running-conditioning program which obviously paid huge dividends as the Wildcats capitalized on speed and endurance to offset a lack of size and advance to the championship game of the NCAA Finals. Hall then successfully recruited six prep Ail-Americans, including all-time U.K. scoring leader Dan Issel, to form the nucleus of a varsity team that won three straight conference championships and was followed by a team that won three more consecutive SEC titles. Hall became No. 1 varsity assistant and head freshman Coach to Rupp after Harry C. Lancaster was named permanent athletic director Feb. 1, 1969. His record with the .freshmen was 60-15, including an undefeated (22-0) season (1971-72) which resulted in the Kittens being crowned National Freshman Champions by the Basketball News. During his first season as head coach, the Wildcats won theii last nine conference games to sew up the SEC title. His nine-year coaching record is 135-82. Broken down, it shows a 57-50 five-year mark at Regis, a 19-6 record at Central Missouri, and a 59-26 three-year record at Kentucky. A popular personality on the clinic and convention circuits, Hall also has had much international exposure. In addition to the Globetrotters tour in 1951, and the "Down Under" tour in 1974, he has helped conduct basketball clinics for the U.S. Army in Anchorage and Fairbanks, Alaska (1968) and at Ramstcin Air Base in Frankfurt, Germany and the RAF Base at Mildenhall, England, last Sept. He also was Olympic Trials coach under Hank Iba al the Air force Academy in July 1972 and is a member of the 1976 Olympic Basketball Committee. He is married to the former Katharine Dennis of Harrison County, Ky. They have three children-Judy, 20; Kathy, 19, and Steve, 15. 7