WILDCATS FIRST TO REACH 1,000
The cover pictures on this season's Basketball Facts capture two historic moments in the history of the University of Kentucky and collegiate basketball.
First, the front cover contains a picture of a Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame plaque presented Wildcat coach Adolph Rupp during induction ceremonies last April in Springfield, Mass.
The "Baron of Basketball" has forged an amazing record of 810 victories and only 175 defeats during 39 years as head coach of the Wildcats and ranks as undisputed winning coach of all time.
His victories form the bulk of the cause for cake-blowing as displayed on the back cover.
The Wildcats, fresh from an 88-67 victory over Florida Jan. 11, 1969, in Memorial Coliseum, were feted for becoming the first collegiate basketball team to reach the magic Victory No. 1,000 mark.
According to UK count, the feat had been accomplished five days earlier, when Rupp's forces blasted Mississippi State, 91-72, at Starkville.
A small cake ceremony was held in the Wildcats' motel headquarters after that game, but the big blowout came after the Florida game, when players representing the different century victory milestones were special guests of honor.
The Wildcat claim to 1,000 games against "legitimate" competition had one drawback. The National Collegiate Athletic Association, which had sent Rupp's forces to an International Tournament in Tel Aviv in August, 1966, refused to recognize the Wildcats' five victories en route to the championship.
There was no argument about who was first to hit 1,000, however, after the Wildcats defeated Georgia, 104-73, Jan. 15, 1969, in the Coliseum, to satisfy the NCAA.
Victory No. 1,000 had its beginning 67 years ago, when physical education instructor Walter W. H. Mustaine called together some State College students, took up a collection totaling $3 for a ball, told them to elect a captain and start playing.
Thompson G. Bryant, now 85 and retired after an esteemed career with the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, recalls that basketball didn't cause much of a stir on the Lexington sports scene.
Bryant was a member of the 1904-05-06 squads and played on the prep team during the first two years of basketball (1902-03) at State College, the forerunner of UK.
"We all chipped in and bought a ball," he recalls. "One of those you inflated with a foot pump and then laced. If something had happened to that ball, we couldn't have played."
Games were played on the Buell Armory floor. Spectators sat on a circular mezzanine track containing three rows of chairs.
Old newspaper files indicate basketball was a hit-and-miss proposition, with games being canceled if a couple of players were too ill to participate. Press reports of the games also are scanty, with practically no reference to records of games played. The 1906 schedule, for instance, listed 20 games. But records show a 5-9 won-lost record.
The explanation is simple, says W. B. Wendt of Louisville, who, as manager, ran a one-man operation in those days. . . . "You made the schedule and hoped to fill it."
Wendt not only made the schedule but also printed tickets, collected money, paid bills and was in charge of the team on the road.
Extensive research has filled most of the gaps in the illustrious Wildcat basketball history and the results are detailed in this 1969-70 edition of Basketball Facts.