Chief Justice Is Thrilled With Final Four Site
Supreme Court Chief Justice Robert Stephens believes the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) 1985 Div. I Men's Basketball Championship will be the biggest event, sports or otherwise, that has ever been held in the city of Lexington or maybe even in the state of Kentucky.
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"I think this is a very exciting time," said Stephens, who is the chairman of Lexington Mayor Scotty Baesler's Committee on the 1985 NCAA Final Four Tournament, which will be held in Lexington on March 30 and April 1 next year. "This will be the first time Lexington's ever had the Final Four."
Baesler's committee is currently raising money to help fund the activities it will be involved in during the week the tournament is in town. So far, the committee has raised $225,000 of the budgeted $400,000 required to do the job. That's a small price to pay for expected income the tournament will bring in. Estimates vary from $11 to $15 million.
"But the income it brings in is not the important thing," said Stephens. "The important thing is getting the city of Lexington known throughout the nation and the world. We want people to see this is a good place to visit. We want corporate business and industry to think this would be an attractive place to locate an office or factory. We want to show these people Lexington hospitality."
Stephens estimates that around 7500 people will visit the Lexington area that week. That includes at least 1800 coaches who will attend the annual National Association of Basketball Coaches' (NABC) convention, many athletic directors from schools all over the nation, 800 to 1,000 members of the national and international press, and the official NCAA family. And. of course, there will be all the fans who attend the semi-finals Saturday afternoon and finals Monday evening.
"The NCAA Final Four has gotten so big," said Stephens. "There's a lot of public interest in it. It's going to be a very difficult job. It's important that we do a good job of showing hospitality. But we will do it and do it well."
Baesler's committee is an ever-growing list of prominent Lexington businessmen and women. The committee has been meeting at the Parker Place house on West Main Street at least once every week and is stepping up activities as the tournament nears.
Lexington has been bidding for the tournament a long time, but a lack of hotel space always turned the NCAA away. But in 1977 the late Adolph Rupp, who was the University of Kentucky's head coach for over 40 years, made a very emotional and impassioned plea to bring the tournament to Lexington.
"I'm sure Coach Rupp had something to do with us getting the tournament," said Stephens, who was a close friend to Rupp and even did some recruiting for him. "But if they (the NCAA) didn't think this city couldn't handle it then it wouldn't be coming here."
Every hotel in Lexington and the surrounding areas are already booked up the weekend of the tournament. Stephens attended the previous two Final Four tournaments and said it wasn't a problem in Seattle (Wash.) but it was in Albuquerque fN.M.). Some teams even had to stay as far as 75 miles away in order to get adequate hotel space.
There is also a problem with the number of flights allowed by the Bluegrass Field to land each day. During the days preceding and following the tournament, each incoming flight will be filled to maximum. Stephens is urging the airport to allow more flights to land each day while the tournament festivities are taking place.
"But, unlike those bigger towns like Seattle and Albuquerque, we'll be able to give the visitors a little bit of small-town hospitality," said Stephens. "We're going to have sessions for all the employees in this city the tournament will affect, from gas station attendants to bell boys in the hotels. We'll have women dressed up in the traditional long dresses to greet people at the airport. There will be signs all over the city welcoming outsiders. We want to use this as an impetus to really fix up downtown Lexington."
Stephens says the city is going to get a lot of national publicity from the press, and he wants them to get a good impression of the city. He's even arranged for Preston and Anita Madden to stage a party for the press during the weekend of the tournament.
"A lot of people ask me, 'Haven't you got enough to do as chief justice?,'" said Stephens. "But I happen to be a basketball nut. This is going to be a major contribution to Lexington and the state of Kentucky. I'd like to be a part of it. AH through the years, I've want to see this tournament here. Now, it's about to be realized."
Stephens says Rupp Arena is clearly the best facility in the country for the Final Four.
"Tom Minter (of the Lexington Center) and his staff did such an excellent job with the tournaments that have been held here in the past," said Stephens. "They really know how to put this thing on." L
Judge Stephens (left) And Local Hosts
First downs Rushing Passing Penalty
Rushing attempts Yards gained rush. Yards lost rush. Net yards rush. Net yards passing Passes II Total otl. plays
18 24 Total net yards 296 404
7 11 Ave. gain per play 4.0 4.7
10 12 Return yards 33 37
1 1 Fumbtes-lost 1-0 3-2
44 43 Penalties-yards 6-65 7-71
144 229 kitcp-ret. yards 2-23 1-22
18 29 Punta-ave. 5-17.2 2-55.5
126 200 Punt ret.yards 1-10 3-15
170 204 KO ret. yards 2-34 2-24
31-1 17-28-2 Possession time 30:47 29:13
75 71 Sacks by 4-29 2-11
Kentucky 17, Tennessee 12
Jones Cooper Wilson Howrd
21 128 2 9 1 6
11 70 8 -13
43 200 Passing
Rbinsn 2S-17-2 204
Tolais 28-17-2 204 Receiving
0 29 Adams 0 5 Logan 0 6 Higgs 0 23 Ransdll 0 8 Jones
AH. Yds. TD Long
Colquitt Field goats
Reveiz AM returns
Creamer Davis Partusk* Wilson
No. Yds. TD Long
5 64 0 20
Totals 44 144 Passing
Ransdll 30-15-1 158
Phillips 1-1-0 12
Totals 31-16-1 170 Receiving
19 87 13 21
11 31 13 11
3-15 0-0 0-0 0-0 1-24 0-0 1-0
12 6 6 -4 5
0 16 0 12
No. Yds. Ave. Long
2 111 55.5 57
Alt. Md Long
3 2 37
No. Yds TD Long
3 27 0 10
16 24 21 21 47 14
16 16 12 12
16 170 Punts
No. Yds. Ave. Long
Calhoun 5 236 47.2 54
0-0 0-0 1-22 0-0 0-0
Worley All returns
Adams Mayes Burbage Jackson
Att. Md. Long
3 1 34
Pts. KO Incp
0-0 2-34 0-0
0-0 0-0 1-23
1-10 0-0 0-0
0-0 0-0 1-0
1-10 2-34 2-23