Blog Entry

Dear Gary (on Kentucky/Adolph Rupp)

Posted on: July 17, 2008 4:05 am
Edited on: July 17, 2008 4:11 am

Here's Thursday's Dear Gary ...

Dear Gary: Why do you hate Kentucky?

-- Every UK fan on the planet

That's not an actual email I received -- just a combined and condensed version of about 100 emails I got Wednesday after writing a breakdown of the Indiana-Kentucky matchup for the National Champions All-Stars Bracket. Like I predicted, the Kentucky fans were out in full force. One guy wrote that he hopes I die, another said he hopes my family dies and though another guy didn't exactly wish death on anybody, he said he planned to soon because his birthday is coming up. So when they light the candles and instruct him to make a wish, I'm told, he plans to wish for my death.

(What ever happened to wishing for world peace?)

Anyway, what I'd encourage Kentucky fans to do is look at the other breakdowns I've written for this series and recognize that not a single one is in a serious tone. I've written about Bobby Hurley's truck accident, Bob Kenney's hair and Michael Jordan's inability to succeed in divorce court. So why anybody thought I would "just stick to basketball" when it came time to write about Kentucky and not mention Ralph Beard's and Alex Groza's point-shaving scandal is beyond me. Every word I've written in this series has been goofy or sarcastic or both. I'm just trying to have fun with it. That's all.

Now to Adolph Rupp.

Honest to God, I didn't think UK fans would take my comment about him so seriously considering it was preceded by a sentence explaining how I was worried Beard and Groza might throw the game and make the National Champions All-Stars Bracket a controversial event. I mean, I was just playing around, you see? But I clearly angered some people when I joked that it was unclear whether Rupp would be able to coach Tony Delk and Jack Givens considering he didn't recruit a black player to Kentucky until the end of his 41-year career, and for that I'd like to -- ready for this? -- apologize. In fairness (to myself), I didn't actually call Rupp a racist and was only joking about race, and I wish everybody liked to goof around the way I do. But I can understand why some believed my goofing around perpetuated the theory that Rupp was a racist, and that's a theory that seems to range from debatable to unfair depending on whom you ask.

Yes, it's true, Rupp did not coach a black player until he signed Tom Payne in 1969. But the SEC as a whole didn't have a black scholarship basketball player until Perry Wallace played for Vanderbilt in 1966. So at worst Rupp was just three years behind Vandy, and people close to Rupp insist he would've signed a black player earlier if not for the fear of taking one on the road to places like Ole Miss.

Anyway, I'm not here to give a history lesson on Adolph Rupp.

And I'm not interested in defending him, either.

Let's be honest, the man was no saint.

But I cannot tell you for a fact that Adolph Frederick Rupp was a racist, and if he truly was not a racist - as many insist -- then I think it sucks that so many basketball fans think of him that way. Consequently, I should not have inferred what I inferred and perpetuated the theory of Rupp the Racist because I hate it when people do it in other walks of life, whether it's the repeated stupid and cliched myth of Obama the Muslim or whatever. So even though I was merely joking, it's probably a joke I could've left out of the column. And unless somebody provides me with some hard evidence that Rupp was indeed a racist I don't plan to ever characterize him that way again. 


Since: Jun 6, 2008
Posted on: July 17, 2008 6:01 pm

Dear Gary (on Kentucky/Adolph Rupp)

All I have to say is... I don't recall anyone with the name Adolph not being a relationship.

Hey Gary, don't let those crybabies from Kentucky give you hell about your off-color jokes.  I think they are funny.  I'm a Tar Heel fan and I laugh when people make jokes at our program.  If the people in Kentucky are worried about what the Hoops reproter from cbs sportsline says about them in the middle of July then they should maybe go another site. 

If you want to see a funny hairstyle check out Montross in 93.  He made all of us white boys in NC believe we could sport the box.

Since: Feb 8, 2007
Posted on: July 17, 2008 4:13 pm

Dear Gary (on Kentucky/Adolph Rupp)

Yes, I read a lot of that yesterday.

Lots of interesting stuff.

I'd recommend anybody take a look at it.


Since: Jan 11, 2007
Posted on: July 17, 2008 3:51 pm

Dear Gary (on Kentucky/Adolph Rupp)


Here is a link to a fairly comprehensive study on whether Rupp was a racist or not.

I followed Rupp's exploits from 1958 until his retirement (mostly on the radio but on TV where available.  He demonstrated a keen, dry sense of humor but also an arrogance that typically comes along with outstanding success.

Jon Scott's site is a jewel, historically, on any and all things regarding UK Basketball. 

Since: Jan 11, 2007
Posted on: July 17, 2008 3:46 pm

Dear Gary (on Kentucky/Adolph Rupp)


I think this link will give you a clearer picture of least as we in the Bluegrass saw him (yep, I followed him from 1958 until his retirement, mostly on the radio).

Maybe you've already found this in your research.  Jon Scott's site is a jewel, historically, for any and all things UK Basketball.

Since: Aug 11, 2006
Posted on: July 17, 2008 3:42 pm

Dear Gary (on Kentucky/Adolph Rupp)


  this Irish guy is a Tar Heel fan... need I say more as to why he's trying to continue to bash UK and anything involved with the program? He's just pissed because regardless of the last few years of head to head games, the tar heels are looking up to UK in every major stat in college basketball. Having said that, I like you where you stand in regards to Rupp being a all out racist. Take that move Glory Road for an example. That movie showed UK fans with confederate flags in the stands which did not happen during the game, so why then would anyone go as far to believe a second rate movie in which the only description of Coach Rupp was that of a racist? Don't hear me wrong, the movie was a great story about something that DID change all of college sports and I believe the story should have been told... just tell the whole story not just what would make a great coach with 4 National Titles look bad.  I guess it's the world we live in but as you said, you can not find any FACTS other than he did recruit african american players until 1969. You also said it yourself, Vandy was the first school to do it and UK was the second. Besides, the man is dead and won more National Title by his self than North Carolina has in it's history. You tell that to mr irish guy for me.


Since: Feb 8, 2007
Posted on: July 17, 2008 3:04 pm

Dear Gary (on Kentucky/Adolph Rupp)

Make no mistake, I'm not defending Adolph Rupp or claiming he's NOT a racist. My point is that I spent all day yesterday reading about the man and couldn't find any "hard' evidence that suggests he was indeed a racist. In fact, I read many articles that suggested the opposite. But I don't know. So that's my point, that unless I know something like that for sure it's probably unfair to just repeat a perception that doesn't seem to be grounded in any documented facts.

Rupp has a disputed legacy, that's for sure.

But I couldn't find anything that gave me the clear impression that he walked around Kentucky despising black people (like things you can easily find that gives that impression of the KKK, to use your example). For that reason, I just felt that maybe I fell victim to something I hate, which is when writers or commentators repeat something they believe to be true even if they don't know why it's believed to be true or where the theory actually started. So I wanted to clarify myself. But by all means, if you have a link to a story or anything that might shed some light on the subject, please pass it along. Again, I'm not defending the man. I just honestly don't know whether he was what so many believe he was, i.e., a fullblown racist who ignored the black athlete because he felt blacks to be inferior. 

Since: Dec 13, 2006
Posted on: July 17, 2008 2:32 pm
This comment has been removed.

Post Deleted by Administrator

Since: Feb 8, 2007
Posted on: July 17, 2008 11:33 am

Dear Gary (on Kentucky/Adolph Rupp)

I wrote about this recently in the blog.

Here's and a breakdown of why I think Gillispie caught hell and Donovan didn't. But my basic stance on the subject is that I think this topic of recruiting young players is way overblown. O.J. Mayo, LeBron James, Michael Beasley, etc., were all identified as elite prospects at a young age because elite players are pretty easy to identify early in this sport. That's why you get guys watching 15 year-olds, and I don't blame them. So I don't have a problem with a guy "committing" a young player and I don't think most coaches do either. If the guy who just won two national titles thinks it's worth doing, then it's probably worth doing. And if the next Kevin Durant who is currently a freshman or sophomore wants to commit to a certain school tomorrow, my guess is that most coaches would be willing to accept him, regardless of the NABC rule that will prove impossible to enforce.

Since: Aug 11, 2006
Posted on: July 17, 2008 11:16 am

Dear Gary (on Kentucky/Adolph Rupp)


   As I said in a earlier reply to your article, I like your stuff 99% of the time. Just not on that day regardless of the jokes. All in all let me say that anyone who would wish death on another person has a whole bunch of issues they need to deal with on their own. I'll be honest though, I thought the point shaving statement was kind of funny myself but hey, that's just me.

   On another note... what is your opinion in regards to the difference in Gillispie recruiting a 15 year old kid who has a lot of potential and Donovan doing the same thing? I'm interested to hear your reply because Billy G caught hell from the media across the country but Donovan on the other hand has almost been slapped on the ass (and not in bad way). I just want to hear your thoughts on the issue and see why most everyone seems to think it's no big deal for Donovan to do what Gillispie did.

Keep your head up and don't let some our fans get to you Gary... some actions still surprise even me sometimes.


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