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Legendary University of Kentucky basketball coach Adolph Rupp will speak at 7 p.m. April 14 in the library at Emma B. Ward Elementary School.
Well, sort of.
Of course Rupp is long gone, but thanks to a presentation sponsored by the Kentucky Humanities Council, Edward B. Smith will portray Adolph Rupp for Kentucky Chautauqua.
Admission is free.
A Kentucky native, Smith earned a Ph.D. in performance studies from the University of Texas at Austin, and currently teaches theater and film classes at Georgetown College, where he is an associate professor.
During the 42 years he coached at the University of Kentucky, Adolph Rupp (1901-1977) raised basketball to near-religious status in the commonwealth.
Basketball took its place next to horses, coal and bourbon as one of the cultural icons that characterizes the state, according to a news release.
Rupp’s teams won 880 games, four national championships and one Olympic gold medal. There was a flip-side to all this success – the Kentucky team was suspended for the 1952-53 season after a point-shaving scandal, and Rupp was heavily criticized for taking so long to integrate his program.
Rupp grew up in Kansas, the son of immigrant farmers. He played three years of varsity basketball at the University of Kansas, but never scored a point. He began his coaching career in Kansas, but soon moved on to Iowa and then Illinois.
The University of Kentucky hired him in 1930.
Rupp’s genius for public relations and his team’s winning ways combined to make Kentucky basketball a statewide phenomenon — a point of pride around which Kentuckians still rally.
The program is a presentation of the Kentucky Humanities Council, with local sponsorship provided by Anderson Library.