Victories 1,001-1,500

A fifth national title, three new coaches and a 23,000-seat basketball palace

December 23, 2009 

June 9, 1969: Tom Payne, a 7-foot high school All-American from Louisville, becomes the first black player to sign with UK.

Feb. 28, 1970: Dan Issel becomes UK's first player to score 2,000 career points as UK defeats Vanderbilt, 90-86, avenging the Cats' only loss of the season to that point.

March 14, 1970: Issel scores his 2,138th point, etching his name into the record book as the UK men's all-time leading scorer. The top-ranked Wildcats are upset by Jacksonville 106-100 in the NCAA regional finals.

March 18, 1972: Adolph Rupp coaches his last game, a 73-54 loss to Florida State in the NCAA Tournament.

Dec. 2, 1972: Joe B. Hall coaches his first game as head coach at UK, a 75-66 win at Michigan State. UK goes on to win the SEC championship and finish 22-8.

March 22, 1975: UK upsets undefeated Indiana in the Mideast Regional finals to earn a trip to the Final Four. Before the national championship game with UCLA, legendary coach John Wooden announces his retirement. The Bruins go on to defeat UK 92-85 on March 31.

March 8, 1976: Jack Givens sparks a late rally as UK outlasts Mississippi State, 94-93 in overtime, in the last regular-season men's game played at Memorial Coliseum.

March 21, 1976: UK wins its second NIT championship by defeating North Carolina-Charlotte 71-67 in New York.

Nov. 27, 1976: UK defeats Wisconsin 72-64 in the new, 23,000-seat, $53 million Rupp Arena.

Dec. 10, 1977: As top-ranked UK is defeating Kansas on "Adolph Rupp Night" in Lawrence, Kan., Rupp dies. Thousands would participate in the funeral procession in Lexington.

March 27, 1978: Jack "Goose" Givens scores 41 points as UK wins its fifth NCAA championship, 94-88 over Duke in St. Louis. More than 10,000 fans greet the team at Blue Grass Airport, and 15,000 more celebrate at Memorial Coliseum.

March 26, 1983: In the first meeting between the schools in 24 years, Louisville defeats UK 80-68 in overtime to earn a trip to the Final Four.

March 31, 1984: Georgetown outscores UK 23-2 at the start of the second half to defeat the Wildcats 53-40 in the NCAA semifinals.

March 22, 1985: Joe B. Hall announces his retirement after UK loses to St. John's 86-70 in the NCAA West Regional in Denver.

Nov. 22, 1985: Eddie Sutton coaches his first game at Kentucky, a 77-58 win over Northwestern State (La.).

March 10, 1989: Kentucky finishes the year with a 13-19 record, its first losing mark in 61 seasons.

March 19, 1989: In the wake of an NCAA investigation, Sutton resigns.

May 19, 1989: The NCAA places Kentucky's basketball program on probation.

June 1, 1989: Rick Pitino is named head basketball coach.

Nov. 28, 1989: Pitino's debut is a success as Reggie Hanson scores 24 points and UK holds off Ohio University 76-73.

June, 1990: Pitino makes history by naming Bernadette Locke an assistant coach. Locke is the first woman to hold that position at a Division I men's team.

Feb. 23, 1991: UK gets a road victory at Florida, 90-74, for win No. 1,500.

SOURCES: UK; KET; The Winning Tradition: A History of Kentucky Wildcat Basketball, by Nelli and Nelli; A Legacy of Champions, by Rick Bozich, Pat Forde, C. Ray Hall and Mark Woods.

Lexington Herald-Leader is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service