University of Kentucky fans lined up Friday at Keeneland to get signatures from former basketball coach Joe B. Hall and members of the 1978 Ncaa championship team on a Maker’s Mark limited-edition commemorative bottle.
Only 11,000 bottles featuring Hall were made available at retail outlets around Kentucky for about $55 each.
The blue-and-white bottle is the second in a series of five honoring the UK coaches who won national championships. Last year’s version featured legendary coach Adolph Rupp. It is hoped that the series will raise $2 million for the University of Kentucky Center for Academic and Tutorial Services, which is to open this summer in the new football training complex next to Commonwealth Stadium.
Hall coached the 1977-78 team that won the school’s fifth national championship. Four players — Jack Givens, James Lee, Kyle Macy and Rick Robey — accompanied Hall at the signing table starting at 7:30 a.m. Bill and Rob Samuels of Maker’s Mark, and Bill Thomason of Keeneland also offered signatures.
Future bottles in the series will honor the championships won in 1996, coached by Rick Pitino; 1998, coached by Tubby Smith; and 2012, coached by John Calipari.
Keeneland also has established a fundraising challenge to other businesses by pledging to contribute $20,000 a year for five years.