James Duane Bolin

Adolph Rupp and the Rise of Kentucky Basketball

“The Man in the Brown Suit,” “The Baron of the Bluegrass,” “The Dean of College Basketball”—Adolph Rupp (1901–1977) was one of the towering figures in college sports. From 1930 until his retirement in 1972, he coached the men’s basketball team at the University of Kentucky to unprecedented success. His teams won four NCAA championships (1948, 1949, 1951, and 1958), one National Invitation Tournament title in 1946, and twenty-seven Southeastern Conference regular season titles. He was also the winningest coach in NCAA division I men’s basketball history, a distinction he held for thirty years until eclipsed by Dean Smith in 1997. Despite his success and his accolades, Rupp’s influence on the game of college basketball and on his adopted home of Kentucky are both much broader than his impressive record on the court. In this book, Bolin goes beyond the wins and losses to present the first full-length, critical biography of Rupp. Based on over 100 interviews with Rupp, his assistant coaches, former players, University of Kentucky presidents and faculty members, and his admirers and critics, as well as court transcripts, newspaper accounts, and other archival materials, the biography presents the fullest account of his life to date.

James Duane Bolin

James Duane Bolin is retired professor of history at Murray State University. He is the author of Bossism and Reform in a Southern City: Lexington, Kentucky, 1880-1940 and Home and Away: A Professor’s Journal.

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