Former University of Kentucky men’s basketball coach Joe B. Hall has died at the age of 93.
Current UK men’s basketball coach John Calipari had visited with his mentor earlier this week and wrote, “Coach Joe B. Hall – my friend, my mentor, and an icon in our state and in our profession – passed away this morning. Coach Hall took over a program and carried on the winning tradition and legacy of excellence of Kentucky basketball. He made it the job it is today with his hard work, his ingenuity and his great basketball coaching.”
Hall, who’d served as assistant under Adolph Rupp, took the Wildcats to three final fours and the 1978 championship during his 13 seasons as head coach.
Addressing the crowd at a 2013 “Reinventing Rupp Arena” press conference, he began
with his reminiscences of playing in the 2,800-seat Alumni Gym with the Fab 5. When the larger Memorial Coliseum was proposed, he remembered that there were naysayers. He said, they called it the “biggest white elephant” and said it would not be filled with fans. They “misunderstood the Big Blue Nation,” Coach Hall said. Then, when Rupp was proposed, he said, the naysayers came out again. “Don’t underestimate the power of the fans of the Big Blue Nation,” Coach Hall said, to applause.