Adolph F. Rupp (1901-1977)


Historical Marker #1826 , which was erected in front of Memorial Coliseum in 1988, before the Senior Challenge Historical Marker Project began, honors Adolph Frederick Rupp. He was born to Mennonite German parents in Halstead, Kansas, in 1901 and was the fourth of six children. His love of basketball began at age six and he later became the star of his high school team. He went on to the University of Kansas and was on the reserve basketball squad under Coach Forrest "Phog" Allen from 1919-23.

After graduating, Rupp coached several high school teams before getting the head coaching job at the University of Kentucky, where he coached from 1930-1972. There, he got the nicknames "Baron of the Bluegrass" and "The Man in the Brown Suit." Rupp’s Wildcat teams won four NCAA championships, one NIT tournament title, appeared in 20 NCAA tournaments, had six Final Four appearances, and won 30 SEC tournaments. He coached the 1948 U.S. Olympic team that won a gold medal and was National Coach of the Year four times. Rupp was forced into retirement in March of 1972, at the age of 70. At the time, this was the mandatory retirement age for all University of Kentucky employees.

Rupp was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, the College Basketball Hall of Fame, the Kentucky Athletic Hall of Fame, the University of Kentucky Athletic Hall of Fame, the Kansas Athletic Hall of Fame, and the Helms Athletic Foundation Hall of Fame. The University of Kentucky retired a jersey in his honor in the rafters of Rupp Arena, dedicated in 1976. Adolph Rupp died on December 10, 1977, a night that the University of Kentucky defeated his alma mater, Kansas. He is buried in the Lexington Cemetery.

Photos Show

Adolph Rupp

Rupp coached the University of Kentucky men's basketball teams from 1930-1972.
Photo courtesy of the University of Kentucky.

Adolph Rupp with "Rupp's Runts"

Five players pose with coach Adolph Rupp after winning the NCAA Tournament Mideast Regional in Iowa City (84-77 over Michigan); pictured left to right are Larry Conley, Rupp, Tommy Kron, Thad Jaracz, Pat Riley, and Louie Dampier; 1966.
Photo courtesy of the University of Kentucky.

Adolph Rupp card

Photo courtesy of the University of Kentucky

Memorial Coliseum

Memorial Coliseum was built as a memorial to the Kentuckians who died in World Wars I and II and the Korean War. It opened in 1950 and housed men's and women's basketball. Photo courtesy of the University of Kentucky.

Cite this Page

Becky Riddle, “Adolph F. Rupp (1901-1977),” ExploreKYHistory, accessed April 18, 2015, http:/​/​explorekyhistory.​ky.​gov/​items/​show/​158.​
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