LEXINGTON, Ky. — Joe B. Hall, the well-known and loved former coach of the University of Kentucky men’s basketball team, died early Saturday morning. He was 93.
Hall was head coach of the Wildcats from 1972 to 1985, but he was a UK basketball fan long before that. He was a reserve player on the 1948-49 team and then became an assistant coach for seven seasons before earning the head coach position, succeeding Adolph Rupp in 1972.
Hall led the team to 297 victories, including the 1978 NCAA title, UK’s fifth men’s basketball championship victory. After retiring from coaching, the Cynthiana native stayed close to the UK basketball program, as a fan and a legend among UK fans. He offered support to his successors.
“Coach Joe B. Hall – my friend, my mentor, and an icon in our state and in our profession – took over a program and carried on the winning tradition and legacy of excellence of Kentucky basketball,” said current UK men’s basketball head coach John Calipari. “He made it the job it is today with his hard work, his ingenuity and his great basketball coaching.”
UK President Eli Capilouto said Hall helped expand and enlarge the greatest tradition in college basketball.
“The Joe B. Hall I was privileged to know was gentle and kind, unfailingly gracious and big-hearted. He told warm and funny stories, always made time for anyone and treated them all — no matter their station or walk of life — with respect and dignity,” Capilouto said. “We lost a Kentucky basketball great. More importantly, we lost a great man, who lived a wonderfully big and loving life. We are deeply sad today with his passing, but much better for his living and what he gave to all of us as Kentuckians.”
Read more about his storied association with the basketball team in this UK Athletics article.
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