17 January 2009


Note: I was a walk-on basketball player at the University of Kentucky, in 1965-66, the year the varsity--with Pat Riley, Louie Dampier, Larry Conley, Tommy Kron, Thad Jaracz--went undefeated until the last game of the regular season and went to the final game of the NCAA tournament before losing to Texas Western and entering basketball history for several reasons.

The post-comment is by Bill Rutledge, from Adairville, Kentucky, another walk-on and who also remembered the drop-of-sweat incident.

In the middle of one of those eerily quiet varsity practices (as I judged them), when the team was going full court ( I and the other freshmen came early to watch), Coach Rupp bounded out of the bleachers from about the sixth row, exhibiting startling agility, and ran to near center court and “discovered” a single drop of sweat (as he put it), pointed to it and in dripping sarcasm (and surely reverse psychology) accused Thad Jaracz of running the floor so hard he actually shed a drop of sweat. I personally was mortified as I am sure Jaracz was, too.

Here’s my interpretation: Coach Rupp, I feel, used Jaracz as whipping boy, to communicate to the whole team. I bet the rest of the team took to heart the message that day. Even sitting in the bleachers, I know I felt the sting of contemplating that single, drop of sweat lying alone and forlorn on the floor of Memorial Coliseum.

darned right I remember you!! You were the one exception to the “white guys can’t jump” rule on that team. We badly needed some athleticism and you brought it. Unfortunately for me, that made you the sixth man and pushed me out of that spot. Great to hear from you.
I do remember the road trip to Knoxville. Dreary place, especially during the game, with Howard Bayne (sp?) beating up on our guys inside. As I remember, Ray Mears figured out how Coach Rupp beat him in Lexington and made some adjustments to the baseline coverage in his 1-3-1 and UK wasn’t quick enough to react to it.
Please do post something about the varsity practices. These folks love it, and I’ll eat it up.
Again, really great to hear from you.

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