Kentucky Wildcats History
Adolph Rupp is synonymous with winning. As coach
of Kentucky, he was a pioneer in the Wildcats’ fast-break offense
while becoming the winningest coach the game had ever seen.
The site that now serves as a tribute to his outstanding
coaching accomplishments – Rupp Arena – has become one of the most
recognizable gymnasiums in the world while serving as home to college
basketball’s most storied program.
The facility continues to undergo renovations. Now in its 28th season
as the Kentucky Wildcats’ home court, the lower arena seats have been
changed to blue from their previous rainbow colors. In addition, new
end-zone seating moves the student section closer to the floor in an
intimidating, standing-room only arrangement. While the endowment seats
along courtside continue to entice fans to financially support their
Wildcats, a large portion of the media have been moved to a “press box”
location between the lower and upper seating areas. And finally, nearly
40 seats have been added to each corner, the first additions in seating
in nearly two decades.
The improvements follow changes the past three years that included four
new video boards, a new playing floor with a striking new design and
enhancements to the concourses as well. It’s all part of a $15 million
upgrade to what many consider the mecca of college basketball.
Since the fall of 1976, the arena in downtown Lexington has served
as home to three national championship teams at Kentucky. Three others
have advanced to the Final Four. Eight seasons have witnessed the
Cats go unbeaten at home.
It has played host to 392 UK games, countless KHSAA Sweet 16s, a number
of NBA exhibitions, 10 NCAA Tournaments, three SEC Tournaments and two
Ohio Valley Conference Tournaments. With so many unforgettable moments,
the old floor still maintained a value to hoop fans across the Bluegrass
and beyond. Therefore, officials made pieces of the relic available
for public sale, with proceeds going to the UK Basketball Museum, the
Kentucky High School Athletic Association and to help offset the costs
of the new playing floor. Thanks to an auction of additional sections,
like coaching boxes and lettered end zones, the old floor generated
more than $250,000.
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