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House of Champions (Paperback)

The Story of Kentucky Basketball's Home Courts

Imprint: University Press of Kentucky
Pages: 360
Illustrations: 58 b&w illustrations
ISBN: 9780813196411
Published: 8th November 2022
Casemate UK Academic

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The stories and accounts of Kentucky basketball's players, iconic coaches and epic games have been told and retold, but lesser known are the stories of the arenas and venues that have been home to the Wildcats – buildings that have witnessed the sights, sounds, and shared spirit of the Big Blue Nation for over a century.  


In House of Champions author Kevin Cook combines archival research and numerous interviews with players and coaches to reveal the rich history and colorful details of the structures that have hosted UK basketball. A number of fascinating backstories are uncovered, including the excitement of Alumni Gym's opening night in 1925; the problematic acquisition of a Black community for Memorial Coliseum; and the moving account of the displays of nearly ten thousand names of Kentucky's WWII and Korean War heroes on the Coliseum's pedestrian ramps. The account concludes with a compelling overview of the development of historic Rupp Arena: its inner workings, the prominent figures involved – and how the initial conversation to build it began over a slice of Jerry's pie in 1968.


This insightful and entertaining history reveals how the impact of these sporting facilities extended far beyond the courts' sidelines to directly shape and influence the social, economic, and political landscapes of Lexington and Central Kentucky. House of Champions also faithfully recreates the full game day experience of fans in the stands for several key games in UK's storied past. It ultimately offers an even greater appreciation of the history of the Wildcats and what the famed indoor stadiums have brought to the program – a must for any true Big Blue Basketball fan.

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