Tag Archives: march madness

Keep the March Madness Spirit Alive with These Great Reads!

If there’s one thing many Kentuckians have in common, it’s a love for college basketball. Especially during March, there’s nothing quite like the excitement of filling out your tournament bracket and watching it inevitably get busted, all while still hoping that the Kentucky Wildcats make it to the championship game.

But with the cancellation of regional and national tournaments this year, as well as requests from government officials to stay home as much as possible in light of the spread of COVID-19, many may be left wondering how to spend their extra time and how to cope with the fact that this March will look much different.

Here at the University Press of Kentucky, we’d like to encourage you to keep the March Madness spirit alive by picking up one (or even a few) of our great basketball reads below! Even though you can’t watch the Cats vie for the national title, you can learn more about your favorite coaches, teams, and figures in the history of Kentucky basketball and the NCAA at large. Purchase now at kentuckypress.com so you can become an expert in time for March Madness next year!


CHANGING THE GAME details the life of college sports marketing pioneer Jim Host, who brought unimaginable revenue to college sports and made March Madness into what we know it to be today! Among other things, Host and his team developed the NCAA Radio Network and introduced the NCAA Corporate Sponsor Program, which employed companies such as Gillette, Valvoline, Coca-Cola, and Pizza Hut to promote university athletic programs and the NCAA at large. CHANGING THE GAME explores Host’s achievements in sports radio, management, and broadcasting; his time in minor league baseball, real estate, and the insurance business; and his foray into Kentucky politics. This memoir also provides a behind-the-scenes look at the growth of big-time athletics and offers solutions for current challenges facing college sports.


Until I was nine or ten, everyone called me Joe or Joe Hall. Then one day, my grandmother, for reasons known only to her, pulled me aside, telling me my name was “too short and too plain.” She said, “Let’s add your middle initial to make it more interesting. From now on, you say your name is Joe B., not just Joe. It’s Joe B. Hall.”

In COACH HALL, former UK men’s basketball coach Joe B. Hall reveals never-before-heard stories about memorable players, coaches, and friends and expresses the joys and fulfillments of his rewarding life and career. Joe B. Hall is one of only three men to both play on an NCAA championship team (1949, Kentucky) and coach an NCAA championship team (1978, Kentucky), and the only one to do so for the same school. During his thirteen years as the head coach at UK, Joe B. Hall led the team to a grand total of 297 victories!


Known as the “Man in the Brown Suit” and “The Baron of the Bluegrass,” Adolph Rupp (1901–1977) is a towering figure in the history of college athletics. In ADOLPH RUPP AND THE RISE OF KENTUCKY BASKETBALL, historian James Duane Bolin goes beyond the wins and losses to present a full-length biography of Rupp based on more than 100 interviews as well as court transcripts, newspaper accounts, and other archival materials. Rupp’s teams won 4 NCAA championships (1948, 1949, 1951, and 1958), 1 NIT title in 1946, and 27 SEC regular season titles. Rupp’s influence on the game of college basketball and on his adopted home of Kentucky are both much broader than his impressive record on the court.


Joe B. Hall, Jack “Goose” Givens, Rick Robey, and Kyle Macy–these names occupy a place of honor in Rupp Arena, home of the “greatest tradition in the history of college basketball.” The team and coaches who led the University of Kentucky Wildcats to their 94–88 victory over the Duke Blue Devils in the 1978 national championship game are legendary. In FORTY MINUTES TO GLORY, Doug Brunk presents an inside account of this celebrated squad and their championship season from summer pick-up games to the net-cutting ceremony in St. Louis. Brunk interviewed every surviving player, coach, and student manager from the 1977–1978 team, and shares unbelievable tales and heart-wrenching moments,


In WILDCAT MEMORIES, author Doug Brunk brings together some of the greatest coaches, players, and personalities from the UK men’s basketball program to reflect on Kentuckians who provided inspiration, guidance, and moral support during their tenure as Wildcats. Featuring personal essays and behind-the-scenes stories from Kentucky legends Wallace “Wah Wah” Jones, Dan Issel, Joe B. Hall, Kyle Macy, Tubby Smith, Patrick Patterson, Darius Miller, and John Wall, this heartfelt collection shares an inside look at what makes UK basketball extraordinary. In candid firsthand accounts, the players and coaches discuss their incredible Kentucky support systems and offer a glimpse into the rarely seen personal side of life as a Wildcat.


Already read the books above? See below for more great basketball titles, and check them out here!

Wildcat ‘Memories’ and ‘Voice’ from the Past

Wildcat memoriesSince the tenure of Coach Adolph Rupp, the University of Kentucky Wildcats men’s basketball team has been a virtual powerhouse, repeatedly dominating the Southeastern Conference and garnering eight national titles. UK basketball is a homegrown tradition for sports enthusiasts, fostering a community that thrives on the camaraderie of fandom and devotedly cheers for its players in both victory and defeat. The individuals who have coached, played for, and inspired the Wildcats are important figures in Kentucky history and continue to motivate future athletes and passionate fans.

Wildcat Memories illuminates the intimate connection between the UK basketball program and the commonwealth. Author Doug Brunk brings together some of the program’s greatest coaches, players, and personalities to reflect on Kentuckians who provided inspiration, guidance, and moral support during their tenure as Wildcats. Featuring personal essays and behind-the-scenes stories from Kentucky legends Wallace “Wah Wah” Jones, Dan Issel, Joe B. Hall, Kyle Macy, and Tubby Smith, as well as newcomers Patrick Patterson, Darius Miller, and John Wall, this heartfelt collection shares an inside look at what makes UK basketball extraordinary.

More than a book of inspiring stories, Wildcat Memories is a fun romp through UK basketball history. In candid firsthand accounts, the players and coaches discuss their incredible Kentucky support systems and offer a glimpse into the rarely seen personal side of life as a Wildcat.

Voice of the wildcats

As one of the first voices of the University of Kentucky men’s basketball program, Claude Sullivan (1924–1967) became a nationally known sportscasting pioneer. His career followed Kentucky’s rise to prominence as he announced the first four NCAA championship titles under Coach Adolph Rupp and covered scrimmages during the canceled 1952–1953 season following the NCAA sanctions scandal. Sullivan also revolutionized the coverage of the UK football program with the introduction of a coach’s show with Bear Bryant—a national first that gained significant attention and later became a staple at other institutions. Sullivan’s reputation in Kentucky eventually propelled him to Cincinnati, where he became the voice of the Reds, and even to the 1960 Summer Olympic Games in Rome.

In Voice of the Wildcats: Claude Sullivan and the Rise of Modern Sportscasting, Claude’s son Alan, along with Joe Cox, offers an engaging and heartfelt look at the sportscaster’s life and the context in which he built his career. The 1940s witnessed a tremendous growth in sportscasting across the country, and Sullivan, a seventeen year old from Winchester, Kentucky, entered the field when it was still a novel occupation that was paving new roads for broadcast reporting. During the height of his career, Sullivan was named Kentucky’s Outstanding Broadcaster by the National Association of Sportscasters and Sportswriters for eight consecutive years. His success was tragically cut short when he passed away from throat cancer at forty-two.

Featuring dozens of interviews and correspondence with sports legends, including Wallace “Wah Wah” Jones, Babe Parilli, Cliff Hagan, Ralph Hacker, Jim Host, Billy Reed, Adolph Rupp, and Cawood Ledford, this engaging biography showcases the life and work of a beloved broadcast talent and documents the rise of sports radio during the twentieth century.

Hear exclusive audio clips, view featured photos, and learn more about Claude Sullivan at www.VoiceoftheWildcatsBook.com.

March Madness is coming!

We’re already gearing up for March Madness, and in a state that boasts two college basketball teams with National Championships in 2012 and 2013, it’s no wonder we know a thing or two about basketball literature. let’s see why the Big Blue Nation is one of the strongest fan bases in the country.

NCAA Men's Championship Game - Kansas v Kentucky

Jerry L. Walls and Gregory Bassham explore the art of America’s most popular team sport in their book Basketball and Philosophy: Thinking outside the Paint. It’s a must-read for any basketball lover.