Campus News

UPK Releases New Joe B. Hall Memoir

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Coach Joe B. Hall on black background
Cover detail of "My Life On and Off the Court" by Joe B. Hall and Marianne Walker

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 9, 2019) — One would be hard-pressed to find a member of Big Blue Nation unfamiliar with Joe B. Hall. For many, his name is synonymous with both the university and the UK Men’s Basketball team.

In “Coach Hall: My Life On and Off the Court,” his new University Press of Kentucky memoir written with Marianne Walker, Hall presents intimate details about his remarkable life. He reveals never-before-heard stories about memorable players, coaches, and friends and expresses the joys and fulfillments of his rewarding life and career.

Hall, a UK Alumni Association Hall of Distinguished Alumni member and frequent presence at Rupp Arena, received his bachelor's degree from UK in 1955 and eventually returned to join the basketball coaching staff at his alma mater.

Joe B. Hall is one of only three men to both play on and coach an NCAA championship team (1949, 1978) and the only one to do so for the same school.

During his 13 years as head coach at UK, from 1972 to 1985, Hall led the team to 297 victories. The most memorable of these is the 1978 NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Championship in which Hall led the Wildcats to their fifth title. This legendary coach followed in the colossal footsteps of Adolph Rupp to chart his own path to success and become one of college basketball’s all-time greats and winningest coaches.

He was named National Coach of the Year in 1978 and Southeastern Conference Coach of the Year on four different occasions. Hall’s record at UK was 297–100, and 373–156 over his career.

Before coming to UK in 1965 to serve as an assistant coach under Rupp, Hall coached at Central Missouri State University and Regis University. Marianne Walker is a retired professor of English and philosophy at Henderson Community College. She is the author of “Margaret Mitchell and John Marsh: The Love Story Behind Gone With the Wind” and “The Graves County Boys: A Tale of Kentucky Basketball, Perseverance, and the Unlikely Championship of the Cuba Cubs.”

The University Press of Kentucky is the scholarly publisher for the Commonwealth of Kentucky, representing a consortium that includes all of the state universities, five private colleges and two historical societies. The press’ editorial program focuses on the humanities and the social sciences. Offices for the administrative, editorial, production and marketing departments of the press are found at the University of Kentucky, which provides financial support toward the operating expenses of the publishing operation.

The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity, and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion three years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. UK has been judged a “Great College to Work for" two years in a row, and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers."  We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for four straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.