Campus News

UPK Releases New Joe B. Hall Memoir

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.

As the state’s flagship, land-grant institution, the University of Kentucky exists to advance the Commonwealth. We do that by preparing the next generation of leaders — placing students at the heart of everything we do — and transforming the lives of Kentuckians through education, research and creative work, service and health care. We pride ourselves on being a catalyst for breakthroughs and a force for healing, a place where ingenuity unfolds. It's all made possible by our people — visionaries, disruptors and pioneers — who make up 200 academic programs, a $501 million research and development enterprise and a world-class medical center, all on one campus.   

In 2022, UK was ranked by Forbes as one of the “Best Employers for New Grads” and named a “Diversity Champion” by INSIGHT into Diversity, a testament to our commitment to advance Kentucky and create a community of belonging for everyone. While our mission looks different in many ways than it did in 1865, the vision of service to our Commonwealth and the world remains the same. We are the University for Kentucky.