By Barr Memorial LibraryJune 18, 2019
Barr Memorial Library and Kentucky Chautauqua will present Adolph Rupp: The Coach at the library June 27 beginning at 6 p.m.
During the 42 years he coached at the University of Kentucky, Rupp (1901-1977) raised basketball to near-religious status in the Commonwealth. Basketball took its place next to horses, coal and bourbon as one of the cultural icons that characterize the state. Rupp's teams won 880 games, four national championships, and one Olympic gold medal.
There was a flip-side to all this success -- the Kentucky team was suspended for the 1952-53 season after a point-shaving scandal; also, Rupp was heavily criticized for taking so long to integrate his program.
Rupp grew up in Kansas, the son of immigrant farmers. He played three years of varsity basketball at the University of Kansas, but never scored a point. He began his coaching career in Kansas, but soon moved on to Iowa and then Illinois. The University of Kentucky hired him in 1930.
Rupp's genius for public relations and his team's winning ways combined to make Kentucky basketball a statewide phenomenon, a point of pride which Kentuckians of all stripes still rally.
Edward Smith portrays Rupp for Kentucky Chautauqua. A Kentucky native, Smith earned a bachelor of arts from Georgetown College, a master of arts from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and a PhD from the University of Texas at Austin, all in performance studies.
Smith is the co-director of the Kentucky Educational Speech and Drama Association and a member of the Kentucky Film Lab's Advisory Board. He teaches theatre and film classes at Georgetown College, where he is an associate professor.
In addition to his work adapting Kentucky literature for the stage, Smith is an award-winning filmmaker. He also portrays Justice John Marshall Harlan for Kentucky Chautauqua. He lives in Cynthiana with his wife Betsy and three sons, Ethan, Harry and Ross. Betsy, Ethan and Harry are also Kentucky Chautauqua performers.
The event is free and open to the public.
For more information, call Barr Memorial Library at (502) 624-1232 or visit the website below.