Joe B. Hall, Legendary Kentucky Basketball Coach, Dies at 93

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 15, 2022

Former Kentucky coach Joe B. Hall waves to the crowd during the first half of the team's NCAA college basketball game against UAB in Lexington, Ky., Friday, Nov. 29, 2019. (AP Photo/James Crisp)
AP Photo/James Crisp

Former Kentucky Wildcats men's basketball head coach Joe B. Hall died at the age of 93.

The program announced the news Saturday morning:

Kentucky Men’s Basketball @KentuckyMBB

It is with great sadness we share the passing of the great Joe B. Hall. Our hearts are with the Hall family.<br><br>We love you, Joe B. <a href="https://t.co/SahjbGOexb">pic.twitter.com/SahjbGOexb</a>

Current Kentucky head coach John Calipari tweeted a series of messages in which he called Hall "my friend, my mentor and an icon in our state and in our profession" while pointing out he "made it the job it is today with his hard work, his ingenuity and his great basketball coaching."

Calipari continued, adding, "Coach Hall is beloved by everyone. What makes me happy on this extremely somber day is that before he left this earth, he knew how much all of us appreciated and loved him. I would ask that everyone keep him and his family in your prayers. I love you, Coach."

Hall took over the Wildcats program after the legendary Adolph Rupp, who coached Kentucky for 42 years prior, for the 1972-73 season.

He faced plenty of pressure following in the footsteps of a giant in the sport, but he lived up to and ultimately exceeded expectations during a tenure that lasted through the 1984-85 campaign.

Kentucky went to 10 NCAA tournaments and three Final Fours under the four-time SEC Coach of the Year. It also won eight regular-season conference championships and took home the national title during the 1977-78 campaign.

That national championship team featured four players who made the NBA in Jack Givens, Rick Robey, Kyle Macy and Chuck Aleksinas.

Hall was not just a national champion coach, as ESPN noted he is one of just three men to win an NCAA title as a player and coach and the only one to accomplish the feat at the same school.

He remained a public figure around the program well into retirement and was often seen sitting courtside for home games.