Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local Sports

December 20, 2013

MARK MAYNARD: When Rupp coached here

ASHLAND — There have been a lot of great players and coaches who have graced the sideline of what is now known as Alumni Gymnasium on Lexington Avenue in Ashland.

But did you know Adolph Rupp could be included among them?

It’s true. Rupp, in only his third season as head coach at the University of Kentucky, brought the Wildcats to Ashland to play Marshall College on Dec. 17, 1932.

Described in the Ashland Daily Independent as “the greatest galaxy of stats ever assembled on one team at that school,” Kentucky smothered Marshall 57-23.

I’d never heard this myself until it was brought to my attention by J.R. VanHoose, a basketball hisotrian whose enjoys spending his idle time in front of microfilm.

One reason the game was played here was for Ellis Johnson and Darrell Darby, two UK seniors who had starred on Ashland’s 1928 national championship team.

Ashland was buzzing about the return of the former Tomcats so much that the west side of the gymnasium was reserved for Ashland fans.

The cost to get into the game was $1 with proceeds going to underprivileged children in Ashland.

Marshall coach Tom Dandalet was familiar to the area as well but in football where he played for the Ashland Steel team, the Ironton Tanks and the Portsmouth Spartans. He also coached at Ceredo-Kenova, his alma mater.

But on this day, he was coaching against the Baron, Adolph Rupp, and the Herd was very much outmatched.

It wasn’t much of a game with Kentucky blowing out to a 38-8 halftime lead and coasting to the win.

This was Rupp’s best team to date at UK, finishing 21-3 and winning the school’s first Southeastern Conference championship since 1921.

Johnson and Darby were starters along with All-American Forest “Aggie” Sale, John “Frenchy” DeMoisey and George Yates.

Sale, who would later be selected the National Player of the Year, had a disappointing game with only three points but DeMoisey scored 24. Darby had nine and Johnson five.

Johnson was eventually selected on Frank Lane’s All-American team.

Johnson and Darby were given the heroes welcome from the fans with standing ovations as 1,500 jammed their way inside the small gym.

The heat from so many in the gym caused some slippery spots on the floor, leading to treacherous play on both sides.

Whenever a player attempted a quick stop, he found himself flat on the gym floor, according to the game account in the ADI on Dec. 18, 1932.

Kentucky played before sold-out audiences practically every game in the 1932-33 season.

Kentucky defeated Mississippi A&M 46-22 in the SEC championship game in Atlanta.

Experts called the Wildcats the greatest Southern team of all time.

They played against teams from the Big Ten, Missouri Valley Conference, Southern Conference, Southern Intercollegiate Association and the Southeastern Conference.

And on one December night more than 81 years ago, in front of a rowdy crowd on Lexington Avenue, Rupp and the Wildcats defeated Marshall right here in Ashland.

MARK MAYNARD can be reached at mmaynard@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2648.



 

1
Text Only
Local Sports
  • Salyers shoots 75 for title at Lakeside

    Baylee Salyers of Flatwoods shot a 3-over par 75 at Lakeside Golf Course on Thursday to win the Girls Open division of the Walmart Kentucky PGA Junior Tour event.

    July 24, 2014

  • 0724putnamwebshot.JPG Laying the foundation Workers are finishing the foundation for the locker room on the home side of Putnam Stadium on Tuesday. The Ashland Tomcats open the football season on Aug. 22 against Newport Catholic.

    July 23, 2014

  • Genuine throwback

    Todd Eastham is disproving the old cliche, “Those who can, do; those who can’t, teach.”

    July 23, 2014

  • MARK MAYNARD: Looking for those who inspire

    Inspirtation, they say, comes from within. It is defined as an inspiring or animating action or influence.

    July 22, 2014

  • 0722KYPGA_152.jpg Jones tops Gillum in playoff at Eagle Trace

    Ashland senior golfer Logan Jones didn't shoot his average Monday.
    He didn't mind.
    His three-over par 75 and one-hole playoff win over Elliott County junior Ryan Gillum gave him the Boys Open division title in the Kentucky PGA Junior Tour stop at Morehead State University's Eagle Trace Golf Course.

    July 21, 2014 6 Photos

  • 102213_329a.jpg Raceland tabs Clark as new girls basketball coach

    Jason Clark has a reputation of being — to use his word — “passionate” on the Raceland volleyball sideline.
    He plans to bring that same approach as the Lady Rams’ new basketball coach.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0305region2_389.jpg Pass the Mayo: East sophomore PG, Lady Raiders preparing for winter run

    East Carter sophomore point guard Kristen Mayo has played basketball for as long as she can remember.

    July 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • 0718spinda.jpg Steelers super fan Spinda to be recognized in Florida

    Shawn Spinda doesn’t have to use speech to profess his passion for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
    All it takes is a quick glance for a person to get the picture.
    But to absorb the whole picture, you’ll need to clear your schedule.
    Spinda is one of several fanatics who will be recognized at the Sports Fans Conference in Orlando, Florida, which is set for Aug. 28-Sept. 1 at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort. He is a “What a Fan” NFL Fan of the Year nominee.

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0703rfLL0204.jpg Little League State Baseball: Ready to run

    Morehead 11- and 12-year-old All-Star baseball manager Toby Gardner collectively likened his team to a racehorse.

    July 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0717prokick1.jpg Prokicker.com camp Eleven Ashland Tomcat football players were part of the Ray Guy Prokicker.com camp at Huntington High. The high-profile camps are put on all over the country. Rick Sang, an Ashland native who befriended Guy 20 years ago, is the camp's founder.

    July 16, 2014