Former Kentucky basketball coach Joe B. Hall dies at 93


Joe B. Hall cracks a smile after hearing a joke during his weekly gathering with the “Lunch Bunch” at Immanuel Baptist Church’s ROC Cafe on Friday, Feb. 22, 2019, in Lexington, Kentucky. Photo by Michael Clubb | Staff

Hunter Shelton

Joe B. Hall, former Kentucky men’s basketball head coach who led the Wildcats to one NCAA national championship, has died at the age of 93, the school announced Saturday morning.  

Hall was the successor to legendary head coach Adolph Rupp, taking over in 1972 after being an assistant on Rupp’s staff for six seasons.  

“It is with great sadness that we share the passing of the great Joe B. Hall,” the Kentucky men’s basketball team tweeted.Our hearts are with the Hall family. We love you, Joe B.” 

A native of Cynthiana, Kentucky, Hall is one of only three men to both play on and coach an NCAA championship team (1949, ‘78) and is the only one to do so for the same school.  

In 13 years under the helm at Kentucky, Hall led the Wildcats to 297 victories. Under Hall, Kentucky made 10 NCAA Tournament appearances including a national championship in 1978. 

“Joe B. Hall took over a program and carried on the winning tradition and legacy of excellence of Kentucky basketball,” UK head coach John Calipari tweeted. “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 resigned as Kentucky coach in 1985 but remained a beloved figure in the state. Hall was often a fixture at home games in Rupp Arena. A bronze statue of Hall sits in front of the Wildcat Coal Lodge, where the men’s basketball players live on campus.