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Legendary UK basketball coach Joe B. Hall passes away

University of Kentucky men's basketball coach John Calipari called Hall an "icon in our state and in our profession."

LEXINGTON, Ky. — Fans across the Commonwealth were saddened to learn that former University of Kentucky basketball coach Joe B. Hall died on Saturday. He was 93. 

Hall was revered in the community as a legendary coach, leading the UK Wildcats to many tournaments from 1972 to 1985. 

Current UK men's basketball coach John Calipari said on Twitter that Hall was a friend and a mentor to him.

Calipari called Hall an "icon in our state and in our profession."

"Joe B. Hall took over a program and carried on the winning tradition and legacy of excellence of Kentucky basketball," he said Saturday morning.

The university's athletics department tweeted that Hall would "always on our minds, forever in our hearts."

Under Hall's leadership, he led the Wildcats to the 1978 national championship

That same year, he earned the title of "National Coach of the Year" by Kellog's. 

Hall was inducted into UK Athletics' Hall of Fame in 2005.

Some of Hall's peers and prominent Kentuckians also share their condolences his passing. 

Governor Andy Beshear:

"Coach Joe B. Hall was not only a remarkable basketball legend, he was also a kind, generous leader who made an impact on his players and everyone who knew him. Britainy and I extend our deepest sympathies to Coach Hall’s family as they mourn this heartbreaking loss."

Senator Mitch McConnell:

“College basketball is part of Kentucky’s heritage. Today, Elaine and I learned with sadness the loss of one of the icons responsible for that tradition. Coach Joe B. Hall led the University of Kentucky Wildcats men’s basketball team for over a decade, winning the 1978 National Championship and earning a spot in the College Basketball Hall of Fame. Today, Big Blue Nation and all of Kentucky remembers Coach Hall, a man who distinguished himself here and around the globe for his leadership, his passion, and his philanthropy. We send our deepest condolences to his children and family.”

Congressman Andy Barr:

“I grew up watching the great Kentucky Wildcat basketball teams led by Coach Joe B. Hall. In 1978, the Wildcats won it all under coach Hall’s leadership. Not many could have risen to the challenge of succeeding the iconic Adolph Rupp, but Joe B. Hall did it and became a Hall of Fame coach and a legend in his own right. Today, I join so many other grateful Wildcat fans who are saddened by the passing of Coach Hall. I am praying for his family, former players, and friends.”


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