Dr. James Duane Bolin’s ‘Adolph Rupp and the Rise of Kentucky Basketball’ on sale now

MURRAY, Ky. — Murray State University Professor Emeritus Dr. James Duane Bolin will host a book signing event March 28 at Pogue Library for his latest work, “Adolph Rupp and the Rise of Kentucky Basketball.”

Bolin describes his book as a “cradle to grave” biography of the most well-known name in college basketball, from Rupp’s childhood as the son of Mennonite German farmers in the wheat fields of Halstead, Kansas, to his days playing under legendary University of Kansas coach Phog Allen and of course, his more than four decades at the University of Kentucky.

The author will be selling and signing copies from 4–6 p.m. March 28 at Pogue Library. The public is invited to attend.

Bolin said the 432-page biography took several years to write; his graduate school professor at UK, Dr. Bert Nelli, had been researching Rupp for 15 years himself. After the professor retired, he passed the torch on to Bolin, who would spend years carrying out his own research and interviews.

“Dr. Nelli interviewed at least one player on each of Rupp’s teams from 1930 to 1972, so I had all these cassette tapes,” Bolin said. “Murray State was very helpful to me, because I was awarded several transcription grants to transcribe the tapes, and I had many graduate students that offered their assistance. It was a major task going through all these documents. It took years just to catalog all the materials.”

Bolin, a retired professor of history, also examines portions of Rupp’s life that aren’t as well-known; While at the University of Kansas, Rupp learned physical education under the tutelage of James Naismith, the inventor of basketball.

“You’d never believe it, but Naismith was the only coach in Kansas history with a losing record — the inventor of the game!” Bolin said. “Rupp never scored in his collegiate career, either. He played as a substitute, but never scored a point.”

Rupp also coached high school basketball in Illinois for three years before taking the UK position and would go on to make a name for himself as a cattleman and owner of tobacco warehouses and whiskey distilleries.

In addition to his latest release, Bolin has authored other historical works, including “Bossism and Reform in a Southern City: Lexington, Kentucky, 1880-1940” and “Home and Away – A Professor’s Journal,” a collection of Bolin’s columns that have appeared in the Murray Ledger & Times newspaper, for which he still writes regularly.

For more information on “Adolph Rupp and the Rise of Kentucky Basketball,” visit its University of Kentucky Press page at bit.ly/BolinBook.

Photo: Murray State University Professor Emeritus Dr. James Duane Bolin will host a book signing event March 28 for his latest work, “Adolph Rupp and the Rise of Kentucky Basketball.”

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