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Wildcat Memories: Inside Stories from Kentucky Basketball Greats

by Doug Brunk foreword by Dan Issel

Availablepaperback$17.95 978-0-8131-4700-0
266 pages  Pubdate: 09/16/2014  5.5 x 8.5  34 b&w photos

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Since the tenure of Coach Adolph Rupp, the University of Kentucky Wildcats men’s basketball team has been a virtual powerhouse, repeatedly dominating the Southeastern Conference and garnering eight national titles. UK basketball is a homegrown tradition for sports enthusiasts, fostering a community that thrives on the camaraderie of fandom and devotedly cheers for its players in both victory and defeat. The individuals who have coached, played for, and inspired the Wildcats are important figures in Kentucky history and continue to motivate future athletes and passionate fans.

Wildcat Memories illuminates the intimate connection between the UK basketball program and the commonwealth. Author Doug Brunk brings together some of the program’s greatest coaches, players, and personalities to reflect on Kentuckians who provided inspiration, guidance, and moral support during their tenure as Wildcats. Featuring personal essays and behind-the-scenes stories from Kentucky legends Wallace “Wah Wah” Jones, Dan Issel, Joe B. Hall, Kyle Macy, and Tubby Smith, as well as newcomers Patrick Patterson, Darius Miller, and John Wall, this heartfelt collection shares an inside look at what makes UK basketball extraordinary.

More than a book of inspiring stories, Wildcat Memories is a fun romp through UK basketball history. In candid firsthand accounts, the players and coaches discuss their incredible Kentucky support systems and offer a glimpse into the rarely seen personal side of life as a Wildcat.

Doug Brunk is an award-winning journalist who has written hundreds of articles for trade and consumer publications.

The key to books about Kentucky basketball is picking the right folks and getting good interviews, and Doug Brunk has done that. Wildcat Memories does a great job of finding people who may not have gotten the recognition they deserve—people who were behind the scenes, but still had a hand in developing one of the great athletic programs in all of sports. -- Ryan Clark, author of Game of My Life: Kentucky and 100 Things Wildcats Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die

Without a doubt, University of Kentucky basketball is the most unifying force in our diverse Commonwealth. Pride in the Wildcats' great success is the one thing upon which we can all agree. Through the years, many great players have worn the blue and white and Doug Brunk, in his new book Wildcat Memories: Inside Stories From Kentucky Basketball Greats recounts many interesting personal details from the lives of some of the best in Wildcat lore. It is a must for serious members of Big Blue Nation. -- Tom Hammond, NBC Sports

“I went to my first Kentucky game in 1966 at Memorial Coliseum, and instantly became a Big Blue fan. I have been coaching high school basketball in Virginia for the last thirty years, and have been blessed to have six of my players wear the blue-and-white uniform of the Wildcats. These personal stories chronicle all the memories of the great players who have played at the University of Kentucky through the years.” -- Steve Smith, head basketball coach, Oak Hill Academy

Wildcat Memories provides us an incredible view of the thoughts of many former University of Kentucky basketball players. Elite programs are derived from past accomplishments as well as the present. UK’s storied history makes it one of the nation’s most respected programs. This book shares the heartfelt thoughts of the players and their appreciation of their coaches. As the father of former UK basketball player Travis Ford, I have experienced the impact that the UK program has on a player’s life. Reading this book will excite you and give you a better understanding of the term ‘Big Blue Nation.’”—Eddie Ford, owner and operator of Kentucky Hoopfest

The Wildcats are the greatest common denominator in our state—the one thing about which one can strike up a conversation almost anywhere or anytime. And Doug Brunk’s Wildcat Memories provides even more great stories to discuss. He covers a wide spectrum of eras for Big Blue fans both young and old, commemorating a program whose tradition is passed down from generation to generation. -- Tom Leach, Voice of the Wildcats

Kentucky is a special place, and there is nothing like Kentucky Basketball. Wildcat Memories allowed me to feel what Kentucky Basketball is really all about. -- Jay Bilas, ESPN

Innately seductive. -- Aaron W. Hughey -- Bowling Green Daily News

I found Doug Brunk’s Wildcat Memories both informative and inspiring. . . . What sets this book apart from others. . . is the emphasis on inspiration. Each interview subject reveals the people who influenced them the most while they played, coached, or worked for Kentucky basketball. Some credited coaches, other players, secretaries, business leaders, pastors, equipment managers, governors, and coaches wives, but all of them discuss the influence of the fans and the personal connection UK fans have to the team. . . . So love us, understand us, forgive us. We adore our Wildcats; we cherish our Wildcat Memories.

Listen to the full review here: -- Roberta Schultz, 91.7 WVXU Cincinnati

[T]his book is a must-have for any serious UK basketball fan. Brunk's book is not only a dazzling recruiting tool, but it also offers the reader the opportunity to sit down in the presence of some true Wildcat legends. -- The Hazard Herald