Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Was Adolph Rupp really a racist?

The Common Wisdom has always been that Adolph Rupp, the great basketball coach at the University of Kentucky from 1930 to 1972 (this was when coaches actually stayed at schools for longer than, oh, about 5 years), a man whose coaching success was superseded only by John Wooden of UCLA (maybe), was a racist.

The charge is usually leveled because Kentucky was an all-white team long after everyone knew blacks could play at least we well.

But what happened behind the scenes told a different story. Here is my hometown sports writer Larry Vaught telling the story of James D. Tucker of Paris, KY, a black player who later went on to a successful NBA career, and what Rupp did for him behind the scences. "He changed my life," said Tucker.

It won't please the Politically Correct, who will willing misread history to fit their narrative.


One Brow said...

Does being a rcist mean that you are completely unwilling to help humans of the race you despise? I have never heard that definition. Rupp was a human, wiht good and bad qualities no doubt, and could easily have been both a racist and willing to help a black player go to a school that was not UK.

Since I never met Rupp and have not researched his life, I have no idea if he was racist or not (although most white men in power at that time were, Rupp may have been an exception); I'm not sure why it is relevant today. However, this article offers little light on that issue.

Singring said...

There seem to be plenty of players, coaches and journalists out there who do think Rupp was a racist and seem to have good reason for doing so. Take this example:

This African American player alledges that Rupp told him that he 'wasn't welcome' in the league and then apparently allowed an effigy of the player to be hung from the ceiling of the dressing room when his team was visiting Lexington.

Now maybe Rupp was as racist as some claim, maybe he wasn't as much, maybe he wasn't at all.

But to cite one statement by one player as somehow proving that others who think of Rupp as a racist is 'misreading history' and that clearly, Rupp wasn't a racist. It's not that simple and this kind of wishy-washy racism apologetics is really just a game of desperation.

Anonymous said...

Rupp was a businessman first, a racist second. When the other teams started having excellent black players it became important to recruit them for his team in order to win and keep his salary.

Paul Vincent McCarthy said...

The blogger writes about Adolph Rupp as "a man whose coaching success was superseded only by John Wooden of UCLA (maybe)". There is no "maybe" about it. Coach Wooden superseded Mr. Rupp both as a human being and as a coach. Decades before the bigot, Adolph Rupp, finally integrated his UK teams, Coach Wooden led the (right) way. In 1948, the NAIA became the first national organization to open their intercollegiate postseason to black student-athletes. In 1947, Coach Wooden refused the invitation to the NAIA National Tournament due to issues surrounding one of his players. The following year, Coach Wooden brought the first African-American student athlete (Clarence Walker) to play at the national tournament. His teams won 88 games in succession. His teams are the only ones in the history of the NCAA to win more than 2 national titles in succession. His teams won 7 national championships in succession and 10 in 12 years. Mr. Rupp's teams won 4 titles in 40 years. NO CONTEST! Coach Wooden far supersedes Mr. Rupp as a man and as a coach of young men.