100-Year Celebration Set to Begin
Oct. 10, 2002
The University of Kentucky unveiled its plans Thursday for the yearlong celebration marking the Wildcats' 100th season of men's basketball. Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart and Coach Tubby Smith outlined the events, promotions and reunions planned for the 2002-03 basketball season.
The logo, which features a bold 100 with Kentucky Basketball, 1903-2003 and the phrase, Unparalleled Tradition, will make its debut at Big Blue Madness on Friday, Oct. 11. The logo will be featured throughout the season and will be on the floor at Rupp Arena as well as each chair on the team benches.
"This is an historic season for a program rich in tradition," Barnhart said. "This campaign will celebrate the excellence of the past 99 years of Kentucky basketball through a variety of marketing and promotional efforts. Our athletics department, along with associates from Host Communications, has developed a plan that I think all of our fans will enjoy. And I want to thank our presenting sponsors for helping us make this happen - NAPA, UK Healthcare, CHA Health and Kentucky Select Chevy Dealers."
The logo will make its national television debut during the NASCAR race on Oct. 27 at the Atlanta Motor Speedway. Valvoline, a Lexington-based automotive company, will display the logo on the hood of its Johnny Benson car during the NAPA 500.
In addition, Host Communications is producing Kentucky's officially sanctioned publication to honor the 100 years of Big Blue hoops. The four-color magazine and a 90-minute video recapping the century of basketball will be available at Kroger stores and other retail outlets beginning in November.
The UK Radio Network will rebroadcast the top-10 greatest games beginning Dec. 29 for 10 consecutive Sunday nights, excluding Super Bowl Sunday.
"This is a tremendous milestone for a college basketball program that has symbolized excellence for many, many years," Coach Smith said. "As I tell our players everyday, it's an honor and a privilege to wear this uniform with Kentucky across the chest and throughout this season, we are all going to have an opportunity to meet the very people that helped establish this tradition throughout the past 99 years."
Fan balloting will begin at Big Blue Madness. Fans will have the opportunity to vote for their "Fantasy Five," which will be introduced on Feb. 23 at the Miss. State-Kentucky game during the program's reunion weekend. For that game, all former UK lettermen will be invited to return to Lexington to be recognized.
Pepsi Cola will release a commemorative can at Madness that highlights Kentucky's anniversary. Additionally, Pepsi cans will be released throughout the basketball season, each commemorating one of the top-10 greatest moments in Kentucky basketball as voted on by a media panel last summer. Other season promotions include a retro game where the Wildcats will battle Michigan State on Dec. 14 using old-time uniforms and a commemorative poster that McDonald's will distribute beginning in February.
In addition, the Wildcats plan to honor the 1978 NCAA Champions at the Notre Dame game on Jan. 18, 25 years after Joe B. Hall's squad defeated Duke for the school's fifth national title.