(Oct. 13, 2000) -- As has become tradition, the Kentucky
Cat fan Wally Clark
waits in line year in and year out for tickets to Madness,
coming as much as 38 days early for tickets.
Wildcats tip off the new basketball season with "Big Blue Madness," an event-filled evening at Memorial Coliseum. For those arriving early, the festivities begin at 7 p.m. when the UK volleyball team plays host to Florida in an important Southeastern Conference battle.
Following the match, doors will be open for Madness at 10 p.m. with the event beginning at 10:30 p.m. The night will include
games and contests with prizes for all the winners. The UK band, cheerleaders and pom squad also will be performing.
Coach Rick Pitino
jokes around with Rodrick Rhodes during the exhibition
game of an earlier Madness.
The women's basketball team will be introduced at 11:45 p.m. and Big Blue fans will catch their first glimpse of the new
Wildcats including six new freshmen at 12:01 a.m., marking the first day practice can officially begin.
Nearly 8,000 tickets were distributed last Saturday morning in less than 15 minutes. The day before, seven hundred seats were
given away on the Internet in 13 minutes. The event will be broadcast on the UKTV Network.
were distributed prior to the night of Madness, fans
enjoyed mingling while waiting to get inside.
The Kentucky Wildcats will begin their 98th season of college basketball when the team takes the floor tonight. The Wildcats
own an unparalleled tradition, which includes their first national championship, the NIT title, in 1946. The first NCAA Championship
followed in 1948 and its seventh NCAA crown occurred 50 years later in 1998. Highlights of UK's glorious past includes:
Seven national titles (1948, '49, '51, '58, '78, '96, 98)
The all-time winningest team in college basketball (1. Kentucky 1,771; 2. North Carolina 1,755; 3. Kansas 1,712)
The highest all-time winning percentage of any team in college basketball -- 76.4% (1,771-548-1)
Three NCAA runner-up trophies
13 Final Four appearances
A national-record 41 NCAA tournament appearances
40 Southeastern Conference Championships
22 SEC Tournament titles
Ten 30-win seasons, the most in college basketball
37 players chosen All-America 54 times
87 Wildcats selected in the NBA Draft
Practice Begins Saturday
Saturday, Oct. 14, is the first day Division I college basketball teams can practice. Several years ago, the NCAA moved the
first day of practice to the Saturday closest to Oct. 15. Since that rule was changed, this is the first time practice has begun before the
The Wildcats began preseason workouts Aug. 28, concentrating on strength and conditioning as well as individual instruction.
Early Season Start
Coach Smith cuts
up with Miss America 2000, Kentucky's own Heather Renee
French, who made a suprise visit to Midnight Madness last
Less than a month into practice, Kentucky will participate in the Coaches vs. Cancer IKON Classic at Madison Square Garden
in New York. The Wildcats will battle St. John's on Nov. 9 before facing either Kansas or UCLA in the final round on Nov. 10. The
event marks the earliest start of a basketball season in UK history. All four teams played in the 2000 NCAA Tournament.
The Birth of Midnight Madness
Former UK coach Joe B. Hall started Midnight Madness at the University of Kentucky in 1982. According to Hall, he was
looking for an idea to create more excitement for his 1982-83 squad. So they invited the fans in for team introductions and a
scrimmage at 12:01 a.m. on Oct. 15, 1982. Madness has now grown at a tremendous pace while also spreading to college and high
school programs across the nation. Lefty Driesell, currently the coach at James Madison, is credited with conducting the first
Midnight Madness when he was the head coach at Maryland in 1971.
Midnight Madness Highlights
When Midnight Madness started in 1982, it was called "Midnight Special." More than 8,500 fans attended that first event in
12,000-seat Memorial Coliseum. Admission was somewhat easier then -- those still arriving near the stroke of 12 a.m. had no
problem getting a seat. But the seed of growth had been planted.
1983 -- More than 10,000 supporters arrived to watch a highly rated Kentucky team led by Sam Bowie, Melvin Turpin and
Kenny Walker. That team went on to a Final Four finish.
1984 -- Introductions were in order as a new troop of fresh-faced Wildcats took the floor after the graduations of Bowie,
Turpin, Dickey Beal, Tom Heitz and Jim Master.
1985 -- The Coliseum was rocking as first-year coach Eddie Sutton ushered in a new era.
1986 -- By the time the band started pounding out the fight song at 11:30 p.m., the fire marshal had already ordered the doors
closed at 9:50 p.m., leaving hundreds of fans outside. Inside, more than 12,500 fans caught the first glimpse of super-frosh Rex
Chapman and the Wildcats.
1989 -- Rick Pitino was introduced for the first time to a capacity crowd of more than 8,700 (the Coliseum capacity dropped
from 11,500 because of renovation). Fans were caught trying to sneak in the windows and any opening they could find.
Fans enjoyed a
high-flying entrance by Walter McCarty at 1995's "Catfan
1990 -- Lines began forming at 8:30 a.m. as nearly 10,000 fans helped Kentucky celebrate a "Big Blue New Year."
1991 -- Fans lined up 36 hours in advance as the Cats were "Back in the Spotlight," eligible for postseason play for the first
time in the Pitino era. Doors were closed 45 minutes after they opened, the earliest ever. All four recruits who attended Madness that
year -- Rodrick Rhodes, Jared Prickett, Tony Delk and Walter McCarty -- verbally committed to Kentucky the next week.
1992 -- "Big Boo Madness - A Monster Bash" fell on Halloween night since the NCAA had moved the start of practice back
to Nov. 1. Once again, doors closed only 45 minutes after they opened, as a capacity crowd watched Jamal Mashburn and
company usher in the new season.
1993 -- The first fans arrived on Wednesday -- three days early -- and at 12:01 a.m. on Oct. 29, the Cats were "Rockin' after
Midnight" as a popular senior foursome -- Travis Ford, Rodney Dent, Jeff Brassow and Gimel Martinez -- led the 1993-94 team
1994 -- The father and son combination of Robert and Ronald Vallandingham of Smithland, Ky., formerly of New Albany,
Ind., arrived on Oct. 10 -- a full five days early. Coach Pitino was the headline attraction. Playing to the theme "Born To Be Wild,"
Pitino arrived in the gym dressed in leather driving a Harley-Davidson motorcycle.
1995 -- Wally Clark of Lexington was determined to be "first in line" and arrived 17 days early. The preseason No. 1 team in
the nation was introduced with the premier of "Cat Fan Forever." Seniors Walter McCarty and Tony Delk swooped down on ropes
from high above dressed as "Cat"man and Robin.
1996 -- Clark parked himself by the front door on Sept. 10, a full 38 days prior to Big Blue Madness. In the pre-Madness
celebration, the "Back to Tradition" theme honored the championship teams, including the defending national champions, as well as
Coach Tubby Smith
makes his Kentucky debut in 1997, his first season as
head coach of the eventual National Champs.
1997 -- Tickets were passed out five days early a Monday morning and were gone within the first 75 minutes for "Late Night
with the Cats." It was the official introduction of Coach Tubby Smith to the Wildcat faithful, as he made his appearance high above
the floor in the second deck.
1998 The Wildcats, playing to the theme, "The Main Event," were dressed in their favorite professional wrestling outfits and
introduced down through the UK crowd. Later, they celebrated their NCAA Championship from the previous season by unveiling a
new championship banner on the Coliseum's "Wall of Champions."
1999 The tickets were again distributed a week early and vanished in 27 minutes for "America's Team of the Century."
Making a very special, and surprise, appearance was newly crowned Miss America, Heather Renee French, from Maysville, Ky. To
thunderous applause, Coach Tubby Smith escorted her to center court.
2000 Tickets were offered on the Internet for the first time and all 700 were distributed in 13 minutes. The remaining 8,000
were gone in 10 minutes to those waiting in line. "Survivor," a take-off from the popular television show that summer, was the theme
for the annual event.
"My Team" Theme
The University of Kentucky's marketing and promotions office has adopted a new theme for Kentucky basketball this season - My Team.
"We wanted to create a campaign that focuses on the sense of community, camaraderie, and connection that fans all over the
country have for this team - the Kentucky Wildcats," said Kyle Moats, UK's associate athletics director for marketing. "Just because
we have the greatest fans in the country and our games are sold out doesn't mean that we shouldn't market our team and all of its
The campaign is similar to the NBA's "I Love this Game" and the NFL's "Feel the Power."
"We know we've come up with something that is fun, captures our fan intensity, and that our program can be proud of," Moats
2000-01 Kentucky Numerical Roster
Dumfries, Va. (Oak Hill,
Edmonton, Ky. (Metcalfe
Macon, Ga. (Westside)
Alexandria Va. (DeMatha)
Athens, Ga. (Clarke Central)
Paintsville, Ky. (Paintsville)
Cincinnati, Ohio (Princeton)
Lexington, Ky. (Lexington
Compton, Calif. (Dominguez)
Huntsville, Ala. (Grissom)
Corbin, Ky. (Corbin/Hargrave)
Dakar, Senegal (Oak Hill,
Charlotte, N.C. (W. Charlotte/ForkUnion)
Richmond, Ky. (Madison Central)
* Suspended; can practice but
Jules Camara (ka-MAR-a), Marquis (mar-KWEES) Estill, Matt Heissenbuttel (HISE-en-butt-el), Tayshaun (TAE-shon) Prince
Oct. 14 Practice begins
Oct. 17 NBA Exhibition at Rupp Arena (Denver vs. Milwaukee)
Oct. 19 UK Media Day
Oct. 28 Blue-White Scrimmage ($5 general admission seats on sale at the UK box office)
Oct. 31 Halloween
Nov. 1 UK appears at SEC Media Days
Nov. 2 Exhibition game UK vs. E.A. Sports/California All-Stars (Rupp Arena)