Forty Minutes to Glory: Inside the Kentucky Wildcats' 1978 Championship Season

Forty Minutes to Glory: Inside the Kentucky Wildcats' 1978 Championship Season


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"Winning a national title... winning it at Kentucky? There's nothing like it. You're always going to be remembered." — Truman Claytor, member of UK's 1977—1978 NCAA National Championship team

Joe B. Hall, Jack "Goose" Givens, Rick Robey, and Kyle Macy — these names occupy a place of honor in Rupp Arena, home of the "greatest tradition in the history of college basketball." The team and coaches who led the University of Kentucky Wildcats to their 94—88 victory over the Duke Blue Devils in the 1978 national championship game are legendary. Yet the full, behind-the-scenes story of this team's incredible redemptive season has remained untold until now.

In Forty Minutes to Glory, Doug Brunk presents an inside account of this celebrated squad and their championship season from summer pick-up games to the net-cutting ceremony in St. Louis. Brunk interviewed every surviving player, coach, and student manager from the 1977—1978 team and he shares unbelievable tales, such as how James Lee's father talked him out of quitting. Brunk also reveals heart-wrenching moments, recounting the time when Jay Shidler traveled 150 miles to visit his seriously ill mother on the eve of the national semifinals game against Arkansas and how Scott Courts coped with his father's death just days before the championship game against Duke.

Published to coincide with the fortieth anniversary of the national championship victory, Forty Minutes to Glory invites the Big Blue Nation to relive a special season. Featuring chapters by Jack Givens and Coach Hall, this engaging book is a fitting tribute to one of the most talented and determined teams ever to compete on the hardwood.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780813175201
Publisher: University Press of Kentucky
Publication date: 03/09/2018
Pages: 224
Sales rank: 788,070
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Doug Brunk is an award-winning journalist who has written hundreds of articles for trade and consumer publications. He is the author of Wildcat Memories: Inside Stories from Kentucky Basketball Greats.

Table of Contents

Foreword xiii

Foreword xix

Author's Note xxii

Introduction 1

1 The Tone Is Set 9

2 Grueling Practices 23

3 Farewell to Rupp 37

4 Christening Wildcat Lodge 55

5 A Cold Snap and a Loss 65

6 Navigating the "Pressure Cooker" 75

7 Tourney Time 89

8 Meet Me in St. Louis 97

9 Forty Minutes to Glory 107

10 Extraordinary Reception 125

11 Beyond the Title 135

12 A Shackle-Breaking Experience 147

13 The Art of Being Prepared 151

14 A Lesson in the Value of Hard Work 155

15 A Storybook Ending 161

Acknowledgments 165

Appendix 1 St. Louis and Five Smooth Stones Rev. 169

Appendix 2 Senate Resolution 427: A Commendation for the Wildcats 173

About the Author 177

Notes 179

Index 185

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"The Big Blue Nation knows how much respect and admiration I have for Coach Hall and what he was able to do for this program and this university. To read the details of that magical 1978 national championship run and get a true understanding of what Coach Hall meant to his players, of how that team came together, and what that team meant to this state was incredible. It is an educational and compelling read — one every diehard Kentucky basketball fan should make sure they pick up." — John Calipari, head coach, University of Kentucky men's basketball team

"Doug Brunk has done it again. Forty Minutes to Glory is a book every Big Blue fan will want to include in their library. It chronicles the great 1978 NCAA Championship team and some of the best players to wear the blue and white. Also, Coach Joe B. Hall finally gets the credit he deserves for the impossible task of replacing Hall of Fame coach Adolph Rupp. Keep them coming, Doug!" — Dan Issel, former University of Kentucky All-American and retired coach of the Denver Nuggets

"So much happened to the 1977—1978 Kentucky basketball team that Coach Joe B. Hall called it 'a season without celebration.' That label led many to believe the immense pressure to win it all vacuumed the fun out of the game. But it was far more complicated, and Doug Brunk's exhaustive research gives us the opportunity to understand everything Hall and his players endured on the way to the NCAA Championship." — Mike DeCourcy, college basketball columnist, Sporting News, and member of the US Basketball Writers Association Hall of Fame

"Whenever you sit down to write a book about a championship team several words emerge that can universally apply to all of them — determination, sacrifice, commitment, focus, shared goals, and hard work are but a few. Doug Brunk has captured these words and even more in this book about one of Kentucky's greatest teams, the 1977—1978 National Champion Wildcats. If you are a part of the Big Blue Nation or just a basketball fan, you will enjoy the anecdotes and stories of a team that had tremendous pressure on them to win the national title. Their journey through the season culminating with a win over Duke in the championship game gives you a good historical perspective and is great reading." — Larry Conley, member of Kentucky's 1966 national runner-up team known as "Rupp's Runts," and former college basketball broadcaster

"Kentucky's 1978 national championship season has been described as a season without celebration. But Doug Brunk's book Forty Minutes to Glory paints a different picture of a group of talented players who dedicated themselves to achieving a special goal before the season ever started. There is a reason Kentucky teams are so beloved by their passionate fan base and why their fans can quote you chapter and verse on the great moments in the program's story. The names of Kyle Macy, Rick Robey, Goose Givens, Mike Phillips, James Lee, and Jay Shidler will always be beloved by the Big Blue Nation for their talent and work ethic. Brunk does a great job bringing out their personalities and their resolve to reach Olympian heights under Joe B. Hall, who coached the Cats' first national title since 1958 and put the Cats back in their rightful place as the No. 1 program in college basketball. After reading this book, it's hard not to fall in love with them." — Dick "Hoops" Weiss, former college basketball writer for the Philadelphia Daily News and New York Daily News and member of the US Basketball Writers Association Hall of Fame

"What a great read for all Kentucky and basketball fans, young and old, everywhere. I was in St. Louis for the semifinals and there the day of the finals and the atmosphere was electric. The dramatic accounts from the players are riveting and the pressures they all felt only served to heighten the drama of the game so aptly described in this book. Expectations of Kentucky winning the championship were huge, but expectations are not results. You have to play the game, and play the game they did. Now, Jack Givens, James Lee, Rick Robey, Mike Phillips, Truman Claytor, and Dwane Casey are legends. There were some great additions to that team but none so valuable as Kyle Macy — one of the best floor generals in UK history. Kentucky had everything. Coaching, size, speed, the best bench in the country, toughness, shooting, defense, and more shooting. They had an abundance of everything, including a killer instinct. They looked like choirboys and played like wildcats!" — Reggie Warford, point guard for the University of Kentucky men's basketball team, 1972—1976

"I really enjoyed this book on the 1978 NCAA champs — a team that seemed to be misunderstood in many ways. Forty Minutes to Glory shines a different light on their march to the championship. They were a terrific team coached by the only man who could have gotten them to the finish line!" — Mike Pratt, forward for the University of Kentucky men's basketball team, 1967—1970, and broadcast analyst for the UK Radio Network

"What a great book! The author puts you in the team huddle with the 1978 National Champs. The UK basketball nostalgia and insights are entertaining. Who knew this team would be so close but have multiple altercations during their practices!" — Roger Harden, point guard for the University of Kentucky men's basketball team, 1982—1986

"What a great book for all Wildcat fans. A fun and fast read for all ages, it contains detailed insights and takes you behind the scenes of a historic season!" — Jim Master, shooting guard for the University of Kentucky men's basketball team, 1980—1984

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