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September 18, 2012The old Wildcat Lodge bore Joe B. Hall's name. The new one will feature his likeness.
Kentucky on Tuesday unveiled a statue of its former basketball coach outside the new Wildcat Coach Lodge, the dorm that houses its men's basketball team.
The 400-pound bronze likeness of Hall - who coached UK to the 1978 NCAA title - sits next to a pair of bronze bench chairs, a program rolled up in his fist.
"No one has a speech for the unveiling of a statue of them," Hall said Tuesday. "The pigeons will appreciate it."
The statue, sculpted by J. Brett Grill, is based on photos of Hall taken between 1972 and 1984.
"Should've got a younger picture," Hall joked.
In introducing Hall, UK coach John Calipari saluted him for the challenge of succeeding legendary Wildcats coach Adolph Rupp. Calipari noted that the coaches who followed John Wooden at UCLA, Paul "Bear" Bryant at Alabama, Vince Lombardi with the Green Bay Packers and Phog Allen at Kansas failed to live up to their predecessors.
"No one that followed those other coaches won championships," Calipari said. "No one. There's one guy. And we're here with him today."
The statue was intended to salute Hall for his contributions in helping bring about the idea of Wildcat Lodge. UK basketball players until this season lived in the Joe B. Hall Wildcat Lodge. The new Wildcat Coal Lodge opened over the summer.
Hall's statue outside the new Lodge was designed so that fans can sit in the bench chairs and have their picture taken with the former coach's bronze likeness.
Hall was among the first to pose with it on Tuesday. Asked what he'd tell his younger Self, Hall said, "I'd tell him to find an easier job."
"You poor soul," Hall said as he sat next to the statue. "Talk about stress. (Former UK coach Billy) Gillispie doesn't know anything about stress."