About the Book


Wildcat Memories: Inside Stories from Kentucky Basketball Greats

Since the tenure of Coach Adolph Rupp, the University of Kentucky Wildcats men’s basketball team has been a virtual powerhouse, repeatedly dominating the Southeastern Conference and garnering eight national titles. UK basketball is a homegrown tradition for sports enthusiasts, fostering a community that thrives on the camaraderie of fandom and devotedly cheers for its players in both victory and defeat. The individuals who have coached, played for, and inspired the Wildcats are important figures in Kentucky history and continue to motivate future athletes and passionate fans.

Wildcat Memories illuminates the intimate connection between the UK basketball program and the commonwealth. Author Doug Brunk brings together some of the program’s greatest coaches, players, and personalities to reflect on Kentuckians who provided inspiration, guidance, and moral support during their tenure as Wildcats. Featuring personal essays and behind-the-scenes stories from Kentucky legends Wallace “Wah Wah” Jones, Dan Issel, Joe B. Hall, Kyle Macy, and Tubby Smith, as well as newcomers Patrick Patterson, Darius Miller, and John Wall, this heartfelt collection shares an inside look at what makes UK basketball extraordinary.

More than a book of inspiring stories, Wildcat Memories is a fun romp through UK basketball history. In candid firsthand accounts, the players and coaches discuss their incredible Kentucky support systems and offer a glimpse into the rarely seen personal side of life as a Wildcat.

Doug Brunk is an award-winning journalist who has written hundreds of articles for trade and consumer publications.

Praise for the Book:

“Kentucky is a special place, and there is nothing like Kentucky Basketball. Wildcat Memories allowed me to feel what Kentucky Basketball is really all about.”–Jay Bilas, ESPN

“The Wildcats are the greatest common denominator in our state—the one thing about which one can strike up a conversation almost anywhere or anytime. And Doug Brunk’s Wildcat Memories provides even more great stories to discuss. He covers a wide spectrum of eras for Big Blue fans both young and old, commemorating a program whose tradition is passed down from generation to generation.”—Tom Leach, Voice of the Wildcats

“Without a doubt, University of Kentucky basketball is the most unifying force in our diverse Commonwealth. Pride in the Wildcats’ great success is the one thing upon which we can all agree. Through the years, many great players have worn the blue and white and Doug Brunk, in his new book Wildcat Memories recounts many interesting personal details from the lives of some of the best in Wildcat lore. It is a must for serious members of Big Blue Nation.”–Tom Hammond, NBC Sports


One thought on “About the Book

  1. Even though I live in the heart of the Hoosier Nation in Bloomington, Indiana, I have long been a Kentucky basketball fan. In reading Wildcat Memories, I was reminded that character is critical in every aspect of life, and the players, coaches, equipment managers, university presidents, and even the governor of the Big Blue Nation saw that this was even more important than winning games. Fortunately at the University of Kentucky winning games go hand-in-hand with teaching character, so it was not an either/or case with the university.
    Wildcat Memories is a great book that transcends the sport and delves into the personal lives and memories of the star players and coaches. The stories here demonstrate that each of us has the opportunity to make the difference in the life of another – to the point of them recalling a specific event 30, 40 or 50 years earlier as being a touchstone moment. While the games against Tennessee, Indiana, UCLA, Texas Western and Duke are all important, they are just the stage of bigger things in life that carry on for years.
    Reading the book made me recall the moments in time not only on the court, but in my own life where a mentor made an impact on me, and I believe anyone who reads Wildcat Memories will have the same kind flashback. A well-researched and written book, Wildcat Memories is a great read for any UK fan, but also one that can be for a casual sports fan and even a non-basketball person who wants to read some great stories and reminisce. Doug Brunk has done a fantastic job setting the stage for UK great’s to tell their own stories in context to life in general, and not just on the court.

    Liked by 1 person

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