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Where were you?


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Where were you on December 29th, 2001?

I was fortunate enough to be in Rupp Arena with my sister. But, I didn’t see Rick walk out of the home team’s tunnel onto the court…I heard it. The second his Italian leather shoe met hardwood, the rage of the Big Blue Nation boiled over into emotional chaos. It’s a moment I won’t soon forget: men, women, children, and blue hairs alike, waving hands, throwing ice, shouting things not fit for public places. Finally, the boos turned into a hearty Tubby chant, and the game was on.

While the game itself did not match the pregame fervor (easy 82-62 victory for the Cats), the atmosphere in Rupp that day was one that is rarely matched. More than 24,000 people united to hate not only one rival, but one man who had done the unthinkable. The signs around the arena were priceless: “Cardinal Sin,” “Their Coach is Still a Crum,” and my favorite, “Joanne, we never liked you either.”

Even better than the moment he stepped on the court was the moment he started talking about it during the post-game press conference. Remember these gems?
– “Believe me I’ll be cheered in Freedom Hall. If I get booed in Freedom Hall then that’s when I’ll be in trouble. I’m the rival coach. They were good to me when I was here and that’s all I can ask from them. They’re not good to me now and they shouldn’t be.”
– “Some of the comments tonight, some people may deem cruel and ridiculous, but we laughed. We thought they were funny and hysterical. That’s what college basketball and entertainment are all about. You have to be able to laugh, you have to have some fun.”
– When asked why he entered through the home team’s tunnel rather than the visitor’s? “Because it was the shortest distance” to the Cardinal bench. Riiight. And Karen Sypher just accidentally sat in Rick’s lap that night at Porcini’s.

The reason I bring up these memories is not to dwell in the past. It is to explain why the Louisville game means more to me than any other game on the schedule. It’s why I grew up hating the Cards and Crum’s red blazer. It’s why I loved Rick when he was the coach at Kentucky. It’s why I loathed him when he took the job at Louisville. It’s why I pity him after the Karen Sypher ordeal. Finally, it’s why I probably shouldn’t watch the game in public on Friday.

So, let’s hear it, KSR nation…where were you on December 29th, 2001?

24 hours.

Article written by Mrs. Tyler Thompson

No, I will not make you a sandwich, but you can follow me on Twitter @MrsTylerKSR.

54 responses to “Where were you?”

  1. Red Rooster

    *Shrug* I don’t know, watching the game somewhere I guess

  2. Cliff Hawkins

    everyone remember my crossover?

  3. rodger3626

    I was booing the traitor, rat bastard from the comfort of my living room. My New Year hope for Pitino is continued scandal and humiliation for him and lOOieville university.

  4. KentuckyHouse

    I know EXACTLY where I was that day. A friend invited me to go watch the game at Varsity Blue in Lexington (it doesn’t exist anymore). On the way up, he mentioned he’d invited a girl he knew from work to watch it with us. I didn’t think anything about it, really. That is, until she walked in! Little did I know that I’d not only remember December 29th, 2001 as the day Benedict Rick returned, but it would also be the day I’d meet my future wife.

    We’ve been together since that day and she’s just as big a UK fan as I am. Man, what a great day that was!

  5. Lexington Conception

    “Finally, it’s why I probably shouldn’t watch the game in public on Friday.” I couldn’t agree more.

  6. echo 1

    I was in Afghanistan and didn’t know what the hell was going on. In fact, in many ways, I still don’t. Is there a big game coming up or something?

  7. BigBlueFan31

    I don’t remember where I watched it, but I remember spanking them like we will tomorrow, the next year and the next year, the next year, the next year…you get the picture.

  8. Kingery

    I was in the middle east (Bahrain to be exact) in the middle of the desert so I didn’t get to see any of it. Or that seasons. Thanks for filling me in though. Did not know about the whole walking out of home tunnel. What an ass.

  9. Big UK

    I was there.

  10. CalifCatFan

    Tyler has a sister? BTI said you were found on the doorstep in a baby basket. Now I am confused.

  11. WildcatsDominate

    UofL fans get so pretentious when we talk about how much we loathe him.

    Imagine if Roy Williams went to Duke to coach. Or if Tressel went to Michigan.

    Same level of being a traitor.

  12. MikeinLex

    Can’t watch the game in public either, don’t want to lose my job or end up in jail if its close.

  13. mocha

    i was in fiji on a college study abroad trip, beat that.

  14. PutThatOnDeAndreLiggins

    I’m with 13, a buddy of mine asked where I wanted to go to watch the game. I responded with the fact that I should probably watch it from home so I don’t get arrested.

  15. BG

    Best sign:
    Cardinal State Bird
    Pitino State Turd

  16. MikeinLex

    Louisville a 2 point favorite…..we get to be the underdogs!!

  17. tom

    Where was I on December 29th, 2001? Well, I can tell you that I was not hating Rick Pitino. All this bad mouthing him is, in my view, childish. He is a very important member of the Kentucky family and played a HUGE role in our heritage and returning UK to its rightful place in college basketball heirarchy.

    When I see him walk on as coach of the Cards, what I remember are the years between 92 and 97, the national championship, not playing one of his injured guys in the 97 championship because he didn’t want to take the chance of ruining the youngster’s future, laying the groundwork for Tubby and especially his remarks at the memorial service for Bill Keightly.

    Dislike him if you wish. But, personally, I am very grateful he came to UK and did what he did.

    All that being said…GO CATS> CRUSH THE BIRDS!!!

  18. tru blue

    I was watching it with my dad like i do every big game.Some family was over to visit but we stayed in the bedroom screaming jumping and slapping high fives the whole game.What made it even better was the family members was buckeye fans and living in ohio i hate them worse than louisville.go big blue

  19. steve

    Hating Louisville and Pitino but less than I do now.

  20. true blue

    #18.I wonder what gillispie wouldve done with anderson lol

  21. LIGHTENupFRANCIS

    Cards -2 …. I got paid today, looks like i just made 4 weeks pay!!!!!

  22. lexslamman

    Sometimes I still miss Tubby – then I remember that Calipari is our coach.

  23. tom

    21- good question! Enjoy the game. Didn’t Derek get in the game to shoot a free throw? Or is my memory playing tricks?

  24. Cliff Hawkins' crossover

    Joseph N’Sima is still reeling…

  25. john

    San Fransisco, CA for NYE. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get the bar I was at to put the game on until the second half. And that was only after I found a manager who was a basketball fan who didn’t realize the game was on. The bartenders and everyone else just looked at me like I was crazy when I asked them to put a basketball game on from Kentucky… I was never more aware that in much of the country no one really gives a damn about college basketball.

  26. kycatgirl

    4- you made me get all teary eyed man

  27. NBA league pass

    25) yeah he is. I took a dump in my pants when Hawkins smoked him on that move.

  28. CatSinceBirth

    Word has it that Karen Shypher will be doing the “V” (Ville) at midcourt tomorrow during the halftime show. She is to to be doing this while lying flat of her back. Pitino will be there to assist her. Don’t miss it as it will only last 15 seconds.

  29. dit-dit-dit-dah

    29 –
    funny one

  30. Harley Wells

    I was there booing with all I had!!

  31. Anonymous Ted Danson

    4 – great story

  32. Elisha Justice

    31- Me too…what?

  33. Sheriff Buford T. Justice

    29. Haha, nice

  34. GoBigBlue

    Great atmosphere, but I think you gave the blue hairs a bit too much credit:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jX73wPPLkr4

    Another favorite:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eV7kaQzy3zQ

  35. UKALAN

    I was in Section 240 Row S in seat 4. One of the best games I have been to at Rupp for sure. GO CATS…FREE ENES!

  36. UK Wildcat

    Recently a poster on the Louisville boards has taken classlessness to a new level. He has mocked the deaths of Mr. Wildcat and Calipari’s mother. I happen to have traced him by his username and now have in my possession his full name, work address, work phone numbers, facebook, myspace, youtube, and his business website. I ask you, should I post his personal information for all to see? If enough people agree that I should, I will on the late post tonight.

  37. kywoman

    I was in Rupp. I did not boo Pitino to this day, due to all he did for UK. However, I sure hate the SOB.

  38. kfund

    I was in the arena, watching the game. My favorite sign was also the Joann sign. I also liked with the UofL cheerleader busted her bum on the court when she missed a back flip.

  39. Ed

    I was at the game. My senior year at UK and I came back to school early from Xmas break to be there. I was on the 2nd to last row in the old (re: upper) student section.

  40. Jimmy Abbott

    I’m in this picture. Big, tall, pale white guy in the front with his hand raised. GD I was a fat bastard back then.

  41. shagarifan

    i was at a bar…for a short time before they threw me out for being to loud, drunk, etc. This year i will be on my couch teaching my one year old the finer points of hating loserville and why it’s never okay to have a line beard or neck tats.

  42. GetaLife

    Take your medicine uk wildcat. How pathetic is this fanbase to follow around some douche who makes off handed comments, suck it up nancyboy.

  43. BourbonBredCat81

    Rupp. ‘Nuff said.

    4/KentuckyHouse – Awesome story.

  44. Adam Chiles

    I think this was the day I had one of my best games in my short UK career.

  45. BlueFins

    Don’t miss him one bit. Like his recruiting at U of Smell, his began to fall off the last season or two at UK. Lost any respect that I had for him when he went to U of Smell (Coach K or Dean Smith would have died first before going to the other school. Hell, Denny would have never done it). The funny thing is that he degraded UL while at UK, and the goobers still wanted him. Obviously, they have no respect for their program (Sypher). He’s done a fine job at UL, one whole final 4. And he’s been there longer than UK. Keep him, he’s a great ambassador for your program, and Hair Club for Men.

  46. Chauncey Billups

    I was somewhere slowly becoming an NBA All-Star after RickyP ruined his chances of winning in Boston by trading me…for Kenny Anderson.

  47. GMo

    I know this post is old now, but I was in my row N 2nd level seats at Rupp booing as loud as I could. Great day.

  48. Catindaville

    I was listening to the game over the Internet in Paris, France. Great times!

  49. hoganlegdrop

    i was getting married. One of the groomsmen brought a tv and “sodas” from home. We ended up with about 20 people in the room crowded around that tv. Go Cats

  50. Rick Pitino

    Pretending, just for a minute, that I had never left Camelot. I thought if I came out the UK entrance that they might let me have my old job back. Didn’t work.

  51. Dave Lesshafft

    That is me! – I am holding up the Cardinal Sin sign. My buddies are holding up the other signs!

  52. Luke

    In Rupp Arena

  53. BigBlue11

    At the game, 15 rows up behind the basket. Great game to be at!!!!