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Is the 900-Win Marker Attainable at Kentucky?

If LeBron had any eligibility left, I would say “yes.”

You may have read yesterday that Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim reached the 900-win marker last night against the Detroit Titans.  The 900-Club is a pretty exclusive group, with only three members so far: Bobby Knight, Coach K, and now Boeheim.  With more games per season now than ever (teams and TV stations have to make their money, after all), it’s worth asking: will Kentucky ever have a coach reach the 900 win marker?

Short answer: probably not.

The closest any UK coach has gotten, as you might have guessed, is Adolph Rupp, who amassed a very healthy 876 wins in 41 years.  With 190 losses to go along with that, he averaged 26 games per season.  Rupp might have gotten his 900th win if teams then simply played more games.  In his first three seasons, Cal averaged 38.67 games, with an 88% win record.  Averaging 34 wins in those seasons, Cal would need to maintain that ridiculously high pace for… oh, only twenty-six-and-a-half years to get 900 wins at Kentucky.  Even if you consider the games he’s won elsewhere, like Memphis and UMass, that puts his total at 554; even then, should he average 34 wins/year (including this season), it would still take over ten more years to eclipse the 900 mark.

And that, as we know, probably isn’t going to happen.  Not with Cal.  As he told Andy Katz and ESPN magazine earlier this month:  “This [Kentucky] is a 10-year run.  I’m not doing it for numbers or to pass everyone’s win record.”  And, okay, so it might not happen with Cal; but why can’t it happen with another coach on down the line?

Because Cal’s made Kentucky into one of the hardest jobs around.  It’s been by far the most rewarding job around, too, but that doesn’t mean it’s not hard.  Cal, in order to keep the program at unprecedented levels of recruiting, spends a ton of time on the road (with his salad-filled tupperware, of course).  “Camp Cal,” as it’s come to be known, sounds like as much work for the coach as it does for the players involved.  And if Kentucky basketball never stops, then there’s no such thing as an offseason.  That’s just something other schools have, like NIT banners and Christian Watford memorials.

The Kentucky head coach position, for all its prestige (and there is a lot), simply is not one that can be held for decades at a time, like in Rupp’s day.  Boeheim has obviously been a great coach at Syracuse during his decades there.  But really consider: could he have lasted as long in Lexington?  Probably not.  Not because the fans are vicious, or the work uninspiring; it’s just a hard job.

So enjoy the wins as they come, and appreciate each season individually.  The coaches, and the players, would probably ask you to do the same.

Article written by Corey Nichols

41 Comments for Is the 900-Win Marker Attainable at Kentucky?

  1. justafish2002
    9:04 am December 18, 2012 Permalink

    For Cal himself to win 900 games, it’d take about 11.5 seasons from today

  2. tom
    9:07 am December 18, 2012 Permalink

    900 wins is a tremendous accomplishment for ANY coach and more so for these coaches who acheived the milestone at their level.

  3. Ryan D
    9:15 am December 18, 2012 Permalink

    The funny thing is outta all the 900 win coaches, I would only take Coach K. BTW were only down 40 to alabama on the video game cover keep voting

  4. Bob Sugar
    9:16 am December 18, 2012 Permalink

    To have a coach that wins 900+ at one school would require the coach himself to be bigger than the program. The coach can never be bigger than the program at Kentucky; that is what separates Kentucky, and to some degree Kansas and North Carolina, from UCLA, Duke and Indiana.

  5. P-Daddy
    9:18 am December 18, 2012 Permalink

    it burns when i pee

  6. hugh jorgan
    9:24 am December 18, 2012 Permalink

    why are my friend barn’s comments being blocked on here for nearly 2 weeks?

  7. Corey = Idiot
    9:27 am December 18, 2012 Permalink

    Good shot at IU, but they have five NCAA titles, not NIT banners.

  8. HeshimuEvans'2ndGradeTeacher
    9:35 am December 18, 2012 Permalink

    What if Pitino would have stayed?

  9. HeshimuEvans'2ndGradeTeacher
    9:38 am December 18, 2012 Permalink

    Anyone see the Kate Utpon video that was kicked off youtube? wow!

  10. Corey's Thought Process
    9:42 am December 18, 2012 Permalink

    I-don’t-know-how-to-consistently-use-hyphens-or-dashes; I’d-better-use-them-at-my-whim-to-make-myself-look-intelligent.

  11. Kevin C.
    9:49 am December 18, 2012 Permalink

    Boeheim, like Coach K, fattened up yearly on scrub teams…including the overrated Big Least teams. I don’t care about 900…just 9…and 10…and 11…etc.

  12. SexnNursinHomes
    9:52 am December 18, 2012 Permalink

    9- No. But you posting a link to it would be mighty effing cool. May rub one out in the office bathroom if it’s good enough.

  13. Joe Mama
    9:53 am December 18, 2012 Permalink

    No way possible. Cal won a championship LAST SEASON. People are already saying he can’t coach because of this years team. Too many uneducated folks to last that long here.

  14. HeshimuEvans'2ndGradeTeacher
    9:58 am December 18, 2012 Permalink

    #12 – I’m at work or I would. Just saw it last night, picture her jumping around in bikinis and her in a wet t-shirt to finish it off. I’ll brb, heading to the head….

  15. SexnNursinHomes
    10:00 am December 18, 2012 Permalink

    14- hahaha!

    Now on a quest..

  16. BBN
    10:01 am December 18, 2012 Permalink

    An important point about Adolph Rupp that the media never mentions is that he was forced to retire early. The state of Kentucky had a mandatory retirement age for state employees. If Rupp had coached into his 70’s like others have, Coack K would still be chasing his wins record.

  17. bloobloodcat
    10:02 am December 18, 2012 Permalink

    11) I would hardly call the Big East a bunch of scrub teams. And have you looked at who we’ve played lately? Portland, Lipscomb, Samford… what do you call them?

  18. Jesco White
    10:02 am December 18, 2012 Permalink

    Its really not about the school or the job. Its silly to think that because we are Kentucky that it couldn’t ever happen. Its about this day and age. Someone like Pitino would be on track right now had he stayed around (and not had any major problems), Rupp did it as well. I don’t think you’ll ever see another coach get to that level of wins at one school ever again because the nature of the job has changed. Much more money involved and much less room for bad seasons.

    I’m not sure this post makes much sense at all. If you think just because Coach Cal has recruiting success and talks about “Camp Cal” that we are working so much harder than other Division 1 teams, you’re mistaken. We are just more talented and have better resources/coaches/admin/etc. Also, not everyone has the private jet and unlimited recruiting resources that Cal enjoys. I hate Indiana but are you suggesting “Kentucky Basketball Never Stops” but Indiana basketball does. Do we have different off seasons? Do those guys not work out in the summer? I’m just so confused by where you took this post. D+

  19. Paul in Frankfort
    10:02 am December 18, 2012 Permalink

    Touchy issue I know.. but aren’t most of Cal’s wins at UMASS and Memphis vacated?

  20. atlas
    10:07 am December 18, 2012 Permalink

    Where is the show thread?

  21. justafish2002
    10:07 am December 18, 2012 Permalink

    show thread is NOT rolling

  22. poppycat
    10:09 am December 18, 2012 Permalink

    What would Rupp’s W total have been if his teams had played 30/35 games per year like today’s teams. In my mind, he’s still the leader.

  23. BlueFins
    10:11 am December 18, 2012 Permalink

    A nice start would be a show thread

  24. Abe Lincoln's Ghost
    10:15 am December 18, 2012 Permalink

    I just rolled over in my grave because #22 still thinks that racist is the leader.

  25. Jesco White
    10:15 am December 18, 2012 Permalink

  26. justafish2002
    10:16 am December 18, 2012 Permalink

    I have the stream, I want the show thread

  27. Ryan Harrow's Flu Bug
    10:16 am December 18, 2012 Permalink

    LOL Good job JESCO!

  28. Wreck it Ralph
    10:17 am December 18, 2012 Permalink

    Joe b. hall > boeheim

  29. Porcino's
    10:18 am December 18, 2012 Permalink

    Some of us are behind a firewall that blocks WKJK and iheart, and the widget is the only way we can listen to the show.

  30. HeshimuEvans'2ndGradeTeacher
    10:26 am December 18, 2012 Permalink

    #15 – Here’s a little help with your quest: The name of the video is, The Many Talents of Kate Upton. Try binging it, youtube took it down already

  31. Joe Mama
    10:26 am December 18, 2012 Permalink

    You guys actually listen to the show? I thought the show was the comments on the website, far more entertaining than hearing Jones spew mouth diarrhea.

  32. SexnNursinHomes
    10:34 am December 18, 2012 Permalink

    30- Holy schnikies. I just saved that. Thanks for that. That swimming pool scene was awesome. One fine piece of female meat she is.. damn nation.

  33. joebfanclub
    10:48 am December 18, 2012 Permalink

    No one may want to admit this….but if Ricky P. would have stayed at UK……….never went to the NBA and made his $$$….he would easily have had 900+ wins staying at UK……LOL…….

  34. Al B. Frank
    11:08 am December 18, 2012 Permalink

    24- I just rolled my eyes because some uninformed people are still accusing Rupp of being a racist. Read the article on the following link and then form your opinion: Adolph Rupp was a coach over a span of time when the society in America made dramatic changes. Many basketball teams in the South did not have black players on their rosters or admit black students into their institutions. The Southeastern Conference especially had many member schools so opposed to integration that some schools refused to compete against other schools with black players. Mississippi State at one time had to sneak out of town under the cover of darkness to play in the NCAA Tournament. (This, after ignoring bids in earlier years.)

    During that time, Rupp was playing all comers around the country, white or black. He often took his team to Chicago or New York to play against some of the powerhouse collegiate teams with black players. He recruited black players, including Wes Unseld, Butch Beard and Jim McDaniels, but it was a difficult undertaking to convince a black player to come to Kentucky. Doing so, he would be the focal point in college basketball, as at that time Kentucky was the premier basketball dynasty. A black player would be subjected to the worst taunts and slurs imaginable during road games at places such as Oxford and Starkville Mississippi, Athens Georgia, Baton Rouge Louisiana etc. (Not to mention the aspect of arranging lodging and meals in the segregated South.) Nevertheless, there were a number of people who claimed that Rupp did not recruit these players or when he did, Rupp didn’t recruit them hard enough.

    When Rupp finally did sign Tom Payne in 1969, Kentucky was one of the early SEC schools (starting with Vanderbilt with Perry Wallace, followed by Auburn with Henry Harris, Alabama with Wendell Hudson) to sign a black player. The first black basketball player in the SEC was Perry Wallace (from Nashville and valedictorian of his senior class at all-black Pearl High School) at Vanderbilt, who was also recruited by Kentucky.

  35. GatorHater99
    11:28 am December 18, 2012 Permalink

    Only if the NCAA doesn’t come calling lol. Cal is a sleaze.

  36. Rupps Racists
    12:53 pm December 18, 2012 Permalink

    Well#34 I watched Glory Road and he’s racist.

  37. UkCatintheBoro
    1:24 pm December 18, 2012 Permalink

    Winning percentage way greater than number of wins.

  38. HereKittyKitty
    1:39 pm December 18, 2012 Permalink

    Kryzewski .763
    Knight .709
    Boeheim .747
    Smith .776
    RUPP .822
    Wooden .804 winning percentage Rupp only lost 190 games…beat that !!!

  39. huh?
    2:35 pm December 18, 2012 Permalink

    Maybe I’m not following the logic or missing something, but what exactly is being questioned? Getting to 900 career wins or 900 wins at 1 school? Because Boeheim is the only one of the 3 if I’m not mistaken, to hit 900 with the same school. Cal can get to 900 for his career; with UK, obviously probably not.

    Just seems like apples and oranges the way the ‘article’ is written.

  40. Tom Blevins
    2:40 pm December 18, 2012 Permalink

    36. Rupp recieved over 100 death threats after he tried to integrate the SEC back in the ’50s. He arranged for Jim Tucker to get a scholarship to Duquesne University in that same decade. Kentucky wouldn’t allow him to offer a black player a scholarship atr that time, or Mr. Tucker would have been a Wildcat. Rupp had a black player on his high school team in Illinois as early as 1927.

  41. GapToothDanny
    2:47 pm December 18, 2012 Permalink

    16.) Rupp retired at 72. Jim Boeheim is 68.