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On this day in Wildcat history

April 1st may just be a day for pulling pranks to some, but in the history of Kentucky basketball there have been some pretty big happenings on the first day of the fourth month. In fact, April 1st has given the Big Blue Nation two of its most memorable days of the past two decades, so on this April Fools’ Day let’s look back to two of the April 1’s that were:

April 1st, 1996

On this day 16 years ago, Kentucky officially got all the way back to the top of college basketball after an ugly scandal and 18 years without a national title. The ’96 Cats are in the conversation as one of the best college basketball teams ever assembled, and rolled past Syracuse on this day in 1996 to claim the school’s 6th national championship. Tony Delk finished with 24 points and hit 7 three-pointers to tie a championship game record, while Ron Mercer posted 20 and Derek Anderson and Antoine Walker scored 11 apiece. What were you doing 16 years ago today? You were watching these last two minutes of the Cats’ national title:

April 1st, 2009

A little fresher in our memories, and important in a different way, was the day that Kentucky introduced John Calipari as its next head basketball coach. We all knew the news before April 1st, but it wasn’t until Cal was actually in front of the UK backdrop that it hit us what was about to begin. Since then it’s been a climb to where Kentucky sits now, one win away from a national championship. Three years ago today he said that he wanted to return Kentucky to the top of college basketball, and a little over 24 hours from now he’ll have a chance to do just that. Here’s the first part of Cal’s first press conference as Kentucky’s coach:

Hopefully tomorrow will make its own place in the Big Blue’s storied history.

Article written by Hunter Campbell

I used to write here.

22 Comments for On this day in Wildcat history

  1. Jason
    6:27 pm April 1, 2012 Permalink

    Im confident that Kentucky will make history tomorrow. Big Blue Nation wants Eight so bad we can taste it!

  2. 00BBN00
    6:33 pm April 1, 2012 Permalink

    CBS sign for tomorrow night: Cal Beats Self

  3. Carl
    6:36 pm April 1, 2012 Permalink

    I knew I was never comfortable til the very end now I remember why. We missed front end of the bonus 3 times :\. That was a skinny bunch, Anderson and Delk both look like tooth picks. Ah the good old days :). From a physical stature the 2012 version looks much stronger.

  4. JustThinking
    6:52 pm April 1, 2012 Permalink

    At that time, after watching that game, no one could have imagined that it would still be Pitino’s only Championship 16 years later.

  5. Blindsided
    6:57 pm April 1, 2012 Permalink

    Is that Donovan McNabb at the 5:36 mark sitting in the middle? Sure looks like him.

  6. the dykster
    6:58 pm April 1, 2012 Permalink

    I really miss Billy Packer…NOT.

  7. Your Comment is Awaiting Moderation
    7:08 pm April 1, 2012 Permalink

    i believe D.McNabb did in fact play on the ‘Cuse basketball team as well

  8. Owensboro CatFan
    7:09 pm April 1, 2012 Permalink

    That W over UofL and IU sure did cure KSR of the trolls.

  9. Halfwaykyfan
    7:13 pm April 1, 2012 Permalink

    Win or lose, the last three years have been exciting and FUN!!!!!!!

  10. catfan
    7:17 pm April 1, 2012 Permalink

    #7 you would be correct.

  11. Another Perspective
    7:18 pm April 1, 2012 Permalink

    Anyone know when they announce the Naismith POY?

  12. bsquadleader
    7:26 pm April 1, 2012 Permalink

    @11 wondering the same thing. cant find the time on their website though

  13. Don't forget about him
    7:27 pm April 1, 2012 Permalink

    That was a great play by Pope with a minute to go, the steal and then the hit ahead!

  14. John Ellis
    7:38 pm April 1, 2012 Permalink

    I remember that press conference. I think he’s backed on making his son the point guard at UK. My father was appalled at his salary – he remembered what Rupp’s was.

  15. strange brew
    7:43 pm April 1, 2012 Permalink

    In 1996 I was 14. My friend Chris was spending the night at my house. Him, my dad and I watched UK cut down the nets.

  16. DT in DC
    7:50 pm April 1, 2012 Permalink

    I was a Senior at UK and lucky enough to win the student lottery for tickets! Remember, this was the last time the Final Four was played in a non-Dome (at least that’s my memory), so those tickets were a PREMIUM! I remember people offering me $5K for my tickets. To this day, I’m glad I didn’t take the money and instead was there to see the ‘Cats cut down the nets. Most bitchin’ weekend EVER!

  17. ShelbyCatFan
    7:53 pm April 1, 2012 Permalink

    Love when he says in the video “when we ge it right we’re number 1, gettin #1 seeds, and we’re makin final fours…. When we get it right.”.

    Well coach I’ll go out on a limb and say you’ve definitely gotten it rite.
    GO CATS!!!

  18. Kevin
    7:55 pm April 1, 2012 Permalink

    Wow. Cal has aged quite a bit in three years. This job takes a toll.

  19. Kevin
    8:16 pm April 1, 2012 Permalink

    After 16 years, im still wondering …… WTF was Winston Bennett thinking wearing that pin striped suit.

  20. WildScott
    8:25 pm April 1, 2012 Permalink

    Leading up to Cal’s hiring, I remember watching the “Door” for hours!

  21. Bernie Fine sucks
    8:32 pm April 1, 2012 Permalink

    After I made my name I realized it wasnt appropriate.

    7:26 am April 2, 2012 Permalink

    Oh………….How far we have come since Groucho chased the drunk into the craft center