The name “Golden Spike” is derived from the legendary nails, or “spikes,” that were part of the old floors at Alumni Gym and Memorial Coliseum. The spikes represented significant shots in UK history, perhaps none more memorable than Vernon Hatton’s 47-foot heave against Temple in 1957 that eventually led to a triple overtime win over the Owls.
Some day I would like to see a GOLDEN SPIKE driven into the floor at Rupp Arena for something fantastic that one of our Wildcats accomplishes on the floor in our storied building.
This description seems partially inaccurate. There’s no mention of a nail being driven into the floor in the Philidephia Inquirer’s write-up of the 1957 Temple game. In the 1938 Marquette game, Joe (Red) Hagan hit a game-winning jumper. After the game, Kentucky Governor A.B. Chandler drove a nail into the floor at the location of Hagan’s shot. There’s no other online records that show that other shots were marked by a nail in the floor in Alumni Gym, Memorial Coliseum or in Rupp. If UKAA has records of nails being used, hopefully we’ll see more about it online.
(Update by Fake Gimel: reader ukcatfan88 mentions that in Herald-Leader’s “Century of Kentucky Basketball” insert from 2003, a photo shows Coach Rupp placing a nail at the spot where Ralph Beard hit a 54-foot shot against Tennessee on Feb. 14, 1948. Submit in the comments more previous nails from Alumni Gym or Memorial and I’ll gladly keep proving how worthless it is to Google this info.)
While it would be awesome to reward future amazing and/or important shots, perhaps there should be some retroactively rewarded spikes nailed into the Rupp Arena floor. Surely the enlightened minds of Kentucky Sports Radio and the Big Blue Nation(tm) can come up with at least 5 Golden Spike-worthy shots of the Rupp Arena era. In the comments, list as many Spike-able shots you can remember. Remember that the shot must occur in a game held in Rupp Arena. The shots can be game-winners, crucial free throws, or momentum-killing daggers.
And no, you can’t nominate all of Tayshaun’s 5 3-pointers against UNC. Tayshaun’s 5th 3-pointer is automatically nominated:
(Okay, I’ll be honest. I embedded this video mainly because the MIDI music made me laugh. And the girl in the S shirt has some C’s.)
I’ll run through the comments next Friday and count up all the nominations. Get to spikin’! And keep an eye on Cal’s Golden Spike section. Maybe Coach Cal can score an interview with Real Gimel.