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Shively: Important man in history of UK athletics
'Shive' ushered in much growth as UK A.D.
One of the most influential persons in the history of University of Kentucky athletics. Adolph Rupp notwithstanding, was Bernie A. Shively. who came to UK in 1927 as an assistant football and head track coach and
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Cats' Pause Columnist
later served as Wildcat athletics director from 1938 until his death in December 1967.
During his 29-year reign as head of the department, "Shive" directly supervised doubling of the seating capacity of the football stadium, construction of a spacious sports center to provide top facilities for spring sports and football practice, and moving the basketball team into Memorial Coliseum, considered the finest collegiate basketball arena in the nation upon its completion in 1951. Shively also played a major role in bringing Paul "Bear" Bryant to UK as football coach in 1946, and was a key figure in promoting harmony between Bryant and the equally strong-willed Rupp.
A native of Oliver. 111.. Shively was fresh off the campus of the University of Illinois when he came to UK as line coach on the staff of former Illini teammate Harry Gamage. who had just replaced Fred J. Murphy as Wildcat football coach.
Although he was an outstanding backfield man and track star at Paris (III.) High School. Shively didn't attract the serious attention of college scouts: instead, he entered Illinois on his own and tried out for the football team, becoming a great guard under Bob Zuppke on Illini teams made famous by the immortal Red Grange.
Shively played two years with Grange, running interference for the "Galloping Ghost." and made All-American in 1926 despite a bad knee that handicapped his playing. He also won the heavyweight wrestling championship of the Big Ten.
?WHEN CHET WYNNE REPLACED GAMAGE
as UK football coach and S.A. "Daddy" Boles as athletics director in 1934, Shively. who held the rank of associate professor, transferred to the Department of Physical Education. He kept his contact with the athletics department by continuing to coach track until 1936.
After Wynne won only 20 of 39 football games during his four-year tenure at UK, the Athletics Council failed to renew his contract and approached Rupp about assuming the duties of athletics director. Rupp turned down the offer, recommending Shively for the job.
"I felt Shive would be neutral in every respect," Rupp said several years later. "In the meantime, I told him I was pretty sure they were going to offer him the job and he should take it. I told him that we would always get along and I would do all that I could to help him.
"In those days, the board didn't fool around the way they do now for months and months hunting an athletics director. They announced Shive's appointment in less than 24 hours. Then they decided to get a football coach from within the state high school ranks. They hired A.D. "Ab" Kirwan of Louisville Manual, who had been a fine player for us and also was an excellent student who later was considered one of the brightest professors on the campus and eventually ended up as president of thtj university."
Shively assisted Kirwan until 1943, when UK discontinued football during that war year. Then he took over as head coach when the sport was renewed in 1945, compiling a 2-8 record as UK president Dr. Herman Lee
UK president Dr. Herman Lee Donovan, left, athletics director Bernie Shively and Adolph Rupp are all smiles as Rupp signs a 10-year contract as UK basketball coach in 1947.
Donovan set in motion plans to form an athletics association that would pave the way for the hiring of a top-notch football coach.
?DURING SHIVELY'S REIGN AS A.D., Wildcat basketball and football teams, under the tutelage of Bryant and Rupp. were so successful that the strip of Euclid Avenue from South Limestone to Rose Street was renamed "Avenue of Champions."
While compiling a record number of victories during that period, the basketball Wildcats won four NCAA, one NIT, five Sugar Bowl and 19 SEC championships. They also won the collegiate bracket of the Olympic-Trials, sending five players and Rupp to gold medal victories in the 1948 Olympics.
After the university sat out the 1952-53 basketball season under SEC and NCAA suspension. Shively and Rupp started the University of Kentucky Invitational Tournament, which was designed as a move to bring basketball back to the campus and away from such big gambling arenas as Madison Square Garden. The Wildcats defeated Duke and La Salle for the championship of the first UKIT, which was held in December 1953. The annual Christmas tournament proved so popular that its format soon was copied by other schools, including many top basketball powers that had participated in early UKITs. As a result, the university started selecting available foes on a regional basis, getting away from the early concept of taking teams that had finished high in the national rankings or NCAA tournament play.
During Shively's final full basketball season at UK. the 1966 Rupp's Runts team finished 27-2, losing only to Tennesssee at Knoxville and to Texas Western in the NCAA championship game at College Park. Md. The Runts, one of UK's most popular teams, also won the In-(Continued on page 38)
Former UK footballer Mur-phree coached Shively in high school.
While in New York City in March. 1956. University of Kentucky athletics director Bernie Shively worked his way past several secretaries and about as many anterooms in order to gain a luncheon engagement and pleasant visit with Eger V. Murphree. a former Wildcat football star (1916. '17. '18. '19. '20) who that week was named to the important post of czar of the nation's military missiles.
For Shively. that meeting was his first with Murphree since the latter coached the future All-American senior guard in high school football at Paris. 111.— back in 1921.
Murphree's family lived in Louisville when the strapping youngster who was to become one of the country's leading industrial scientists attended UK and gained Ail-Southern recognition as a lineman with the Wildcats. He was captain of the 1920 eleven and the next fall took a coaching-teaching job in the little Illinois city to earn money he needed to go on the next year to Massachusetts Institute of Technology for advanced study.
During World War 11. Murphree was chairman of the Planning Board and a member of the Office of Scientific Research and Development Commission that was instrumental in the development of the atomic bomb.