Joe B. Hall's 93rd birthday buoyed by Crum contributions

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  • Denny Crum
    American basketball player and coach
  • Joe B. Hall
    American college basketball coach
Kentucky Coach Joe B. Hall and Louisville coach Denny Crum pose for a photo at Rupp Arena before the game.December 28, 2019
Kentucky Coach Joe B. Hall and Louisville coach Denny Crum pose for a photo at Rupp Arena before the game.December 28, 2019

Rivals need not be rancorous. Competitors can coexist. Former Kentucky basketball coach Joe B. Hall will observe his 93rd birthday on Tuesday surrounded by greeting cards prompted in large part by a Facebook post from Denny Crum's wife, Susan.

"It's unbelievable," said long-time friend Richard Moloney. "I walked in and said, 'Holy Toledo.' I thought I was looking at Santa Claus. I said 'Buddy, I didn't know you were that well-liked.' "

The coach of Kentucky's 1978 NCAA Championship team, until recently a fixture at Wildcats' home games at Rupp Arena, lives in a nursing home now and is, Moloney said, "going through a tough time." After the Crums visited Hall on Nov. 7, Susan Sweeney Crum told her Facebook followers, "If you want to send him a birthday card, let me know!"

UK vs. UL in college basketball at Rupp Arena. Former coaching rivals Denny Crum and Joe B. Hall whoop it up.12/17/05
UK vs. UL in college basketball at Rupp Arena. Former coaching rivals Denny Crum and Joe B. Hall whoop it up.12/17/05

As Hall's address was circulated more widely, his mail delivery mushroomed.

"There were so many, it was amazing," said Moloney, an at-large member of the Lexington City Council. "He was so happy. Joe and I go back 40-some years. He is my best friend. But I told him, 'I didn't think you had that many friends.' "

Hall's relationship with Crum, the former Louisville coach, dates to the early 1970s when the two men coached Kentucky's preeminent basketball programs. In retirement, they grew close while co-hosting a radio show between 2004 and 2014.

"We just love him," Susan Sweeney Crum said of Hall on Monday. "Denny used to say people thought we weren't supposed to be friends. Plus, they were all so busy with their own teams. (But) They both love some of the same interests, hunting and fishing, and when they did their show they got to be good pals."

Their relationship endures. Their rivalry has receded.

Old coaching adversaries Joe B. Hall, left, and Denny Crum shared a laugh at the Kentucky Athletic Hall of Fame dinner.August 25, 1997
Old coaching adversaries Joe B. Hall, left, and Denny Crum shared a laugh at the Kentucky Athletic Hall of Fame dinner.August 25, 1997

This article originally appeared on Louisville Courier Journal: Former Kentucky basketball coach Joe B. Hall turns 93 on Tuesday

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