Oct 7, 2011 3:11 PM
Transylvania University and the University of Kentucky will renew their rivalry after a lapse of 100 years in an exhibition game in Rupp Arena on November 2.
The two Lexington schools last played on March 3, 1911, in a game won by Kentucky 30-24 on the Wildcats' home court. The first game took place in 1903 when the visiting Transylvania Pioneers won 42-2. The all-time record between the schools stands at 7-7.
The 1903 game was played at the dawn of intercollegiate basketball in America, just 12 years after Dr. James Naismith invented the game in 1891 in Springfield, Mass. It wasn't until 1901 that colleges began to field teams in earnest.
After 1911, as Transylvania continued its historic role as a small liberal arts college, and Kentucky began its evolution into a major research university, the basketball programs went their separate ways. Now, a century later, the Pioneers and Wildcats will renew one of the oldest rivalries in college basketball.
"We are thrilled to play in a game that has drawn so much attention, not only from our students and alumni but also from others across the nation," said Transylvania head coach Brian Lane, a 1990 Transylvania graduate and former Pioneer player. "Our players have thought about this game every day since I gave them the news back in March. We are really looking forward to it."
Even though the two schools did not continue their early basketball series, there have been interesting basketball ties between the institutions over the years.
C. M. Newton, one of Transylvania's most accomplished and admired former head coaches, played for UK under Adolph Rupp in the early 1950s. Newton coached at Transylvania for 14 seasons, leading the Pioneers to the NAIA national tournament in 1963.
In more recent years, brothers Cameron and Collier Mills displayed their basketball talents at the schools. Cameron was a key player as a shooting guard on the Wildcats' 1998 NCAA national championship team, and Collier was national Player of the Year in the NAIA in 2001 while leading the Pioneers to a 27-2 record and the nation's No. 1 ranking.
"When you think of the history between the two schools, and then add the enthusiasm we have on the Transylvania campus for the Wildcats, it makes this upcoming game an intriguing matchup," Lane said. "It's really college basketball tradition on display, with the interesting twist of an exceptional small college program against the best all-time men's major college basketball program in the nation."