(5-6-22) Not many high school basketball teams have an all-time coaching legend at their school. One that did was Freeport (Illinois) who was led by Adolph Rupp for four seasons (1926-30). After his stay with the Pretzels he would move on to a Hall of Fame coaching career at the University of Kentucky.
During his high school basketball career at Kansas one of his assistant coaches was the inventor of the game of basketball, James Naismith, whom Rupp who he got to know very well during his time in Lawrence.
Rupp’s final team at Freeport in 1929-30 –
The Pretzels would have a year to remember when they placed 3rd at the Illinois High School Association State Tournament Championships.
1929 IHSA State Tournament
Interview with Adolph Rupp, from May 1971
Russell Rice, Interviews Adolph Rupp and he talks about his stay as the Head Basketball Coach at Freeport | Interview courtesy of Charles T. Wethington University of Kentucky Oral History Collection | University of Kentucky Athletics: Adolph Rupp Oral History Project
His High School coaching career…
Rupp began his career in coaching by accepting a teaching job at Burr Oak High School, Kansas. After a one-year stay, Rupp moved on to Marshalltown, Iowa, where he coached wrestling, a sport he knew nothing about at the time and learned from a book. He led the Marshalltown team to a state wrestling title in 1926.
Freeport Coaching Record
- 1926-27 10-7
- 1927-28 11-5
- 1928-29 18-6
- 1929-30 20-4
In 1926–30, Rupp accepted the basketball head coaching position at Freeport High School, (Freeport, Illinois) where he also taught history and economics. During his four years at Freeport, Rupp compiled a record of 59-22 and guided his team to a third-place finish in the 1929 state tournament.
While at Freeport High School Rupp started William “Mose” Mosely, the first African-American to play basketball at Freeport and the second to graduate from the school.
During his time in Freeport, Rupp met his future wife, Esther Schmidt.
University of Illinois head basketball coach Craig Ruby was invited to speak at the team banquet following the 1929–30 season. Ruby informed Rupp of the Kentucky head coaching job and followed up by recommending him for the job.
His Hall of Fame College coaching career….
Adolph Frederick Rupp (September 2, 1901 – December 10, 1977) was an American college basketball coach. He is ranked seventh in total victories by a men’s NCAA Division I college coach, winning 876 games in 41 years of coaching at the University of Kentucky. Rupp is also second among all men’s college coaches in all-time winning percentage (.822), trailing only Mark Few. Rupp was enshrined in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on April 13, 1969. He played college basketball at the University of Kansas under coach Phog Allen.