Wednesday, April 2, 2014

UK Sports Then and Now

Basketball interest generally peaks in late March, and this is year no different as UK has two basketball teams in the NCAA Sweet-Sixteen. Our baseball and softball teams are also doing well. 

UK’s past athletics glories are preserved in the Big Blue Sports Archives.  One of the  treasures of UK Libraries Special Collections, it  contains more than 6,000 videotapes, 9,000 films, 10,000 photographs, 30 scrapbooks, broadcasts, oral histories, programs, media guides, and clippings. While the sport most commonly associated nationally with the University of Kentucky is men’s basketball, our archives span the breadth of UK’s rich athletics history. 

A recent major gift to UK Libraries is making it possible to preserve and digitize the football films of the Bear Bryant era.  Under Coach Bryant’s leadership, Kentucky recorded 60 victories, won three bowl games including a Sugar Bowl victory over top ranked Oklahoma, and a Southeastern conference championship.  An important part of the historical record of these accomplishments resides in the Big Blue Sports Archives in the form of these original game films.

Many of these athletics collections are in need of preservation work, digitizing, and making them accessible to researchers and fans alike.   UK Libraries continues to seek ways to build an endowment that will help to preserve this important part of UK’s and the Commonwealth’s history.

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