>> Monday, December 21, 2009
Back in 1903, W.W.H. Mustaine, the director of physical education at the time, called some students together and passed around the hat until there was $3 in it -- enough to buy a ball. He then told them to start playing.
The first season got off to a bumpy start. The Wildcats went just 1-2, their only win an 11-10 escape over the Lexington YMCA.
The next year, Mustaine was out.
From those modest beginnings, a powerhouse emerged.
Over a century later, what started with a handful of students and a single leather ball has grown into one of college basketball's biggest brands, one that has woven itself into the fabric of the Bluegrass.
There have been 1,998 victories since that squeaker over the Lexington YMCA, including seven NCAA titles and 25 Southeastern Conference tournament championships.
Now the program which proudly proclaims it has "the greatest tradition in college basketball" can add another bullet point to its resume. A win over Drexel on Monday would make the third-ranked Wildcats (11-0) the first team in NCAA history to reach 2,000 wins.
As one UK professor tweeted:
Note to Univ. of Ky fans: Anticipating 2,000th bball win today, I have conveniently placed unwanted items, matches in front yard.