Before he coached the Kentucky basketball team to an NCAA championship in 1978, Joe B. Hall coached the Regis University Rangers to a 57-50 record from 1959-64. "I had a great career at Regis," he says. (Charles Bertram, Lexington Herald-Leader
Joe B. Hall couldn't find a better carrier into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame than the national prestige of the University of Kentucky Wildcats.
But on Nov. 18, when the honor is bestowed at an induction banquet in Kansas City, Mo., Hall won't be thinking only about his glorious career as a Kentucky coach. He also will have some thoughts about Denver and Regis University, where he coached for five years, 1959-64.
"I started my coaching career in Denver and I finished it there," Hall said from his home in Lexington, Ky., where he keeps his hand in sports as co-host of a talk radio show. "I had a great career at Regis. That's where I started. Kentucky played in a regional tournament (at McNichols Sports Arena) in Denver in 1985. I announced my resignation there."
Hall's credentials at Kentucky can stand on their own. In 13 seasons (1972-85), his Wildcats were 297-100. Kentucky won an NCAA championship in 1978 (when the Wildcats were 30-2) and an NIT championship in 1976. He did all that in the huge shadow of legendary Kentucky coach Adolph Rupp.
Hall had the right disposition to follow Rupp. Hall was a mild-mannered coach who always credited others for his success.
Hall's path to the pinnacle of coaching had more twists and turns than a road up Pikes Peak. He grew up only minutes from the Kentucky campus. He was a freshman player on the Wildcats' national championship team in 1949. When he saw that Rupp's new class of recruits was full of guards, he transferred to the University of the South in Sewanee, Tenn., where he completed his eligibility as a player. He returned to Kentucky to finish schoolwork for a degree before starting his coaching career.
Regis was Hall's first stop. While there, Hall also coached baseball, taught physical education classes and was the athletic director for three years.
Regis' hierarchy had visions of the school becoming the Marquette of the West, so Hall and the Rangers played a Division I schedule. Hall took his place among the Front Range coaches of his era, including Bob Spear at Air Force, Jim Williams at Colorado State, Hoyt Brawner and Troy Bledsoe at the University of Denver and Bill Strannigan at Wyoming. Regis didn't play Colorado during Hall's time with the Rangers.
"Regis was a school of less than 500 students," Hall said. "We had some ups and downs, but we held our own. We played such teams as Dayton, Detroit and Creighton. We beat Denver six of the eight times we played them.
"Spear ran that Auburn shuffle at Air Force. It was tough to play against. We got into a big fight after one of our games down there."
The National AAU Tournament was big in Denver at the time, and that's where Hall saw Cozel Walker, who became one of his top players at Regis.
Walker was playing with the Air Force all-stars. Hall convinced Walker he should enroll at Regis when his military time was up. At the time, Walker had been in the Marines for four years and the Air Force for four years. He didn't have a high school diploma, but Hall got him to work on the necessary requirements. Walker was 26 when he enrolled at Regis. He averaged 23.7 points in the 1963-64 season.
When the Regis administration decided to de-emphasize basketball, Hall departed with a 57-50 record.
"I wasn't going to stay and see that program go downhill," Hall said. "I had a $400 recruiting budget. I didn't see how it would work
much lower than that."
Hall made a one-year stop at Central Missouri State before accepting Rupp's invitation to join his staff at Kentucky in 1965. He took over the Wildcats seven years later. Hall has the distinction of being one of three men who played on an NCAA championship team and coached an NCAA champion, joining Bob Knight (Ohio State, Indiana) and Dean Smith (Kansas, North Carolina).
After resigning his Kentucky coaching job in 1985, Hall was a bank president in Lexington for 12 years. But basketball and the Wildcats have never been far away. He attends most of the team's home games at Rupp Arena.
"I missed coaching, but I told my wife that I wouldn't become an old coach," Hall said. "I got into a normal type life, and I'm so glad that I did."
The Hall of Fame induction is special.
"It's really meaningful," Hall said. "It's really an honor to be recognized by your peers for a job well done. It's an honor for all of us, for my family, my players and the coaches who helped me so much."
Earl D. Uhler, Jr., Gary Gifford, Tom Boulch, Coach Joe B. Hall, 1964.  St. Louis Recruiting Trip

“Earl Uhler (pilot, he is 90 today), Gary Gifford (instructor) of Warrensburg recently flew Andy(?) and Hall to St. Louis to sign Rittenour star Tom Boulch, 6-7 Fr.”