Saving Stories: UK Basketball's First Taste Of The Madness

Nov 20, 2020

This Friday is UK Basketball's Big Blue Madness at Memorial Coliseum. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic the only way for fans to see the production is through the SEC television network. In this latest installment of WUKY's award-winning history series, Saving Stories, Doug Boyd, director of the Nunn Center for Oral History in the UK libraries shares audio from an interview with Wildcat great, Kenny "Sky" Walker about his memories of his debut at Midnight Madness on October 15, 1982. The interview is part of a series of conversations with another former Wildcat great, Kyle Macy.


Kenny Walker participated in the very first 'Big Blue Madness' event in Memorial Coliseum
Credit UK Athletics

From UK Athletics:

The Birth of Midnight Madness

Former UK coach Joe B. Hall started Midnight Madness at the University of Kentucky in 1982. According to Hall, he was looking for an idea to create more excitement for his 1982-83 squad. So they invited the fans in for team introductions and a scrimmage at 12:01 a.m. on Oct. 15, 1982. Madness has now grown at a tremendous pace while also spreading to college and high school programs across the nation. Lefty Driesell, currently the coach at James Madison, is credited with conducting the first Midnight Madness when he was the head coach at Maryland in 1971.

Midnight Madness Highlights

When Midnight Madness started in 1982, it was called "Midnight Special." More than 8,500 fans attended that first event in 12,000-seat Memorial Coliseum. Admission was somewhat easier then -- those still arriving near the stroke of 12 a.m. had no problem getting a seat. But the seed of growth had been planted.