Kentucky’s dominance in basketball is not recent and it really began with legendary head coach Adolph Rupp. Of course, he had to get the players to win all the games he did and one of those players was Jerry Bird who played for Kentucky from 1954 to 1956. Unfortunately, he has passed away from natural causes at age 83 in his hometown of Corbin, Ky according to UK Athletics.
Bird was a member of two SEC title-winning teams as well as an undefeated 25-0 team in 1954 that was crowned national champions by the Helms Athletic Foundation. He was inducted into the UK Athletics Hall of Fame in its charter class in 2005 and his No. 22 is retired and is hanging in the rafters at Rupp Arena.
He averaged double figures in both his final two seasons at UK, including 16.2 points and 11.3 rebounds in 1955-56. He was tabbed an All-SEC Second Team member that year. He also holds the record for the most rebounds in an NCAA Tournament game with 24.