Photos from the Lexington Herald-Leader archives updated daily

Unforgettables jersey retirement, 1992

Posted on April 7, 2017 | in Uncategorized | by

From left, Kentucky basketball players Sean Woods, Richie Farmer, Deron Feldhaus and John Pelphrey waved to the Rupp Arena crowd on April 7, 1992, during an awards ceremony honoring the team. The evening was capped by the surprise announcemnt that the four seniors’ jerseys would be retired. As the seniors stood at midcourt with their families, four jerseys were unveiled atop Rupp Arena’s west side. Between jerseys honoring Jack Givens and Coach Adolph Rupp hung Farmer’s No. 32, Feldhaus’ No. 12, Pelphrey’s No. 34 and Woods’ No. 11. Until the unveiling, the seniors didn’t know of the honor. The four, later dubbed “The Unforgettables,” went through tough times when UK was on probation but hung around long enough to see the program resurrected. Pelphrey, a Kentuckian like Feldhaus and Farmer, was almost at a loss for words. “It’s a big one,” he said. “Something you don’t dare dream about. I just can’t hardly believe it. It’s hard for me to describe the feeling. It’s hard to put in words.” Coach Rick Pitino jokingly recalled his first impression of the seniors. He wondered why he left the New York Knicks for UK in 1989. “One was a skinny kid with red hair (Pelphrey),” Pitino said. “One was an overweight guy who just wanted to talk about fishing (Farmer). One never looked me in the eye and just wanted to leave the meeting (Feldhaus). One was just trying to sell me a couple watches (Woods).” Kentucky began retiring ceremonial jerseys in 1989. UK Athletics Director C.M. Newton said he had decided “a long time ago” to retire the jerseys. “Many players have scored more points,” Newton told the crowd of about 10,000. “Many have won more individual honors.” Newton then turned his attention to the seniors and said, “But no one can match what you’ve done. You truly put your heart into wearing the Kentucky jersey.” Besides the jerseys, UK celebrated the official retirement of any guilt and shame associated with the NCAA sanctions of 1989. “This is the last time I’ll mention the NCAA probation,” Newton said. “It is over and it will not happen again. … Kentucky shame is gone. The new motto is Kentucky’s back.” The Cats went 29-7 that year. Their season reached a climax in the NCAA Tournament East Region finals. Only a buzzer-beater in overtime by All- American Christian Laettner of Duke kept Kentucky from the Final Four. Click here to see more images from our archives of that 1991-92 team. Photo by Frank Anderson | Staff

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