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Kentucky fans welcome national champions home, 1978

Posted on March 28, 2018 | in Uncategorized | by

About 7,000 Kentucky basketball fans packed into the terminal of Blue Grass Airport March 28, 1978, to welcome the Wildcats home after winning the 1978 NCAA National Championship in St. Louis a few hours earlier. By defeating Duke 94-88 behind Jack “Goose” Givens’ 41 point performance, the Wildcats earned their fifth national title. “It was a whole lot of fun to be a part of it,” said Kyle Macy recently, who was a member of that team. “Unfortunately they (the fans) did a lot of damage to the airport. I think the lot was full so people would park out on Versailles Road.”  Signs proclaimed “Joe Hall for President” and We Won This One for Adolph,” while strains of “Goose” calls filtered through the air. The wait was exhausting for the fans who left their television sets at 11:30 p.m. and raced to the airport to stake out the front spots to greet the Cats. The night dragged on until that magic moment near 3:30 a.m. when the crowd picked up the hum of a landing jet. Catching first glimpse of the screaming fans, the scene was almost too much for the Wildcats themselves to comprehend. “This is unbelievable; this is something you think about in your wildest dreams and it finally came true for us,” exclaimed forward Rick Robey after he failed in his first attempt to reach the airport balcony to address the screaming throng. According to airport security chief George Laessig, the only known issues besides a few fainting women were three students who fell through a roof and suffered bloody noses. Even 79-year-old former Governor A.B. “Happy” Chandler made his way through the crowd to deliver a personal congratulations to the team. Later that day, 15,000 fans filled Memorial Coliseum for a pep rally celebrating the victory. Click here to scroll through every UK basketball image posted on our blog. Photo by David Perry | Staff

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