Bridge Spans

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New Bridge re-connects Hall to home

By Becky Barnes

He grew up just a stone’s throw away from a bridge named in his honor.

When a truly appreciative Joe B. Hall took the podium last Friday, he said any other bridge named after him would not have held the same meaning.

With his trademark rolled program in hand, Hall told about growing up on North Church Street.

He specifically recalled a story about how his father, who was then the sheriff of Harrison County, deputized a barely graduated Joe B. to help him capture two men and a woman who the elder Hall wanted to have a face-to-face with.

As the story went, a young Joe B. anticipated where the suspects would be heading after ditching their car. And, just as he expected, one of the men and the woman were walking across what was then, and is now known as, “the viaduct.”

Joe B. said he captured the pair without any problem and without a gun. The third suspect was caught later.

As it turned out, Hall said the two men were dangerous escapees from a Michigan prison.

While he probably could have pursued a career in law enforcement and followed in his father’s footsteps, Cynthiana’s native son chose a career that made all of Cynthiana and Harrison County proud.

Hall began his coaching career at Regis College where he stayed for six years; then on to Central Missouri and back to Kentucky, his alma mater, in 1965.

At U.K. he started as an assistant to the  legendary Adolph Rupp. In 1972 Hall became the head coach and began making his own legend.

Hall’s Wildcats won the NCAA championship in 1978, which earned this Cynthiana son the distinction of being one of only three coaches to earn a national championship title as a player and a coach.

Hall served as the head coach at UK for 13 seasons where his teams tallied a 297-100 record.

He retired after the 1984-85 season, but Joe B. Hall will forever be synonymous with UK basketball.

While at UK he was also named the National  Coach of the Year in 1978 and was a four-time recipient of the SEC Coach of the Year distinction.

A large crowd gathered at the viaduct on U.S. 27 North last Friday afternoon to hear state and local dignitaries reminisce about Hall and his family.

State Rep. Tom McKee said he started the wheels turning for the naming of the new bridge spanning the CSX railroad.

McKee said he thought it fitting since Hall was the one to bridge his coaching career with that of the venerable Rupp.

Joe Beasman Hall never lost sight of his Cynthiana home.

And, his Cynthiana home never lost sight of him.

 It’s extremely befitting that the newly constructed bridge near his childhood home would bring him back to Cynthiana.