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Mr. Wildcat Has Passed

Posted by Matt on March 31, 2008

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The long tenured equipment manager for the University of Kentucky men’s basketball team, Bill Keightley — who was more affectionately known as “Mr. Wildcat” — has passed away at the University of Cincinnati Hospital after a fall from a bus at Great American Ball Park, home of his beloved Cincinnati Reds, WKYT in Lexington is reporting.

For those of you who don’t know Mr. Wildcat or his legendary status in the Kentucky program, I liken it to Joe Nuxhall passing away recently and his relationship with the Cincinnati Reds. Keightley’s tenure goes all the way back to the Adolph Rupp era of the Wildcats and he has been the equipment manager for every Kentucky head coach since then in the team’s illustrious history, winning three National Championships in the process.

The 81 year-old Keightley had just finished his 48th season with Kentucky after starting as assistant equipment manager in 1962 and then as equipment manager a few years later. Mr. Wildcat has become a Lexington icon and a stalwort on the bench for every game, home and away. It is a tough, tough loss for Big Blue Nation.

Link: WKYT

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