LEXINGTON, Ky.—Coaches and players from both the University of Kentucky and Transylvania University will attend a tip-off dinner on Oct. 30 at Keeneland Entertainment Center in advance of the historic meeting of the teams on Nov. 2.
Tickets are available for the event, billed as "Dinner with the Pioneers and Wildcats." The teams will then meet on the court for the first time in 100 years on Nov. 2 at 7 p.m. at Rupp Arena in an exhibition game.
Individual seats for the dinner are $150 but tables can also be purchased for prices ranging from $1,200 for seating for 10 to $15,000 for a table that includes the head coaches. All proceeds from the event will go to the Transylvania athletics department.
Click here for more information about reserving a table or buying an individual ticket, a live auction, and other events to be held in conjunction with the event. Check-in and a cash bar begins at 5:45 p.m. with dinner to follow at 6:30 p.m.
The exhibition game with Kentucky follows a pre-season trip to Canada for the Pioneers, set for Oct. 15-17. Transylvania will take on Calgary, Windsor, and Western Ontario in exhibition contests.
Transylvania and UK last played on March 3, 1911, in a game won by Kentucky 30-24 on the Wildcats' home court. The first game took place in 1903 when the visiting Pioneers won 42-2. The all-time record between the schools stands at 7-7 after the century-long lapse in the series.
The 1903 game was played at the dawn of intercollegiate basketball in America, just 12 years after James Naismith invented the game in 1891 in Springfield, Mass. It wasn't until 1901 that colleges began to field teams in earnest.
After 1911, as Transylvania continued its historic role as a small liberal arts college and Kentucky began its evolution into a major research university, the basketball programs went their separate ways.
The Pioneers now compete in the NCAA's Division III, which does not offer athletic scholarships, while Kentucky boasts one of the top NCAA Division I programs in the country.
“We are thrilled to play in a game that has drawn so much attention, not only from our students and alumni but also from others across the nation,” said head coach Brian Lane, a 1990 Transylvania graduate and former player. “Our players have thought about this game every day since I gave them the news back in March. We are really looking forward to it.”
Even though the two schools did not continue their early basketball series, there have been interesting basketball ties between the institutions over the years.
C. M. Newton, one of Transylvania's most accomplished and admired former head coaches, played for UK under Adolph Rupp in the early 1950s. Newton coached at Transylvania for 14 seasons, leading the Pioneers to the NAIA national tournament in 1963.
In more recent years, brothers Cameron and Collier Mills displayed their basketball talents at the schools. Cameron was a key player as a shooting guard on the Wildcats' 1998 NCAA national championship team, and Collier was the National Player of the Year in the NAIA in 2001 while leading the Pioneers to a 27-2 record and the nation's No. 1 ranking.
“When you think of the history between the two schools, and then add the enthusiasm we have on the Transylvania campus for the Wildcats, it makes this upcoming game an intriguing matchup,” Lane said. “It's really college basketball tradition on display, with the interesting twist of an exceptional small college program against the best all-time men's major college basketball program in the nation.”