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Renaming Rupp Arena: A List Of Potential Name Changes

Rupp Arena

The University of Kentucky men’s basketball team beat Texas A&M 74-73 on Tuesday, December 9, 2018, in Lexington’s Rupp Arena.
Photo by Quinn Foster I UK Athletics

To Big Blue Nation, Rupp Arena is the Mecca of college basketball. However, the name attached: that being of long time Kentucky head coach Adolph Rupp, carries a long history of alleged racism and racial bias. With that history behind the name, the University of Kentucky’s African American and Africana Studies program have penned a letter to university president Eli Capilouto asking him to change the name. If renaming Rupp Arena is the way to go, here is a list of some suggestions.

Commonwealth Arena

I have to admit, Commonwealth Stadium was a fine name for a football field in the Bluegrass State. That is, until the Wildcats sold out and renamed the stadium Kroger Field, after the grocery store chain. Why not bring the name back and slap it on the most popular sports facility in Lexington?

The Kroger Center

Speaking of selling out, why not just double up? Make Kroger cut the check again and solidify itself as the most prominent supermarket on the Kentucky’s campus. Sure, jokes have been made about the football stadium, but there’s no new ones to be made about the gym, right? Plus you could even incorporate it into the court design.

Kroger Court

Barnes-Fulkerson Arena

Here we go. I think this one could get some support. After all, John Fulkerson’s career high of 27 was tallied in the building formerly known as Rupp Arena. Not to mention that Rick Barnes owns a record of 7-5 against the Cats while at Tennessee, with two of those wins coming in Lexington. I think it’s time UK submits and just names the place after the duo that has tormented them the most in recent history.

Jim Beam Coliseum

Another corporate sponsor weighs in. Wouldn’t you think one of the most popular distillers of Kentucky Bourbon is deserving of the naming rights? We all know how much former Wildcat head coach Billy Gillispie liked his strong drinks, proven through a series of DUI arrests. Let’s put one of Kentucky’s top exports on display. We could even give it a cool nickname like “The Bourbon Barrel.”

BangBros Center

Now here’s a good name. As we saw in their $10 million bid for the naming rights to the Miami Heat’s home court, its obvious that the adult entertainment website is in the hunt for a basketball gym to call home. Lexington is not Miami, but it’s a big market with an arena that needs a name nonetheless. Submit that bid, BangBros. We could even call it the BBC for short.

Friends of Coal Fieldhouse

An obvious nod to Kentucky’s working class, Friends of Coal Fieldhouse will finally shine a light of appreciation on the often overlooked mining towns in Eastern Kentucky. Maybe for the first game all fans could get a free headlamp. They could set up a Black Lung breathing simulator in the concourse. A canary could sing throughout the game and when the Cats go down big, silence fills the mine. . .er I mean Fieldhouse. The possibilities are endless.

Pitino Pavilion

Sure, Slick Rick Pitino leaving Kentucky for the NBA, then returning to college to coach at Louisville wasn’t the best move. It might not even warrant Kentucky’s basketball arena bearing his name. But you have to look at his accomplishments in Lexington: three Final Fours, two SEC titles, five SEC tournament titles, National Champions in 1996, and three SEC Coach of the Year Awards. Huge success, check. . .super cocky, check. . .checkered past, check.

The only thing missing is a building on with his name on it. If Kentucky wants to rid the building of a racist name, all while spotlighting another coach with a skewed moral compass, Pitino is the guy. Make the move, Wildcats.

Pitino Pavilion

P.S. – it might make for a better visit than the last time he was in town.


For the Wildcats, renaming Rupp Arena won’t be easy. But with some of these suggestions, I think it just got a lot easier.

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