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Joe B. Hall To Be Honored With Limited Edition Maker's Mark Bottle

Posted: March 24, 2008 04:27 PM EDT

Updated: March 24, 2008 04:27 PM EDT

Thirty years ago, Kentucky men's basketball coach Joe B. Hall brought home the university's first NCAA Championship in 20 seasons and NCAA Coach of the Year honors. This year, the legendary coach will be featured on the 2008 edition of the Maker's Mark/Keeneland Limited Edition UK's "Most Beloved" series bottle.

The Kentucky icon is joining forces with UK HealthCare's Markey Cancer Center, the Markey Cancer Foundation, Maker's Mark and Keeneland to raise $3 million for cancer research with a "Most Beloved" series of limited edition commemorative Maker's Mark bottles. It's the third and final bottle in a series that featured "Rupp's Runts" and "The Unforgettables" in previous years.

Hall's biggest fan, his late wife Katharine, will also be honored by this year's series. Mrs. Hall was a patient at Markey, but lost her battle with lung cancer in May of 2007. In honor of coach and Mrs. Hall, Maker's Mark will produce 18,000 numbered, limited edition "Joe B." bottles to commemorate the 12th running of the Maker's Mark Mile at Keeneland.

Hall, who grew up just 30 minutes north of the UK campus in Cynthiana, had the unenviable task of following the legendary Adolph Rupp. The former Rupp assistant met the challenge head on, coaching three teams to the Final Four (1975, '78, '84) and winning the 1978 NCAA Championship, the school's fifth title. In 13 seasons, Hall led the Wildcats to a 297-100 (.748) overall record. As the UK head coach, Hall won National Coach of the Year honors in 1978 and four SEC Coach of the Year awards. He had seven players win All-America honors 11 times and nine Wildcats were voted All-SEC on 18 occasions.

Hall's squads recorded a 172-62 (.735) record vs. SEC competition during the regular season, winning eight SEC titles in 13 seasons and one league tournament championship in six tries. While Coach Rupp witnessed 37 of his players drafted by the NBA, Hall saw 23 players drafted during his 13-year tenure, five in the first round.

Maker's Mark will donate its profits from the sale - estimated to be about $200,000 from 18,000 bottles - to the Markey Cancer Foundation, which will then more than match the proceeds with private fund-raising efforts and by money dedicated from the cigarette excise tax for cancer research. The result is $3 million over the three-year period targeted for cancer research at Markey.

Last year's bottle featuring "The Unforgettables" was the fastest selling commemorative bottle yet for Maker's Mark. Through money raised from last year's sales, the Markey Cancer Center already has begun implementing many cancer research program elements with significant progress. By the end of last year, more than 120 clinical studies became active, and 290 new patients were placed in them. In addition, pre-clinical testing of new drug therapies and molecular targeting strategies expanded in scope and feasibility.

Bottles will go on sale Friday, April 4 at liquor retailers throughout Kentucky, and should sell for about $45 to $47. Fans will have a chance to have their 2008 commemorative bottle signed at Keeneland a week later on Friday, April 11.

In an effort to better accommodate the growing legion of fans who attend the Maker's Mark bottle signing at Keeneland, a few guidelines and a ticketing system have been put in place. Security officials will begin distributing tickets Thursday evening to fans in line who are 21 years of age or older. The ticket will allow each holder to have up to two of the 2008 commemorative bottles signed. Tickets will not be numbered and will not dictate a place in line, but will assure the holder up to two bottles will be signed. Anyone leaving the line after receiving a ticket will have to return to the end of the line. All ticket holders should be in line by 6:30 a.m. on Friday, April 11.

A concession stand will be open to serve beverages and snacks throughout the night before the signings. No coolers and no alcohol other than the 2008 commemorative bottle will be allowed inside the gates.

The signings will begin at 6:30 a.m. with Coach Hall, Maker's Mark president Bill Samuels and Keeneland president Nick Nicholson.

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