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March 31, 1842, with tears in his eyes, Henry Clay bid the Senate farewell to make a run for the presidency.

March 31, 1851, during her U.S. tour, the famous Swedish opera singer Jenny Lind performed in Mammoth Cave, one of the most highly regarded singers in the 19th century.  In 1850, Lind came to America at the invitation of P.T. Barnum.  She gave 93 large-scale concerts for him and returned to Europe in 1852.

March 31, 1892, Deputy Sheriff Floyd Slusher, Leslie County Sheriff’s Office, died after two brothers retaliated against the Leslie County Sheriff’s Office.  Three weeks earlier, Leslie County Deputies raided their families still.

March 31, 1919, Patrolman Charles West Hatfield, Ashland Police Department, died from a gunshot while he responded to a report of an armed robbery of a hotel.

March 31, 1944, Coach Rupp received word that one of his former players went MIA, Jim King.  On February 24, Lieutenant King and his crew set out once again on a bombing mission of a German aircraft assembly factory.  The pilot, Lieutenant Bell, knew of eight men bailing out, but only four of them survived.  King passed a few hours after hitting the ground.

March 31, 1951, Army PFC Robert E. Patton from Daviess County died in the Korean War.

March 31, 1952, while the press pressured V.P. Barkley to comment on whether he would run for president, the state postponed a decision to destroy or keep 142 slot machines seized in Lexington.  V.P. Barkley declined to comment the same day President Truman announced he would not seek re-election.

March 31, 1967, the Colonels officially entered the ABA.  In 1976, they played their last game.

March 31, 1968, Army SP4 Wayne A. Hokenson from Louisville, Army SP4 John P. Matlock from Louisville and Army SFC William Vance Jr. from Oak Grove in Christian County, all died in the Vietnam War.

On March 31, 1973, Muhammad Ali (41-2) fought Ken Norton (29-1) in San Diego Sports Arena.  Norton came in largely unknown, having earned $300 in his previous fight but was about to change history on live TV.  Norton nailed Ali with a straight right in the second round and broke his jaw.  Dundee asked Ali to stop, but he fought for another ten rounds, losing on a split decision.  Immediately after the fight, Ali had surgery on his jaw.  The doctor who wired it said, “I can’t fathom how he could go the whole fight like that.” 

March 31, 1975, Coach John Wooden closed out his coaching career by leading the Bruins to their 10th NCAA title in 12 years, over Kentucky 85-92 in San Diego.  Louisville beat Syracuse to place 3rd.

On March 31, 1976, the Democratic National Chairman named Senator Wendall Ford the campaign chairman to head up election efforts from President to Representative.  Chairman Strauss cited Ford’s success in Kentucky elections and thus named him the highest political position ever held by a Kentuckian.

On March 31, 1980, Jesse Owens passed from lung cancer. He embarrassed Hitler when he won four gold medals in 1936. After the Olympics he toured 200,000 miles a year for public speaking engagements.

March 31, 1984, Georgetown outscored UK 23-2 at the start of the 2nd half to defeat the Wildcats, 53-40, in the NCAA semifinal game in Seattle.

March 31, 1986, the Louisville Cardinals won their 2nd NCAA Championship by defeating Duke in Dallas, 72-69.  Coach Denny Crum also won his 2nd title.  Pervis Ellison earned MVP honors.  Johnny Dawkins scored the most points during the tournament.  New rules introduced the shot clock for the 1st time, set initially at 45 seconds.  It changed to 35 seconds in 1994, and 30 seconds in the 2016 NCAA Men’s Tournament.  The 1986 tournament had no three-point shot, for the last time.

March 31, 1992, “You got, you got a, you got a tape of him giving me $500.00?”  A memorable BOBTROT quote after the F.B.I. told a legislature they have him on tape taking a bribe.

On March 31, 2000, Hazel King, 80, rented a helicopter for the 4th time to fly over Black Mountain.  On each trip, she took an environmentalist to document the 26-mile mountain, much of it on the KY/VA border. Unfortunately, the fight to save Black Mountain from timber and coal interests would end in court.  Ms. King had fought strip mining for over 40 years, with her crusade starting when timber companies cut her trees without permission. 

On March 31, 2008, long-time Kentucky basketball manager Bill Keightley passed away at 81.  Affectionately known as “Mr. Wildcat,” he manned the “Bill Keightley Equipment Room” in Memorial Coliseum starting in 1962.  He died having just finished his 48th season under Coach Gillespie,.  Three days later, a Rupp Arena crowd of over 3,000 paid their respects.  Bill joins veteran broadcaster Cawood Ledford as the only non-player or coach to have a jersey retired at UK.

March 31, 2012, Kentucky 69 defeated Louisville 61 in the New Orleans Final Four, one of two matchups in the 2012 season.  In a defense-oriented game, the Cats slid past the Cards late in the 2nd half.  Anthony Davis led UK with 18 points, 14 rebounds, and five blocks.  They won the 74th National Championship two days later.  The Cats also won the December 2011 matchup 69-62.

On March 31, 2015, a leading U.S. energy consultant stated the collapse of energy prices dealt another blow to the struggling Appalachian coal industry.  His firm estimated that two-thirds of Eastern Kentucky’s coal output was unprofitable.

On March 31, 2016, Governor M. Bevin told all Kentucky universities and colleges to cut their budgets by 4.5%.  Meanwhile, the Berea Chamber of Commerce voted to cancel the annual Spoonbread Festival after Mayor Connelly banned merchandise with the Confederate Flag.

On March 31, 2021, Governor A. Beshear announced that every Kentuckian, 16 and older, could take coronavirus vaccines.  Only one vaccine was available to 16 and 17-year-olds.  Two other vaccines were for people 18 or older.  Meanwhile, basketball fans returned to the Sweet 16 at Rupp Arena with restrictions and masks.

On March 1, 2023, the Assembly’s last day, Kentucky legislators gave the Commonwealth’s most taxed industry a tax break.  Lawmakers phased out taxes on aging whiskey barrels by 2043.  The bill’s final version included provisions to compensate affected school districts and local governments by the bourbon industry itself.