Magazine On-line [summer 2010]
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Alumni Profiles

Reed’s book celebrates Freedom Hall

As a veteran journalist, Billy Reed ’66 has spent countless hours in Louisville’s Freedom Hall for nearly five decades, covering major sports contests and other events while also attending as a spectator.

“Freedom Hall has been virtually a second home to me since 1962, when I covered my first boys’ state high school basketball tournament for the old Lexington Leader while in my first year at Transylvania,” Reed said.

freedom hall cook coverSo it was only natural that when the University of Louisville men’s basketball team was playing its final season in the arena before moving to a new downtown facility for the 2010-11 season, Reed would author a book of pictures and text that pays homage to the building’s nationally prominent history.

Celebrating 54 Years at Freedom Hall is a 200-page book that traces the history of the arena from its 1956 opening to this year’s final hurrah for the U of L Cardinals. Though the book is heavy on basketball, it includes many other subjects, from Cassius Clay’s (later Muhammad Ali) first professional boxing match to the World’s Championship Horse Show, the National Tractor Pull, concerts, family entertainment, and lots more.

It was in basketball that Freedom Hall forged a national reputation as it hosted six NCAA Final Four tournaments from 1958-69. Besides U of L, the University of Kentucky Wildcats have played often in Freedom Hall, including the recent series with the Cardinals and a storied rivalry with the University of Notre Dame in earlier decades.

“Every Kentuckian has a Freedom Hall story, because virtually every Kentuckian has been there at least once,” Reed said.

Published by Butler Books, the book retails for $29.95 and is available on-line at and, and at selected bookstores (contact Carol Butler at for stores).

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