Flash Back: Tennessee State’s Kean Hall

February 22, 1971

A Coach’s Garden Of Curses


Kean’s Little Garden, they call the place, and if the name summons up visions of the friendly neighborhood beer hall or a spot where old ladies go to sniff camellias, that is all right with the Big Blue Hardwood Tigers of Tennessee State University. A garden is a nice place in which to sandbag a visiting basketball team, especially if it happens to be Kentucky State. Oh, happy day! Everybody, absolutely everybody, tries to squeeze into the entirely too small gym that was named after former Football Coach and Athletic Director Henry Kean, who came to Tennessee State from, ironically, Kentucky State in 1944. They sit and stand and jump hipbone to hipbone and sing and cheer and stomp and dance and clap and bang on bongo drums until the foundations rock, and then they put on the crusher. That is what happened last Wednesday night to Kentucky State at Kean’s Little Garden in Nashville. Lucias Mitchell couldn’t believe it. The K State coach was beside himself. He wouldn’t believe it.

To begin with, there is always a rivalry between Tennessee State and Kentucky State. They like each other about as much as Notre Dame and Michigan State do. In 1948 their football teams began playing for a Little Brown Jug. The ‘Breds, as the Kentuckians call themselves, took the trophy home that first year, lost it the next and have never had it back. The schools decided to give the whole thing up this year after the ‘Breds absorbed a 61-7 rout.




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