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The Kentucky Wildcats are the men's and women's intercollegiate athletic squads of the University of Kentucky (UK), a founding member of the Southeastern Conference. Historically, the women's teams and athletes were referred to as the "Lady Cats", but all athletic squads adopted the "Wildcats" nickname in 1995. The nickname "Wildcats" became synonymous with UK shortly after a 6–2 football road victory over Illinois on October 9, 1909. Commandant Philip W. Corbusier, then head of the military department at old State University, told a group of students in a chapel service following the game that the Kentucky football team had "fought like Wildcats." Later the name Wildcats became more and more popular among UK followers as well as with members of the media. As a result, the nickname was adopted by the University.
The university adopted blue and white as its official colors in 1892. Originally, however, UK students had decided on blue and light yellow prior to the Kentucky-Centre College football game on December 19, 1887. The shade of blue, which is close to a royal blue, was chosen when a student asked the question, "What color blue?" At the time, Richard C. Stoll (who lettered in football at UK in 1889–94) pulled off his necktie and held it up. The students then adopted that particular shade of blue. A year later, UK students officially dropped the light yellow color for white because the two colors did not look good together. The very first University of Kentucky women's basketball team was organized in 1902, competing for the first time on Feb. 21, 1903. However, in 1924, the University Senate passed a bill to abolish women’s basketball in part because "basketball had proven to be a strenuous sport for boys and therefore was too strenuous for girls." After a 50-year absence, women’s basketball finally reached varsity status in 1974. The team was given the nickname “Lady Kats” and was coached by Sue Feamster.