Déjà Blue

A Sportswriter Reflects on 41 Seasons of Kentucky Basketball

Retail Price: $26.95

During a Hall of Fame career that spanned nearly 50 years, veteran sportswriter Jerry Tipton was best known for his no nonsense coverage of University of Kentucky men’s basketball, challenging questions, catchy leads, and legendary exchanges with Coach John Calipari.

In Déjà Blue—A Sportswriter Reflects on 41 Seasons of Kentucky Basketball, Tipton shares a behind-the-scenes look at his career in sportswriting, from his early years at the Huntington Herald-Dispatch (W.Va.) through over four decades covering the highs, and lows, of the Wildcats for the Lexington Herald-Leader including three national championships (’96, ’98, ’12), nine Final Fours, and six head coaches.More than just a memoir, Déjà Blue presents a journalistic reflection on Tipton’s award-winning career in which he recalls the stories, the games, the personalities, and his relationships with coaches, players, and members of Big Blue Nation.

Déjà Blue gives insight into Tipton’s skill as a beat reporter—interviewing, writing, and old-fashioned hard work—that led to his induction into not just one, but three sportswriting hall of fame associations, a fitting tribute to his storied career.

Proceeds from the sale of this book will also help other communities and organizations preserve their history through Our American Heritage Project, a non-profit organization.
About The Author

Jerry Tipton  Beginning with the 1981-82 season, sportswriter Jerry Tipton covered the University of Kentucky men’s basketball program for 41 years. This included nine Final Four appearances (1984, 1993, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2011, 2012, 2014 and 2015) and three national championships (1996, 1998 and 2012). He cherished the many chances to feel like he was writing the first draft of history. This included the 1983 “Dream Game” against Louisville, the so-called Christian Laettner game and Kentucky’s 38-0 start to the 2014-15 season. Me Learn More about Jerry Tipton

“Jerry Tipton has been synonymous with Kentucky basketball . . . and that should be applauded. He’s never been afraid to ask tough questions, even when I might not have liked it! But his dedication to the Lexington community and unwavering work ethic has resulted in a Hall of Fame career.”

-– John Calipari, Kentucky basketball coach 2009 to the present.

“I spent 46 years in the news business. Jerry is simply the best beat reporter I’ve ever seen. Not sports reporter, beat reporter.”

-– Mike Johnson, the sports editor who hired Tipton for the Lexington Herald-Leader in 1981.

“Jerry is the consummate professional. I’m not sure I know anyone who worked that long on a beat with such a high profile. There’s no down time, no offseason. The pressure is constant and relentless. Jerry had a unique ability to shield the distractions and drama and stay focused on his job – which he saw as being the messenger of information to the public.”

-– Gene Abell, the Herald-Leader sports editor from 1989 to 2015.

“Jerry Tipton is Kentucky basketball. And he was fair and very good at his profession.”

-– Sam Bowie, Kentucky player from 1979-80 through 1983-84.

“Jerry always asked the tough and hard questions. A lot of players and coaches didn’t necessarily like that, but he always did his job in a fair and honest way.”

-– Kenny Walker, Kentucky player from 1982-83 through 1984-86

The Minutes is eagerly awaiting the forthcoming memoir from former Lexington Herald Leader writer Jerry Tipton (36), who did the impossible: He covered Kentucky basketball as the daily beat writer for 41 seasons and lived to tell about it. Deja Blue is due out in March.

Tipton was part of a vanishing breed of sports writers who did not cover his beat like a fanboy or a program shill. He did not write to please the subjects he covered. He did not skew coverage to protect access. He wasn’t trying to win a popularity contest, just keep the readership informed. (The vast majority of his career came before the widespread onset of social media, which undoubtedly helped.)

He was a contrarian to a degree, but mostly a fair and objective chronicler of events that unfolded in front of him. The vast majority of those events were positive for Big Blue Nation. Some were negative. Tipton’s coverage reflected what went right and what went wrong without fear or favor.


Coaches sometimes hated him. Fans often ripped him. Jerry was unfazed. He kept doing his job, embracing the fun and challenges and occasional tedium of beat work. The book should be widely read in Kentucky and worthwhile for fans of college basketball in general.

-Story by Pat Forde, Sports Illustrated-Forde Minutes:

Book Details
Author: Jerry Tipton
Pages: 256 pages
Product Dimensions: 6" x 9"
ISBN: 978-1-956027-68-6
Cover Type: Hardcover
Case Quantity:

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