Mr. Wildcat dies at 81

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) -- The University of Kentucky says Bill Keightley, who was the school's basketball equipment manager and was with the university for 48 seasons, has died. He was 81.

Kentucky says Keightley was on a trip Monday to Cincinnati to see the Reds season-opener and suffered a fall. He was taken to University Hospital in Cincinnati, where he died of internal bleeding at 7:45 p.m. EDT.

Kentucky spokesman Scott Stricklin told The Associated Press that doctors found an undiagnosed tumor on Keightley's spine and that the fall was probably due to the bleeding.

Keightley's tenure reaches back to Adolph Rupp and continued through Joe B. Hall, Eddie Sutton, Rick Pitino, Tubby Smith and current Kentucky coach Billy Gillispie.

Stricklin says Keightley was with the team in Anaheim, Calif., week before last when the Wildcats lost to Marquette in the first round of the NCAA tournament.

Keightley is survived by his wife, Hazel, and daughter, Karen.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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