Lawrence Kansas is a basketball town. Located thirty minutes west of Kansas City, Lawrence is home to The University of Kansas. Basketball is a sport played around the world and basketball fans have their own favorite teams. But true students of the game of basketball know that the game, which we all love, finds it’s roots in KU Basketball – in Lawrence Kansas.
Basketball was “invented” in 1891 by James Naismith, a Canadian actually, while he was teaching at the YMCA Training School in Springfield Massachusetts. After completing his M.D. degree in 1898 he moved to Lawrence Kansas where he became a faculty member of the University of Kansas and their part time basketball coach. At that time basketball was still in it’s infancy and most teams and games were organized through local YMCA’s. Naismith built the KU Basketball Program as their coach and later as athletic director, working at the university for over forty years. While he was the inventor of the game, it’s interesting to note that Naismith is the only basketball coach in KU history who has a losing record – 55 wins and 60 losses between 1898 and 1907. Naismith died in 1939. He is buried in Lawrence Kansas.
Dr. Forrest C. “Phog” Allen, a player for Naismith at KU, was later hired as head basketball coach at the University of Kansas in 1907. Referred to as “Phog” due to his booming voice, he is known as the “father of basketball coaching” as he advanced basketball skills and knowledge and passed these on to players who eventually became great coaches of the game including Dean Smith, Adolph Rupp. “Phog” Allen coached at KU briefly at first from 1907 to 1909 and then returned to coach again from 1919 to 1956. Allen died in 1974 and is buried in Lawrence Kansas.
If you like trivia questions here a couple of good ones. How many head basketball coaches have their been at the University of Kansas? Can you name them?
Up to and including today, since Naismith first coached at KU in 1898, the University of Kansas has had a total of eight head basketball coaches.
James Naismith – 1898 to 1907
Dr. Forrest “Phog” Allen – 1907 to 1909 and 1919 to 1956
William o. Hamilton – 1909 to 1919
Dick Harp – 1956 to 1964
Ted Owens – 1964 to 1983
Larry Brown – 1983 to 1988
Roy Williams – 1988 to 2003
Bill Self – 2003 to present
Basketball history runs deep in Lawrence Kansas and on the University of Kansas Campus. Naismith Drive runs in front of the KU basketball factuality named Allen Fieldhouse. A statue of “Phog” Allen stands in front of the fieldhouse. In 2010 the Booth Family purchased the original copy of Mr. Naismiths’ 13 rules of basketball for 4.3 million dollars. Construction is currently underway on the new DeBruce Center immediately adjacent to Allen Fieldhouse. The Center will permanently house the original “Rules of Basketball” – in Lawrence Kansas, where the game first took root.
Visit Lawrence – a Basketball Town ……………….. And Enjoy the Adventure!
Dr.B, The Photo Trekker
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