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"Phog" Allen

long-time head basketball coach at the University of Kansas

Phog Allen

Forrest Clare Allen was born in Jamesport, Missouri, on November 18, 1885. He learned how to play basketball under the game's inventor, Dr. James Naismith, while a player at the University of Kansas, at which he lettered in 1905, 1906, and 1907; he also earned two letters in baseball.

Allen began his coaching career while still a student at KU. From 1907 to 1908, he also served as head basketball coach at Baker University and Haskell Institute. After graduating in 1909, Allen left basketball to study osteopathic medicine. After getting his degree he opened an osteopathic practice in Lawrence, and become well known for his use of osteopathic manipulation techniques to help injured athletes. He also coached a variety of sports at KU during this time.

From 1912 to 1919, Allen served as head basketball coach at Central Missouri State University. During this time he compiled a 102-7 win-loss record, and led his team to championships every year.

Allen returned to KU in 1919 and spent the next several years as athletics director, football coach and head basketball coach, before focusing all his efforts on basketball. By the time he left coaching in 1956 he had compiled an amazing 590-219 win-loss record; his .729 winning percentage is now the third highest amongst all KU coaches, behind Roy Williams (.807) and Larry Brown (.754). During this period he coached KU to 24 conference titles, 3 Final Four appearances, and the 1952 NCAA Championship. Throughout his entire coaching career he amassed a total of 746 wins, a record which was eventually broken by Dean Smith, one of his former players.

In addition to the above achievements, Allen was the driving force behind basketball becoming an official Olympic sport in 1936, and was one of the founders of the National Association of Basketball Coaches. In 1952, he was one of the coaches of the gold medal-winning U.S. Olympic Basketball Team.

Phog Allen retired from basketball in 1956, one year after Allen Fieldhouse at KU was dedicated. He was inducted into the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame in 1952, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1959, and the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame in 1961. After retiring, he remained in Lawrence, where he enjoyed a successful medical practice until his death, on September 16, 1974.

James Naismith
Dean Smith

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This page was last updated on September 23, 2017.