long-time head basketball coach at the
University of Kansas
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,
where he spent 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.
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