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April 25, 2013

F.C. "Phog" Allen Coaching Warrensburg Normal School Against Mizzou Jan 13, 1913 Basketball History

University Missourian., December 06, 1912

The Evening Missourian., January 04, 1919,Page Three

Phog Allen
Phog Allen
1908-1909 and 1920-1956
                                                                KU Record:  590-219, .729, 39 Seasons
Phog Allen


PHOG ALLEN (Player 1905-07, Coach 1908 to 1909, and 1920-1956)         

 “The game and the sport that it brings is the thing that makes it all worthwhile, not the winning.” – Phog Allen
Dr. Forrest Clare “Phog” Allen is widely recognized as the ‘Father of Basketball Coaching’, and his legacy is forever etched into Kansas basketball history.

His nickname was originally Foghorn, stemming from his days when he umpired baseball games and bellowed his decisions.  A sportswriter named Ward (Pinhead) Coble shortened and fancified it to Phog.  Actually, his players and most people around the KU campus called him Doc although his grandchildren called him Phoggy.

Early years
Phog was born in 1885 in Jamesport, Missouri, the fourth of six boys in the Allen family.  He grew up in Independence, and lived on the same street as future President Harry S. Truman. It was there that he learned and exhibited the athletic and organizational skills that garnered him so much success in later years. 

When basketball was only ten years old, he and his brothers formed the Allen Brothers Basketball team and played all comers. Basketball was only 10 years old, and the early rules of basketball specified that one member of the team should toss all the free throws.  Phog performed that duty for the Allen boys, and he was very good at it. It was reported that their father, William Allen, had to buy so many shoes for his athletic sons that he gained the nickname ‘Shoe’.

In 1905 he joined the Kansas City Athletic Club, nicknamed the Blue Diamonds and became their star forward, free thrower and manager.  Phog came up with a plan to invite the Buffalo Germans, named by the AAU as the mythical national champion in 1904, to play the Blue Diamonds, a game he billed as the ‘World’s Championship of Basketball’.  He rented the enormous Convention Hall for the match, which was to be the best of three games.  The Germans won the first game, refereed by a Buffalo substitute.  The second game was won by the KCAC, which was refereed by a Kansas City local.  The Germans suggestion of James Naismith as the referee for the third game was accepted by the KCAC and Phog sank 17 free throws to lead the KCAC to a 45 to 14 victory in front of 4,000 fans.
Boxing was his second favorite sport.  Mick Allen said his grandfather boxed as a teen-ager under an assumed name to keep knowledge of his bouts secret.

Going to College
Phog began as a student at the University of Kansas in 1904, where he lettered in basketball under Dr. James Naismith’s coaching.  He also played baseball, lettering two years.

During his college tenure, he married Bessie E. Milton and started a family that eventually consisted of two sons and two daughters.

He succeeded Naismith as KU's second coach in his senior year in 1907-08 at KU, where he led the Jayhawks to an 18-4 record.  The next year he also coached at two nearby schools, Baker University and Haskell Indian Institute. Kansas was 25-3 that season, Baker 22-2, and Haskell 27-5 for a combined record of 74 wins and 10 losses.

When Allen was first thinking about making a career of coaching he talked with Naismith and was told, "You don't coach basketball, Forrest; you play it." "Well," Allen replied, "you can coach them to pass at angles and run in curves." Despite the bit of advice, Allen went ahead with his career and disproved Naismith. 

Becoming a physician
After coaching KU for two years, Allen took a hiatus for three years to study osteopathic medicine at the Kansas College of Osteopathy, gaining the skill he became famous for in the treatment of athletic injuries. 

He returned to coaching in 1912, to coach all sports at Warrensburg Teachers College (now University of Central Missouri UCM), from 1912-13 through the 1919 season.  His basketball teams won championships all seven seasons, with an astounding record of 102-7.

Back to Mt. Oread
Allen left Warrensburg to become Kansas’ Athletic Director in 1919 as well as football coach. He only coached football for a single season where he had a record of 5-2. After the first basketball game of the season, KU coach Karl Schlademan left the job to concentrate on his duties as track coach, so Phog took over the team.  After a couple of mediocre seasons in 1920 and ‘21, the team jelled and the Helms Foundation named his 1922 and 1923 squads national champions. His 1924 book, "My Basket-Ball Bible," helped set a course for college basketball. During the next four seasons, his teams compiled a 64-8 record and won four league championships.

When the dribble was abolished in basketball in 1927, Allen became so angry that he quickly formed a meeting of coaches in Des Moines, Iowa, after the Drake Relays.  He spread so much dissention toward the new rule that it was overturned, and the dribble was back in the games.  From that protest, the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) was formed and Allen served as its first president.

In the fifteen seasons from 1930 through 1943, the Jayhawks captured the conference crown eleven times, during which they became the NCAA national runner-up in 1940. While Phog’s technical competence was extraordinary, his greatest asset was his ability to motivate players and establish a winning attitude.  “Somehow he convinced you that when you played for Kansas you were supposed to win”, recalled Ted O’Leary, former player and later journalist at Sports Illustrated.  “He was a very enthusiastic, positive man, and he made you share his enthusiasm.” Ray Evans said "He could get you fired up to the point you wanted to knock the door down."

Above his office desk hung a portrait of the late Dr. Naismith, inscribed in 1936: “With kindest regards to Dr. Forrest C. Allen, the father of basketball coaching, from the father of the game.”

Allen coached two of his sons, Mit, who won letters in 1934-36 and went on to law school and Bob, who lettered in 1939-41, and graduated Phi Beta Kappa and went on to medical school. He became, in time, the progenitor of a long line of prominent coaches, including Hall-of-Famers Adolph Rupp at Kentucky, Dutch Lonborg at Northwestern, Dean Smith at North Carolina, Frosty Cox at Colorado, and Ralph Miller a Wichita State, Iowa and Oregon State.

He was the driving force behind basketball becoming accepted as an official sport in the Olympics in 1936, and later became an assistant coach on the 1952 Olympic team.   He was also instrumental in the creation of the NCAA tournament established in 1939. In January 1943, the Helms Foundation named Allen as “the greatest basketball coach of all time”, based on their survey of coaches and basketball authorities across the country. 
During the war, Doc Allen began his "Jayhawk Rebounds," a series of 18 newsletters communicating with his players and close friends in the armed forces. Allen, who also served and headed the Douglas County Draft Board, wrote to the guys about everything, reprinted some of their replies and compiled an ever-growing list of addresses so they could reach each other.

He was a colorful figure on the University of Kansas campus, coaching all sports and becoming widely known for his osteopathic manipulation techniques for ailing athletes. Dr. Allen was a legend in the field of treatment of athletic injuries and included a long list of high-profile performers, especially baseball players such as the likes of Mickey Mantle, Grover Cleveland Alexander and Johnny Mize.
Although there were some relatively down years after WWII, Allen did an excellent job of recruiting in the late 40’s, building a team led by All-American Clyde Lovellette that culminated in winning the national championship in 1952. After the NCAA title game, which the Jayhawks won, 80-63, over St. John’s, Phog wrote a letter to his players, saying: “It’s been great fun. But twenty-five or thirty years from now you boys will radiate and multiply the recollections of your struggles and your successes and your defeats and your dejections. All these will be rolled into a fine philosophy of life which will give you durable satisfactions down through the years.”

Allen long campaigned loudly to increase the height of the basket to 12 feet.  “The tall men are killing the passing, the dribbling, the teamwork that makes basketball exciting.”   “If we raised the goals” he said in 1940, “these mezzanine-peeping goons wouldn’t be able to score like little children pushing pennies into gum machines.  They would have to throw the ball like anyone else.  They would have to make the team on real skill, not merely on height.” However, after recruiting Wilt Chamberlain, he said with a quiet smile: “Twelve-foot baskets?  What are you talking about?  I’ve developed amnesia.”

Allen Fieldhouse, opened in March 1, 1955, was named for him, and is still the home court for KU basketball. A mandatory retirement age of 70 forced him from the bench against his wishes after the 1956 season. He said with some bitterness he had reached the state of “statutory senility”.  Nonetheless, he then established a successful private osteopathic practice and many he treated contended he had a "magic touch" for such ailments as bad backs, knees and ankles.

The legacy
He coached college basketball for 49 seasons and compiled a 771-223 record, retiring with the all-time best coaching record in collegiate basketball history.

The fruits of his efforts are forever etched into Kansas basketball history. In 39 seasons at KU, Allen won an amazing 590 games, a winning percentage of 73%, including three national championships and 24 conference championships.

He was named National Coach of the Year in 1950 and was a charter inductee to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1959.  He was also inducted into the University of Kansas Athletic Hall of Fame and the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame.

Phog died on September 16, 1974 at the age of 88 and is buried in Lawrence Oak Hill Cemetery, not far from the grave of Dr. Naismith.

Phog Allen Gravesite

From the UCM Alumni Magazine below 2002
In what some saw as a David and Goliath basketball match-up, Central faced the University of Kansas Jayhawks Dec. 4 in Lawrence with most of the crowd unaware of the strong coaching history that links both teams. An important piece of this history will soon be preserved through a gift of legendary KU Coach Forrest C. “Phog” Allen research materials and original items to Central’s Archives and Museum. Allen, who has been called “The Father of Basketball Coaching,” made history at Central prior to his renowned career at KU. The gift is made possible by Judy McClure, Warrensburg, and details many aspects of Allen’s life. It is a compilation of items that were collected over several years by McClure’s late husband, Arthur, who chaired and taught for approximately 30 years in Central’s Department of History and Anthropology. In addition to being an educator, McClure was an accomplished author who had co-written at least one sports book, Remembering Their Glory, a collaboration with Central Professor Emeritus Jim Young detailing their childhood memories of sports and its heroes. He planned to write a biography about Allen, and collected several boxes of informational materials to aid in the process. All of these items have been turned over to John Sheets and Vivian Richardson in the Archives and Museum, located on the ground floor of Central’s James C. Kirkpatrick Library. “I knew that Mr. Allen had served CMSU as well as KU, and after considering both places, I felt like the materials would be in good hands with Vivian and John, who could sort through them and preserve them so they could be used by other researchers,” Mrs. McClure said. Richardson is now taking the lead role in archiving the items. “When the donation has been processed, arranged, and a computerized finding aide developed, the material will be available to the campus community and public for research,” Richardson said. “We will also use the material in future exhibits in the Archives and Museum and at other campus locations.” Items in the collection include clippings from newspapers, magazines and journals; sports publications and programs; photographs; copies of letters written to and from Allen; radio scripts featuring Allen’s interviews with sports figures; Jayhawk newsletters; files about famous sports players during his coaching years; information about basketball history, as well as Allen’s mentor, James Naismith, the inventor of basketball; and much more. McClure visited with Allen’s grandchildren, Judy Allen Morris, and her brother, Gary “Mick” Allen Jr., in Lawrence, Kan. They provided him with original items such as a sign-in book of people who visited his home; letters and copies of letters from his former players; and copies of letters he had written to players during the war years. Mrs. Morris, who was contacted along with her brother before the gift was made, said both of them are pleased that Central will make these items available. They want others to learn more about their grandfather’s legacy, possibly with the same passion that McClure enjoyed. “Art McClure was so dear, and I really felt that he understood the essence of Phog. I was so excited that someone was going to write something that was about the man. He was very important in making basketball an international as well as national sport,” Morris said. Born in Jamesport in 1885, Allen’s career in athletics began as a student at KU in 1904, where he lettered three years in basketball under Naismith’s coaching, and two years in baseball. Allen launched his coaching career at his alma mater in 1908, but took a hiatus after graduating in 1909 to study osteopathic medicine. When basketball was still in its infancy, he returned to his beloved sport in 1912 as coach at the State Normal School No. 2, now Central Missouri State University. Known as “Doc” to his players and students, he was reputed to be a colorful figure on the campus, coaching all sports and becoming known for his osteopathic remedies for ailing athletes. His enthusiasm as a coach was evidenced by his first gridiron victory, a 127-0 thrashing of Kemper Military Academy. His football, basketball and baseball teams won numerous league championships during his seven years in Warrensburg, at a time when the MIAA was just beginning. In 1919, he returned to KU where he was the head basketball coach, in addition to serving as director of athletics and football coach. He served as KU’s basketball coach until forced into mandatory retirement in 1956 to become professor emeritus of physical education. During the 46 years he spent at KU, he won 771 games and lost only 233. 

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