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Phog Allen: The Father of Basketball Coaching

Most people know the origins of basketball; how in the winter of 1891 James Naismith invented the game to keep students active in the winter. But what most people do not know is how coaching the game of basketball got started. In the early days of basketball most teams did not have a coach as there was very little strategy to the game - most players relied on their athletic prowess rather than their brains to score. Even the games inventor, James Naismith, did not believe that basketball needed coaching. In his word you "Just play the game". But as the game got more popular players started figuring out how to manipulate the outcome of the game by doing things to prevent the other team from scoring; such as zone defenses.

There were many early attempts at coaching in basketball, even the games inventor was coaching, but the most impactful early coaching advocate was Forrest "Phog" Allen. Allen was a multi-sport star athlete who was mentored by Naismith at the University of Kansas. After graduating from Kansas, Allen took a few years off of basketball to become a doctor.

Allen got his first coaching job in 1905 at Baker University in Kanas. Allen was Baker's coach while he was still attending and playing for the University of Kansas. Allen would also coach both Kansas and Baker at the same time during the 1907-08 season. The 07-08 season would be Allen's last at Baker, he would leave having won 45 games and only losing 9 games.

Under Allen's tutorage the Jayhawks of Kansas would win two Missouri Valley Intercollegiate Athletic Association titles while compiling a 43-9 record. Allen surprised many when he left Kansas after just two seasons to pursue his education.

After 3 years away from coaching Allen would be hired on at Warrensburg Teachers College, now the University of Central Missouri. Allen seen immediate success at Warrensburg winning two conference titles in his first two seasons, but would not win another conference title in his next 5 seasons at Warrensburg. Allen would coach seven years at Warrensburg compiling am 84-31 record.

In 1919 Allen would get his last coaching job, a job he would hold until 1956, at the University of Kansas. Allen became a star on campus because of his friendly clam yet stern demeanor and earned the nickname Phog because of his foghorn like voice. He would also change the culture of Kansas athletics and make them into an athletic powerhouse.

The Jayhawks would win back-to-back Helms championships in 1922 and 1923, and Kansas would win conference titles from 1922 until 1927. In Allen's 37 year tenure with Kansas the Jayhawks would win 22 conference titles and would win the 1952 NCAA National Title.

In 1955 and 56 Allen recruited the highly talented Wilt Chamberlain to Kansas, but would never get to coach Chamberlain. Allen retired following the 1955-56 season at 70 years old. A lot of people felt that he was forced out because of his age, none the less he remained active at the University of Kansas.

Allen compiled a 590-219 record at Kansas and finished his coaching career with 746 wins and just 264 losses, which was the most wins by a head coach in NCAA history when he retired. Phog Allen would die in 1974 at age 88.

Season	Team                    Overall	Conf.  Standing	Postseason
1905-06	Baker			183			
1906-07	Baker			140			
1907-08	Baker			136					
190708	Kansas			186	60	1st (North)	
190809	Kansas			253	82	1st (North)	
190809	Haskell			275				
191213	Warrensburg Teachers	117	60	1st	
191314	Warrensburg Teachers	154	91	1st	
191415	Warrensburg Teachers	134			
191516	Warrensburg Teachers	94			
191617	Warrensburg Teachers	132			
191718	Warrensburg Teachers	94			
191819	Warrensburg Teachers	146			
191920	Kansas			107	97	3rd	
192021	Kansas			108	108	4th	
192122	Kansas			162	151	T-1st	Helms National Champion
192223	Kansas			171	160	1st	Helms National Champion
192324	Kansas			163	151	1st	
192425	Kansas			171	151	1st	
192526	Kansas			162	162	1st	
192627	Kansas			152	102	1st	
192728	Kansas			99	99	4th	
192829	Kansas			315	28	T-5th	
192930	Kansas			144	72	2nd	
193031	Kansas			153	73	1st	
193132	Kansas			135	73	1st	
193233	Kansas			134	82	1st	
193334	Kansas			161	91	1st	
193435	Kansas			155	124	2nd	
193536	Kansas			212	100	1st	
193637	Kansas			154	82	T-1st	
193738	Kansas			182	91	1st	
193839	Kansas			137	64	3rd	
193940	Kansas			196	82	T-1st	NCAA Runner-up
194041	Kansas			126	73	T-1st	
194142	Kansas			175	82	T-1st	NCAA Quarterfinal Round
194243	Kansas			226	100	1st	
194344	Kansas			179	55	3rd	
194445	Kansas			125	73	2nd	
194546	Kansas			192	100	1st	
194647	Kansas			85	
194748	Kansas			915	48	T-6th	
194849	Kansas			1212	39	T-6th	
194950	Kansas			1411	84	T-1st	
195051	Kansas			168	84	T-2nd	
195152	Kansas			283	111	1st	NCAA Champion
195253	Kansas			196	102	1st	NCAA Runner-up
195354	Kansas			165	102	T-1st	
195455	Kansas			1110	57	5th	
195556	Kansas			149	66	5th
 
Baker:	                 45 - 9 (.833)
Haskell:	         27 - 5 (.844)
Warrensburg Teachers:	 84 -31 (.730)	
Kansas:	                590-219 (.729)	
Total:	                746-264 (.739)