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All-Time Victories

The Kansas-Kentucky-North Carolina Connection

Kansas Basketball

A Tradition Unmatched

When you think of "The Bluebloods", Kansas, Kentucky and North Carolina probably come to mind. Not all fans are aware of and appreciate the connection and ties that North Carolina and Kentucky has to Kansas.

While all three have rich histories and many, many accomplishments, Kansas history goes back to when Dr. James Naismith (the inventor of the game) became the first coach of KU "basket ball". One of the young men that played for Naismith was Phog Allen, who after graduating, announced to his coach that he was going to go to another university to be their coach. Dr. Naismith purportedly replied "You don't COACH basket ball, you PLAY basket ball". Dr. Naismith coached Kansas for 9 years and is the only Kansas coach to have a career losing record. Dr. Naismith is buried in Lawrence and his original 13 rules of "basket ball" reside at the DeBruce Center on the campus of the University of Kansas.

Dr. Phog Allen showed Dr. Naismith that he could really coach basketball by winning 746 games during his career, most of which while the coach of the Jayhawks. His 746 victories were the most for a division I college coach at that time. They named the place where Kansas plays their games after their coach: Allen Fieldhouse.

While coaching at Kansas, Coach Allen had a kid on his team named Adolf Rupp (Halstead, KS native). He later became a coach at Kentucky, winning 876 games and HE became the winningest coach in Division I college basketball. They named the place where the Wildcats play their games after him: Rupp Arena.

Also while coaching for Kansas, Coach Allen had another young man named Dean Smith (Emporia, KS native) who went on to coach the North Carolina Tar Heels, winning 879 games, and HE became the winningest coach in Division I college basketball. They named the place where the Tar Heels play their games after him: The Dean Smith Center, also known as "The Dean Dome".

In fact, in seven of the last eight decades, the coach with the most wins in Division I college basketball history has belonged to a Kansas University graduate.

While some schools change coaches every few years, current Kansas Coach Bill Self is only the eighth coach of the Jayhawks. Although Coach Self got a lot of his basketball knowledge from the likes of Henry Iba and Eddie Sutton (Bucklin, KS native), since Coach Self spent some time at Kansas as an assistant coach under Larry Brown, you can trace his coaching roots clear back to the beginning of basketball: from Coach Brown, who played for and was an assistant coach under Dean Smith, who played for Kansas and was an assistant coach under Phog Allen, who played for Dr. James Naismith. Coach Self wons his 700th career game on Febrary 8,2020. Only 6 other coaches reached that number faster (1. Adolph Rupp, Jerry Tarkanian, Roy Williams, Dean Smith and John Calipari). Self did it 21 games faster than Kansas Coach Phog Allen. Self was also the 2nd youngest (Bob Knight).

Kansas has won more conference titles (61) than any other Division I school. They also won 14 conference championships in a row, another NCAA record. The Jayhawks also have an NCAA record 30 consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances. They hold the record for being in the Associated Press poll for over 200 consecutive weeks. Five of the eight Kansas coaches have been inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame: Dr. Naismith as a contributor, and coaches Dr. Allen, Larry Brown, Roy Williams and Bill Self.

Just as a side note, there's this nifty, little tidbit: The most points ever scored by a Kansas team was not by some obscure, unknown division I school, but instead, in 1989 when first year coach Roy Williams faced Kentuckys' first year coach Rick Pitino. Kansas scored 80 points IN THE FIRST HALF. Kansas eeked out a narrow victory and slipped by with a 150-95 win.

Kansas basketball history is long and has had an important impact on college basketball.


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