Hoop coaches rarely bolt KU

By Bill Mayer, KUSports.com,  Saturday, May 3, 2003

This is for trivia buffs. Officially, Bill Self is Kansas University's eighth men's basketball coach. Actually, there have been 10, and all but two left of their own volition.

The official eight: James Naismith, 1898-1907; William O. Hamilton, 1909-19; Phog Allen, 1907-09, then 1919-56; Dick Harp, 1956-64; Ted Owens, 1964-83; Larry Brown, 1983-88; Roy Williams, 1988-2003; Bill Self, 2003-.

The other two: Track coach Karl Schlademan for the first game of 1919-20 -- then Phog, also the athletic director, took over while Schlademan eagerly went back to track; All-American law student Howard Engleman, who posted an 8-6 record while filling in for the ailing Allen to finish the '47 season.

Schlademan's one-game tenure produced a 37-22 victory over Emporia State; he's the only unbeaten coach in KU court history. Schlademan was KU track coach from 1919 to 1926. He left for Michigan State where his cross-country teams won national titles in 1948, '49, '52, '55 and '56.

Allen, Schlademan and John Outland got the Kansas Relays going in 1923. Phog left here after the 1909 season to train as an osteopath. Then he ran up a 102-7 record in seven years at Warrensburg, Mo., State Teachers. He returned to Kansas in 1919 as athletic director, and resumed the role of basketball coach in January of '20.

Doc also was football and baseball coach for a while and sparked the building of Memorial Stadium. Otherwise, he didn't do much.

Basketball inventor Naismith had little taste for coaching. He was eager to step aside in favor of Allen. After Phog's two-year starting tenure, W.O. Hamilton did well, 125-59, five conference titles. Weary from carrying a heavy coaching load during personnel-short World War I, he stepped out in 1919 to focus on his local auto business. He died in 1951.

Up to Phog's '56 retirement, no KU cage coach had actually been fired. Former player and assistant Dick Harp took over for eight years. Dick officially resigned in 1964 to join the Fellowship of Christian Athletes; he knew he'd be replaced if he didn't leave. Then came 19 years of Ted Owens, 348-182. Ted was ousted and Larry Brown came in for the 1983-84 season.

Larry went 135-44, led the Jayhawks to the '88 national title, then accepted a lucrative San Antonio Spurs package ($3.5 million over five years with a million-dollar bonus). Roy Williams followed with 15 tremendous seasons and a 4-1 victory ratio. He's finally at home in North Carolina.

So of KU's unofficial 10 basketball coaches, only two were eased out or released. Kansas has not been nearly as friendly to its football coaches (more on that later).

l Just a thought about the merits of basketball free throws and how they have impacted KU. Departed coach Roy Williams was not noted for embracing ideas of outsiders. He often bristled when anyone was brazen enough to suggest his teams were not always effective from the gift stripe.

But even Roy had to admit the charity gap was harmful when his team knuckle-balled a 12-30 mark in the '03 national-title game.

Reflections: Bob Leonard's free throw gave Indiana a 69-68 win over Kansas in the '53 NCAA title game. Joe Quigg's two frees shoved North Carolina to a 54-53 triple-overtime victory in the '57 championship match. KU went 24-35 from the line while St. John's was a paltry 13-27 in KU's '52 trophy coup.

Danny Manning's four frees in the final minute cemented the 83-79 national-title victory over Oklahoma in 1988.

When Kansas played Duke for the national crown in 1991, Duke had a 20-28 free throw mark to KU's 4-8. The Blue Devils prevailed, 72-65.

Those unguarded 15-footers can be devastating when you're not canning them, particularly at tourney time. KU shot 66 percent as a team in 2002-03. Oh, had it done that well against Syracuse!

Roy would do well to turn heaven and earth to boost his Carolina free-throw offense. Otherwise, he might never win the coveted Big One at UNC, either.