OLD ROBINSON GYM (1907-1927)



On December 13th, 1907 Kansas defeated Ottawa by a score 66-22 in the dedication game of Robinson Gymnasium. Robinson had replaced Snow Hall as the official home court for Kansas. Prior to this the Jayhawks played few home games and often practiced at various YMCA's. Large pillars in the middle of the court hindered the players attempting to run up and down the court. Additionally Snow Hall had 11 foot ceilings - just one foot over the basket - until James Naismith had the floor lowered five feet. The brand spankin new Robinson was very impressive, costing $100,000 and with the ability to hold more than 3,000 fans in the third floor main gymnasium.

This game was also the official debut of new head coach Forrest "Phog" Allen. Allen split his time between Haskell, Baker, and Kansas that season. Phog left Kansas in 1909 but returned in 1920 - full time. He remained head coach for 36 years.

Robinson was also the site of another historic event on December 15, 1924. Before fans and alumni ever dreamed of logging on and checking up on the Jayhawks via a computer, radio ruled. KFKU sent out its first broadcast from Robinson.



Dr. James Naismith, the inventor of the game of basketball, had orchestrated the construction of Robinson Gym ? which was designed to appear like the Springfield, Mass., YMCA where Naismith brought basketball into being.

The Robinson facility was an outstanding facility for its day: There were 1,500 lockers, a swimming pool and 3,000 seats for spectators.

Robinson Gym was dedicated in December 1907, a time which also marked the debut of Forrest C. "Phog" Allen as KU's head basketball coach. In Allen's first game, the Jayhawks posted a 66-22 victory over Ottawa University and Allen inaugurated a 39-year KU coaching career that saw him retire as an athletic icon.

MANY BEAUTIFUL VIEWS COULD BE SEEN from the windows of old Robinson gymnasium and from the top of the fire escape, when it was completed in 1907. From the south side, the view swept over the Wakarusa Valley to the south, and beyond to the Pleasant Grove hill, with nothing to break it but farmland. To the southeast, was Haskell Institute, and beyond that Blue Mound, and to the west, the Daisy Field. The view from the north windows took in the town of Lawrence, the Kaw river, and the valley stretching for ten miles to the hills.