Kansas Basketball: Ranking Every Coach in Jayhawks' History
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Job security is hard to come by in present day college basketball but as the University of Kansas Jayhawks begin their 115th season, head coach Bill Self is only the eighth coach in the program's history.
In addition to Self, those that led the program to nearly 2,100 wins include iconic figures such as James Naismith, Forrest "Phog" Allen, Larry Brown and Roy Williams.
With five national championships and 58 First Team All-American selections, each of the eight coaches have left their mark on Kansas basketball.
8. Dick Harp
Following 37 seasons with Forrest "Phog" Allen at the helm of the Jayhawks, Dick Harp became the first answer to a two-part trivia question, but many forget he led a national runner-up Kansas team that finished 24-3 in his first season.
He was a player and assistant coach under Allen before taking over as head coach, teaching the game to All-Americans Wilt Chamberlain and Bill Bridges.
However, despite the national runner-up season in 1956-57, three of Harp's eight seasons ended with a sub-.500 record.
7. William O. Hamilton
William O. Hamilton is the second answer to the aforementioned two-part trivia question, as he was the head coach of the Jayhawks for ten seasons in-between the short two-year stint of "Phog" Allen and Allen's second four decade-long tenure.
Hamilton suffered only one loss in three of his ten seasons, but from 1915-1919 he finished below .500 twice, causing his final win-loss mark to land at 125-59.
6. James Naismith
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Yes, the inventor of the game of basketball and first coach in Lawrence is only the 6th best coach in Kansas history.
Schedules were structured significantly different at the turn of the century with competitive games difficult to come by, but a final record of 55-60 makes Naismith the only coach in KU history with a sub-.500 mark.
He taught "Phog" Allen the game that he created and paved the way for many basketball generations to come on Mount Oread.
5. Ted Owens
Two Final Four appearances and 348 career wins during a relatively forgotten era of Kansas hoops was a significant accomplishment for Ted Owens, but by the time Larry Brown replaced him on the sidelines, KU's title-less drought had swelled to 30 years.
Five All-Americans were groomed under Owens, including Jo Jo White, Bud Stallworth along with Wichita Heights graduate Darnell Valentine.
4. Larry Brown
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"There's no better place to coach. There's no better place to go to school. There's no better place to play."
Larry Brown's chilling quote still rings throughout Allen Fieldhouse during the pregame video but his 1988 national championship team carries the weight to his legacy at Kansas.
The Brown-led "Danny and the Miracles" team turned around a season that started 12-8 and grabbed a No. 6 seed in the NCAA Tournament before capturing KU's first banner since 1952.
3. Roy Williams
As ugly as the 2003 divorce between Kansas and Roy Williams was, he brought sustained success back to Lawrence, compiling over 400 victories in 16 seasons.
Four Final Four trips, nine conference titles, and multiple coach of the year awards are nothing to slouch at but that 16-year-marriage ended without a national championship to his name, with two losses in the title game (1991 and 2003).
Williams coached KU legends in Paul Pierce, Raef LaFrentz, and Jacque Vaughn before leaving for his alma mater, North Carolina, after the 2003 title game loss.
2. Bill Self
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Two devastating early exits in the NCAA Tournament have long been forgotten as Bill Self enters his tenth season as head coach of the Jayhawks.
Two Final Fours (2008, 2012) and one national championship in 2008 along with eight straight conference titles, combined with numerous mind-blowing program records, Self is arguably the best Kansas coach in a half-century.
Self has more conference titles (8) than home losses (7) in ten years and has led Julian Wright, Brandon Rush, Sherron Collins, and Mario Chalmers amongst many other future NBA players.
At 49, he may have the best chance of any active Division-I coach to catch Duke's Mike Krzyzewski.
1. Dr. Forrest "Phog" Allen
Photo: George Silk-Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images
Years: 1907-09, 1919-1956
Three national titles (1922, 1923,1952) and 590 career victories make "Phog" Allen the most successful coach in Kansas history. He transformed the program from a pioneer in college basketball to a consistently productive program for nearly 40 years.
The Jayhawks' home arena since his last season on campus (1955) bears his name and a banner created by students in 1988 reads, "Pay Heed, All Who Enter: Beware of the Phog" still hangs in the Booth Family Hall of Athletics.
Forrest "Phog" Allen, who studied under James Naismith, developed a new style of play during his first stint from 1907-09, and left his stamp on the game in Lawrence with a 36-year tenure that made him not only the greatest coach in Kansas history, but one of the greatest in sports history.