Basketball Wiki
Kansas Jayhawks
Team information
Division Division I
Conference Big Twelve Conference
Inaugural season 1898
Arena Allen Fieldhouse
City Lawrence, Kansas
Team colors Blue, Crimson
Mascot Big Jay Jayhawk
Head coach Bill Self
Tournament information

The Kansas Jayhawks program is the basketball program of the University of Kansas. The program is classified in the NCAA's Division I, and the team competes in the Big 12 Conference. Widely considered one of the most storied programs in collegiate sports history, their first coach was the inventor of the game, James Naismith. In 2005, Street & Smith's Annual ranked KU 4th on a list of 100 greatest college basketball programs of all time and in 2008, ESPN ranked KU 2nd on a list of the most prestigious programs of the modern college basketball era.


Perhaps no program in the world has as many ties to the foundation and history of the sport as the University of Kansas. From Dr. James Naismith's early development, to Phog Allen's modernization of the game, to the team's enormous success in recent decades, Kansas basketball is interwoven to each step of the sport's identity.

The program has enjoyed considerable national success, having been selected Helms Foundation National Champions in 1922 and 1923, winning NCAA national championships in 1952, 1988, and 2008, playing in 13 Final Fours, and being regularly ranked in the AP Top 25 college basketball poll. Kansas ranks third all-time in NCAA Division I (behind Kentucky and North Carolina) with 1,943 wins (as of April 7, 2008), against only 785 losses (.712 winning %, 4th all-time). This record includes a 616-106 (.853) mark at historic Allen Fieldhouse. The Jayhawks are also second in NCAA history with eighty-nine winning seasons and have reached the Final Four under more head coaches (six) than any other program in the nation. A perennial conference powerhouse, Kansas leads all universities with 51 regular-season conference titles in 100 years of conference play through the 2007-2008 regular season, two more than the second place Kentucky Wildcats. The Jayhawks have won a record eight conference titles and a record six conference tournament titles in the 12 years of the Big 12's existence. The program also owns the best Big 12 records in both those areas with a 158-34 record in conference play and a 25-6 record in tournament play.

Naismith and early years[]

The men's basketball program officially began in 1898, following the arrival of James Naismith to the school, just six years after Naismith penned the sport's first official rules. Naismith was not initially hired to coach basketball, but rather as a chapel director and physical education instructor.

In these early days, the majority of the games were played against nearby YMCA teams, with YMCA's across the nation having played in integral part in the birth of basketball. Other common opponents were Haskell Indian Nations University and William Jewell College. Under Naismith, the team played only three current Big 12 schools: Nebraska (six times), Missouri (twice), and Kansas State (once). Naismith was, ironically, the only coach in the program's history to have a losing record (55-60).

Including his years as coach, Naismith served as athletic director and faculty at the school for a total of almost 40 years before retiring in 1937. Naismith died in 1939 and was buried in Lawrence, KS.

Phog Allen era[]

In 1907, KU hired one of Naismith's players, Dr. Forrest C. "Phog" Allen as head coach. Naismith provided Allen with a now infamous piece of wisdom: "You can't coach basketball; you just play it". Allen would set out to prove the adage wrong and later be called the "Father of Basketball Coaching", having passed on his knowledge of the game to some of the most well-respected names in the history of college basketball, including National Basketball Hall of Fame coaches Adolph Rupp, Dean Smith, Dutch Lonborg, John McLendon, and Ralph Miller.

Allen coached the team from 1907-09, but William O. Hamilton coached from 1909-1919, with Allen taking over again in 1919. The team went 125-59 and won 5 conference championships under Hamilton's direction.

Allen coached KU for a total of 49 seasons and amassed a record of 590-219, with two Helms Foundation national titles and one NCAA Tournament championship in 1952. Numerous basketball greats would play at Kansas during Allen's era, including Dean Smith, Adolph Rupp, Dutch Lonborg, and Ralph Miller (all future Hall of Fame coaches), Paul Endacott, Bill Johnson, and Clyde Lovellette (Hall of Fame players) and even former United States Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole.

The modern NCAA tournament got it's start under Allen's direction. Allen created the National Association of Basketball Coaches, which went on the create the tournament format and later pass it's organization on to the NCAA.

In 1952, the Jayhawks won the national title with a 80-63 victory in the final game over St. John's, coached by Frank McGuire. Clyde Lovellette of Kansas was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player. This tournament was the first to have a true "Final Four" format. Seven members of the championship team represented the United States in the 1952 Olympics and brought home a gold medal for the national basketball team. This was especially poignant for Allen, as he had been the driving force for having basketball added to the Olympics in 1936.

Harp and Chamberlain[]

Following Allen's retirement, the Jayhawks hired former KU player and assistant, Dick Harp. Under Harp the Jayhawks went 121-82 with two conference titles and two NCAA tournament berths.

Wilt Chamberlain played his varsity years under Harp, making his job a rather easy one for the first two seasons. In his first varsity game, Chamberlain scored 52 points and grabbed 31 rebounds, breaking both all-time college records in a 87–69 win against the Northwestern. In 1957, he led the Jayhawks to championship game against North Carolina. Carolina triple-teamed chamberlain and as a result KU was defeated, 54-53 in triple overtime. The game is considered one of the greatest in NCAA history, even today. Chamberlain continued to average 30+ points per game until leaving KU early to play professionally with the Harlem Globetrotters.

Ted Owens era[]

Ted Owens took over for Harp in 1964 and would go 348-128 during his tenure and won six Big Eight Conference titles.

The team advanced to NCAA postseason play seven times under Owens. The 1971 team went 27-3 and advanced to the Final Four before losing to UCLA. In 1974 the team went 23-7 and again advanced to the Final Four before losing to Marquette.

During this era the program produced all-Americans such as Jo Jo White, Bud Stallworth, Darnell Valentine, and Dave Robisch.

Larry Brown years[]

In 1983, Larry Brown began his tenure at the University of Kansas, after coaching in the NBA. Under Brown, Kansas finished first in the Big Eight in 1986, and second in 1984, 1985, and 1987. In 1988, Kansas got off to a mediocre 12-8 start, including 1-4 in the Big 8, and the end of the Jayhawks' 55-game homecourt winning streak in Allen Fieldhouse. Ultimately, behind the high-scoring of Danny Manning, KU finished 27-11 and won the the national championship in 1988, defeating favored conference rival Oklahoma 83-79 in the final. The win garnered the team the nickname "Danny and the Miracles". During Brown's tenure, Kansas had five NCAA Tournament appearances, three Sweet 16 appearances, two trips to the Final Four, and a 135-44 (.754) record. Brown left under a cloud, as NCAA sanctions and a postseason probation were levied against Kansas in the 1988-1989 season as a result of recruiting violations that took place during Brown's tenure.

Roy Williams era[]

Shortly following Brown's departure, Kansas hired then North Carolina assistant Roy Williams as head coach.

From 1988-2003, under the direction of Williams, the Jayhawks had a record of 418-101, a .805 winning percentage. Williams' Kansas teams averaged 27.8 wins per season. Except for his first season at Kansas (when the team was on probation), all of Williams' teams made the NCAA tournament. From 1990 to 1999 Kansas compiled a 286-60 record, the best win-loss record of any team in the decade. From 1994 to 1998, the Jayhawks won 62 consecutive home games at Allen Fieldhouse, which was the longest such streak in the NCAA at the time. The seniors of 1998 (Raef LaFrentz, Billy Thomas, and C.B. McGrath) went 58-0 at home during their KU careers.

Kansas won nine regular-season conference championships over his last 13 years. In seven years of Big 12 Conference play, his teams went 94-18, capturing the regular-season title in 1997, 1998, 2002 and 2003 and the postseason tournament crown in 1997, 1998 and 1999. In 2001-02, KU became the first, and so far only, team to go undefeated (16-0) in Big 12 play. From 1995-98, Kansas was a combined 123-17 - an average of 30.8 wins per season. Williams' teams went 201-17 (.922) in Allen Fieldhouse, and won 62 consecutive games in Allen from February 1994 to December 1998. Kansas was a regular in the Associated Press Top 25 from 1991 to 1999, placing in the poll for 145 consecutive weeks. Williams' teams were ranked in the Top 10 in 194 AP polls from 1990.

Kansas led the nation in field goal percentage and scoring in 2002 and in scoring margin in 2003; they held opponents to the lowest field goal percentage in the country in 2001 (37.8 percent); led the nation in winning percentage in 1997 and 2002; shot better than 50 percent from the floor for the season seven times; and led the country in field goal percentage in 1990 at 53.3 percent, and in 2002 at 50.6 percent; shot a combined 49.4 percent from the floor in 15 seasons; led the nation in assists in 2001 and 2002 and was seventh in the nation in 2003; scored 100 or more points 71 times (once every 13 games); averaged 82.7 points per game in 15 years; averaged 90 or more points in two seasons (92.1 in 1990 and 90.9 in 2002).

The Jayhawks were in the AP Top 25 in 242 of 268 weekly polls. Kansas reached the No. 1 ranking in the country in six different seasons and was ranked at least No. 2 in the nation in 11 of the 15 seasons.

Under Williams, the team had several deep runs in the NCAA Tournament, making it to four Final Fours and appearing in the national championship game in both 1991 and 2003, losing both, to Duke and Syracuse respectively. Amidst the tournament successes, there were plenty of woes. The 1996-97 team was said by many to be one of the greatest teams in history, featuring future NBA players such as Paul Pierce, Jacque Vaughn, Raef LaFrentz, and Scot Pollard. The team was upset in the Sweet Sixteen by the eventual champion, Arizona Wildcats.

Following the national championship loss in 2003, Williams left Kansas and returned to coach at North Carolina.

Bill Self years[]

Bill Self introduced as the new head coach for the 2003-04 season and in his first season at Kansas. Self inherited Williams' players and recruits, which often caused turmoil as the style of play differed between the two coaches. None-the-less, Self led his new Kansas team to the Elite Eight at the NCAA tournament his first year.

The next two seasons did not end on such a high note. Big things were expected of an experience KU in 2004-05, led by seniors Wayne Simien, Keith Langford, and Aaron Miles. They began the season ranked #1 and started off 20-1, but then they slumped and lost six of their final nine games, including a loss to Bucknell in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. The team finished 23-7 and settled for a Big 12 co-championship with Oklahoma.

In 2005-06, little was expected of the freshman/sophomore dominated Jayhawks, and they began the season 10-6, including 1-2 in the Big 12. Although they did post a 73-46 win over Kentucky, they also saw the end of their 31-game winning streak over rival Kansas State with a 59-55 loss at Allen Fieldhouse, and two nights later blew a seven point lead in the final 45 seconds of regulation en route to a 89-86 overtime loss at Missouri. But afterward, the Jayhawks matured rapidly, winning 15 of their final 17 games and avenging the losses to both Kansas State and Missouri. KU played as the #2 seed in the Big 12 Tournament in Dallas, and avenged an ealier loss to Texas with a 80-68 victory over the Longhorns in the final to clinch the Tournament championship and the highlight win of the season. KU was handed a #4 seed for the NCAA Tournament but stumbled again in the first round with a loss to the Bradley Braves.

In the 2006-07 season, Self led Kansas to the 2007 Big 12 regular season championship with a 14-2 record, highlighted by beating the Kevin Durant-led Texas Longhorns in monumental come-from-behind victories in the last game of the regular season and in the Big 12 Championship game. At the end of the regular season, Kansas stood at 27-4 and ranked #2 in the nation in both the AP and Coaches' polls. Kansas received a number 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, but their tournament run ended in the Elite Eight with a loss to 2-seed UCLA.

In the 2007-2008 season, Self's Kansas team began the season 20-0 until they suffered their first loss at Kansas State. The Jayhawks won the Big 12 regular season title and the Big 12 conference tourney. They received a number one seeding in NCAA Tournament in the MidWest division. On March 30, 2008, Self lead Kansas to a win in an Elite Eight game over upstart Davidson College. KU won by two, 59-57. The Jayhawks played overall number 1 tournament seed North Carolina in the semifinals, defeating them 84-66. They then triumphed over Memphis to claim the national title in a 75-68 overtime victory in the NCAA Championship Game on April 7, 2008.

Rank in Notable Areas[]

Category Rank Stat
All-Time Wins 2nd 2,101
All-time win % 3rd .721
National Championships (includes Helms Titles) 3rd-T 5
NCAA Tournament Titles 6th-T 3
NCAA Title Game Appearances 4th-T 9
NCAA Final Fours 5th 14
NCAA Tournament Bids 4th 42
NCAA Tournament Wins 4th 97
NCAA Tournament Win % 6th .699
Conference Championships 1st 57

Notable games[]

  • In the NCAA title game in 1957, Wilt Chamberlain and Kansas fell to the North Carolina Tar Heels 54-53 in triple overtime in what many consider to be the greatest NCAA Championship game ever played. Feeling that he let down the fans and his teammates, Chamberlain would not return to Lawrence and Allen Fieldhouse until January 17, 1998, to see his jersey retired.
  • On December 9, 1989, AP #2 Kansas beat Kentucky 150-95 in Allen Fieldhouse. Kansas started the game hot and was in obvious control prior to halftime, Kentucky's Rick Pitino used all of his team's six timeouts before the half ended. After the break, Kansas coach Roy Williams started the second rotation players and subbed in the remaining players on the roster often, leaving the starting five players on the bench. When Pitino continued to have his first string players use a full-court pressure defense against the Kansas back-ups, Williams (reportedly following an obscene gesture made towards Pitino), called a timeout and told his team that the starting five players would be going back into the game and that they were to run up the score as high as possible. Two technical fouls were called on Pitino, the first for throwing a towel onto the court, the second for arguing a call with an official. Following the game, Pitino told the assembled media that he would never schedule Kansas again. The 150 points scored by the Jayhawks set the school record for most points scored in a game, and the team's 80 first-half points set the record for most points scored in a half.
  • On March 3, 2007, Kansas recorded its 1,900th all-time program victory and won its 50th conference title against the Kevin Durant-led Texas Longhorns, 90-86. Texas led 54-42 at the half and led by as many as 16 early in the game.
  • On April 7, 2008, in one of the most memorable NCAA National Championship games ever, the Kansas Jayhawks defeated the Memphis Tigers 75-68 in overtime to become the 2008 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament Champions. Mario Chalmers made a 3-point shot with 2.1 seconds remaining, bringing the 'Hawks all the way back from a 60-51 deficit with two minutes remaining. The Jayhawks then outscored the Tigers 12-5 in overtime to capture their 3rd NCAA title, and 5th overall, including the Helms Foundation Championships in 1922 and 1923. Chalmers finished with 18 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists, and 4 steals, and was chosen the Most Outstanding Player at the Final Four, the fifth Jayhawk all-time to be selected FF MOP.
  • On March 11, 2010, the Jayhawks defeated Texas Tech 80-68 in the quarterfinals of the Big 12 Basketball Tournament in Kansas City for the 2000th win in school history. Only 2 other teams in the nation have achieved this accomplishment, Kentucky and North Carolina.


Years Coach Record Percent Notes
1898 - 1907 Dr. James Naismith 55-60 .478 Retired
1907-09, 1919-56 Dr. Forrest "Phog" Allen 590-219 .730 Retired
1909-19 William O. Hamilton 125-59 .679 Resigned
1956-64 Dick Harp 121-82 .596 Resigned
1964-83 Ted Owens 348-182 .657 Fired
1983-88 Larry Brown 135-44 .754 Accepted position as Head Coach of the San Antonio Spurs
1988-03 Roy Williams 418-101 .805 Accepted position as Head Coach at North Carolina
2003-Present Bill Self 142-32 .816 -

All-Time Record: 1,943-785 (.712)


Allen Fieldhouse (1955-Present)

Hoch Auditorium (1927-1955)
Hoch Auditorium was 3,500 seat multi-purpose arena in Lawrence, Kansas. It opened in 1927. It was home to the University of Kansas Jayhawks basketball teams until the Allen Fieldhouse opened in 1955.

Many of Hoch's nicknames during the basketball years were "Horrible Hoch" and "The House of Horrors." Such nicknames were in reference to the difficulty opposing teams had in dealing with the tight area surrounding the court and the curved walls and decorative lattice work directly behind the backboards. The curvature of the walls made the backboards appear to be moving causing opponents to miss free throws.

On June 15, 1991, Hoch Auditorium was struck by lightning. The auditorium and stage area were completely destroyed. Only the limestone facade and lobby area were spared. When reconstruction of the building was complete, the rear half of the building was named Budig Hall, for then KU Chancellor Gene Budig. The name on the facade was altered to reflect the presence of three large auditorium-style lecture halls within the building: Hoch Auditoria.

Robinson Gymnasium (1907-1927)
Robinson Gym was the first athletic building on the KU campus and featured a 2,500 seat auditorium used for basketball purposes. The building was demolished in 1967.

Prior to 1907
Before 1907 the Jayhawks played in various venues, ranging from the basement of the original Snow Hall (even though the ceiling was only 14 feet high) to the skating rink at the local YMCA. Although a current campus building bears the same name, the original Snow Hall was demolished in 1934.

Record vs. Big 12 Opponents[]

Overall Record at Lawrence at Opponent's
at Neutral Site Last 5 Meetings Last 10 Meetings Current Streak Since Beginning
of Big 12
Baylor KU, 21-4 KU, 11-0 KU, 8-2 BU, 0-2 KU, 3-2 KU, 7-3 L 1 KU, 17-4
Colorado KU, 122-40 KU, 58-7 KU, 37-26 KU, 20-6 KU, 5-0 KU, 10-0 W 11 KU, 24-1
Iowa State KU, 164-58 KU, 84-15 KU, 63-36 KU, 17-7 KU, 5-0 KU, 8-2 W 6 KU, 19-7
Kansas State KU, 175-90 KU, 79-35 KU, 71-44 KU, 25-11 KU, 4-1 KU, 8-2 W 1 KU, 28-2
Missouri KU, 166-93 KU, 85-33 KU, 63-53 KU, 18-7 KU, 5-0 KU, 8-2 W 5 KU, 19-8
Nebraska KU, 164-71 KU, 85-23 KU, 60-44 KU, 19-4 KU, 5-0 KU, 10-0 W 11 KU, 25-3
Oklahoma KU, 133-64 KU, 68-16 KU, 45-40 KU, 20-8 KU, 4-1 KU, 6-4 W 4 KU, 12-4
Oklahoma State KU, 101-52 KU, 55-10 KU, 33-30 KU, 13-12 KU, 3-2 KU, 7-3 L 1 KU, 12-5
Texas KU, 15-6 KU, 8-0 UT, 5-3 KU, 4-1 KU, 4-1 KU, 6-4 W 1 KU, 11-5
Texas A&M KU, 13-1 KU, 6-1 KU, 6-0 KU, 1-0 KU, 4-1 KU, 9-1 W 2 KU, 12-1
Texas Tech KU, 17-3 KU, 10-0 KU, 6-3 KU, 1-0 KU, 3-2 KU, 8-2 W 1 KU, 10-3

Post-season results[]

Men's regular season conference championships[]

The Jayhawks have won 52 conference championships since their inception. The Jayhawks have belonged to the Big 12 Conference since it formed before the 1996–97 season. Before that, the Jayhawks have belonged to the Missouri Valley Intercollegiate Athletic Association from the 1907–08 to 1927–28 seasons, the Big Six Conference from 1928–29 to 1946–47, the Big Seven Conference from 1947–48 to 1957–58, the Big Eight Conference from 1958–59 up until the end of the 1995–96 season. It should be noted that the Big Six and Big Seven conferences were actually the more often used names of the Missouri Valley Intercollegiate Athletic Association, which existed under that official name until 1964, when it was changed to the Big Eight.

Missouri Valley Intercollegiate Athletic Association (13)

  • 1908, 1909, 1910, 1911, 1912, 1914, 1915, 1922, 1923, 1924, 1925, 1926, 1927

Big Six Conference (12)

  • 1931, 1932, 1933, 1934, 1936, 1937, 1938, 1940, 1941, 1942, 1943, 1946

Big Seven Conference (5)

  • 1950, 1952, 1953, 1954, 1957

Big Eight Conference (13)

  • 1960, 1966, 1967, 1971, 1974, 1975, 1978, 1986, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1995, 1996

Big 12 Conference (10)

  • 1997, 1998, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010

Final Four history[]

  • 1940-Finalist
  • 1952-Champion
  • 1953-Finalist
  • 1957-Finalist
  • 1971-Semifinalist
  • 1974-Semifinalist
  • 1986-Semifinalist
  • 1988-Champion
  • 1991-Finalist
  • 1993-Semifinalist
  • 2002-Semifinalist
  • 2003-Finalist
  • 2008-Champion

Men's NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player[]

1952 Championship Results[]

1952 NCAA Tournament Results
Round Opponent Score
Round #1 TCU Horned Frogs 68-64
Round #2 St. Louis Billikens 74-55
Final 4 Santa Clara University 74-55
Championship St. John's University 80-63

1988 Championship Results[]

  • The 1988 Jayhawks, at 27-11, had the lowest win/loss percentage (.710) and most losses of any team to win the national championship.
1988 NCAA Tournament Results
Round Opponent Score
Round #1 Xavier Musketeers 85-72
Round #2 Murray State Racers 61-58
Sweet 16 Vanderbilt Commodores 77-64
Elite 8 Kansas State Wildcats 71-58
Final 4 Duke Blue Devils 66-59
Championship Oklahoma Sooners 83-79

2008 Championship Results[]

  • The 2008 Jayhawks, at 37-3, had the most wins of any team to win the national championship. This means the program holds the records for both the most losses (11 in 1988) and most wins (37 in 2008) in a season of any national champion.
2008 NCAA Tournament Results
Round Opponent Score
Round #1 Portland State Vikings 85-61
Round #2 UNLV Runnin' Rebels 75-56
Sweet 16 Villanova Wildcats 72-57
Elite 8 Davidson College 59-57
Final 4 North Carolina Tar Heels 84-66
Championship Memphis Tigers 75-68 (OT)

External links[]