Forrest "Phog" Allen,
Basketball Coach

Forrest "Phog" Allen, D.O. (November 18, 1885 – September 16, 1974) was an American collegiate basketball coach known as the "Father of Basketball Coaching." His basketball career got off to an auspicious start as a University of Kansas letterman under Dr. James Naismith, the inventor of basketball.


Allen was born in Jamesport, Missouri, Allen coached at the University of Kansas, Baker University, Haskell Institute, and Warrensburg Teachers College. Allen’s career in athletics began as a student at the University of Kansas in 1904, where he lettered three years in basketball under James Naismith's coaching, and two years in baseball. At Kansas he was also a member of Phi Kappa Psi Fraternity. Allen launched his coaching career at his alma mater in 1907, but took a hiatus after graduating in 1909 to study osteopathic medicine. Known as “Doc” to his players and students, he was reputed to be a colorful figure on the University of Kansas campus, coaching all sports and becoming known for his osteopathic manipulation techniques for ailing athletes. Allen was a legend in the field of treatment of athletic injuries and benefitted a long list of high-profile performers. He also had a successful private osteopathic practice, and many he treated, the famous and otherwise, contend he had a "magic touch" for such ailments as bad backs, knees and ankles. He said he applied the same treatments to "civilians" as he did to his athletes.

Allen returned to KU in 1919, and soon replaced William O. Hamilton as the basketball head coach. He would remain KU's head coach until 1956. His legacy is forever etched into Kansas basketball history. In 39 seasons at KU, Allen won an amazing 590 games, leading Kansas to the 1952 NCAA national championship. Allen was instrumental in founding the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC), and he served as the organization's first president.

His forceful, yet reasonable, disposition helped him become the driving force behind basketball becoming accepted as an official sport in the Olympics in 1936. Allen would later coach in the 1952 Summer Olympics, leading the United States to the gold medal in Helsinki, Finland.

He coached college basketball for 49 seasons, and compiled a 771-233 record, retiring as the all-time best record coach in collegiate basketball history at the time. During his tenure at Kansas, Allen coached both Dean Smith and Adolph Rupp, two of the best coaches in men's college basketball history, and (as of 2006), two of only four men's coaches to surpass his win total, the other two being Bobby Knight and Eddie Sutton. He also coached former United States Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole. Allen Fieldhouse, the basketball arena on the campus of the University of Kansas, is named in his honor.

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