KU Basketball: Ranking Jayhawks Eight Head Coaches All-Time

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Kansas Jayhawks head coach Bill Self – Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

KU basketball first started play in 1898. Since that hardwood debut, there have been only eight head coaches for the Jayhawks.

The Kansas Jayhawks currently have the second most wins in college basketball history. Through the 2016-2017 season, the Jayhawks have 2,217 victories, 20 behind Kentucky, and 11 ahead of North Carolina.

Not only did the game’s inventor, Dr. James Naismith, coach the Jayhawks, but the inventor of basketball coaching, Forrest “Phog” Allen strolled the sidelines for 50 total seasons on Mount Oread.

In fact, programs like Kentucky and North Carlina are directly linked to Kansas and Phog Allen. The Tarheels’ Dean Smith, who won 879 games (fourth all-time), played for Allen in the 1950s. Adolph Rupp coached at Kentucky and won 876 contests (sixth all-time).

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Ralph Miller, who won 674 games (23rd all-time) at Wichita State, Iowa, and Oregon State also played for Allen at Kansas. Current coaches Larry Brown and Roy Williams mentored under Dean Smith at North Carolina before coaching Kansas.

The Kansas Jayhawks currently have the second most wins in college basketball history.

John McClendon, who won 496 games in his college days at smaller schools, and is considered the father of the fast break by many, studied under Naismith while he attended Kansas in the 1930s.

Because of segregation issues at the time, McClendon, who was African American, never played ball for the Jayhawks but was mentored by Naismith, who was still a faculty member at Kansas.

Even successful current head coaches such as Bill Self and John Calipari worked as assistants at Kansas before getting their breaks.

In fact, programs like Kentucky and North Carlina are directly linked to Kansas and Phog Allen.

With this incredible history in mind, and keeping with the fact that in 117 seasons of KU basketball history, the fact that only eight men have served as head coach is astonishing.

Of the eight coaches, only one was officially fired from the position, and only one other left for another college position. Four have more than 340 wins, and four won more than 70 percent of their games.

It is an incredibly short list, but here are your eight head coaches for the Kansas Jayhawks.

(Updated on 11/21/17)

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