Kansas basketball’s Allen Fieldhouse 60th Anniversary: Ted Owens


Allen Fieldhouse turns 60 this season. Kansas had an event that benefitted charity to honor the coaches and players that have played as Jayhawks over the years.

In the history of the Kansas basketball program, there have been eight coaches. Four of them are still alive, Ted Owens, Larry Brown, Roy Williams and Bill Self. All four were in attendance and spoke at the event on Monday evening.  Jay Bilas was the master of ceremonies, even though he played for Duke.

More from Kansas Jayhawks Basketball

Owens, now retired from coaching, coached at Kansas from 1964-1983. His overall record at Kansas was 348-182. His record at Allen Fieldhouse was 206-47.

In his 19 seasons at the helm, six of his teams made it to the NCAA Tournament. One team made it to the Sweet 16, one team to the Elite Eight and two teams to the Final Four. He won six Big Eight Conference titles and was named Big Eight Conference Coach of the Year five different times. He was named National Coach of the Year in 1978.

Some of the high-profile players Owens coached were Jo Jo White, Darnell Valentine, Dave Robisch, Bud Stallworth and Walt Wesley. Stallworth introduced Owens at the event on Monday.

Here are some of the things Owens talked about on Monday:

He still, even over 60 years later, swears that White’s foot wasn’t out of bounds against Texas Western. His rendition of the event is clear as day… Here’s his recount of the event 68 years later:

"“As unbiased as I am, and if you ask Jo Jo, he’ll say ‘Coach, I was in bounds’. The truth of the matter is, we were completely across the court from them. The worst thing that happened was that it went in, then the official, we were celebrating, we were out on the court, we’re on the way to the Final Four with a chance to win the national championship, a good chance to win the national championship. The official called it pretty late and today with all the camera angles you have, there’d be no question whether he was in or out of bounds.Based on the sequence of events leading up to the shot, it looked like he pivoted, but his heel never came down and it was above the plane, but his heel never came down and he never was out of bounds. The sequence of the shot shows clearly that the official never saw [unclear]. His vision was up all the time during the whole sequence of the shot and quite frankly, I think he saw where he landed, he floated after he landed and he called it based on that. But you only have so many chances to win national championships and we had a really, great opportunity to do that.What really aggravates me is when you saw the movie [Glory Road] the whole sequence was wrong. It occurred in the first overtime. We had the ball with seven seconds to go. Al Oates forced a charge and we get the ball back with the score tied. We had an out of bounds play that we usually ran in that circumstance. We decided we were going to get the ball in Jo Jo’s hands, clear everybody down and if they double off of him. We get it to Jo Jo and he penetrates and goes to the left and gets the shot at the gun. But they movie had it in the second overtime and had Texas Western up by one and then when they disallowed it and they ended the game.But that wasn’t what bothered me about the movie. What bothered me about the movie was that Don Haskins is not nearly as good looking as I am and they had this handsome guy playing him and they had this really round fat guy playing me. I think that’s what bothered me more than anything.”"

Allen Fieldhouse has really changed since Owens’ time here, but he spoke of one thing more than anything else: the floor.

"“Mostly the floor. Most of the years I coached, it was a dirt floor and it was elevated above. The real problem was, for some reason that they did not put the floor in the day before we start practice. So they’d be putting it up, so until then, our players would be working out at old Robinson Gymnasium, but then as soon as the season was over, they’d take the floor out. So when we’d bring in prospects it was a big ol’ barn out there.”"