Book Reviews

PHOG: The Most Influential Man in Basketball

Book review at Knup Sports

He worked with his players without the ball at practice which was unusual for the time.

There are many word that can describe Forrest “Phog” “Doc” Allen. Words like egotistical, arrogant, know-it-all, pompous and a host of others that are similar in meaning. However, with that said are other words. like genius, innovator, compassionate, forward thinker, teacher, mentor and revolutionist along with influential.  Allen grew up loving a newly created game called basket ball. He immediately saw ways into the future to use the game for the good of young college men.

Phog Allen was a friend of the creator of the game, James Naismith. Allen began classes at the University of Kansas in 1904 and played basketball for three years for his coach Naismith.He took time off in 1909 to study Osteopathic Medicine. He was particularly noted for getting some ans injured athletes back on to their sports endeavor quickly.

Basketball coaching was his first love. As head coach at Kansas, he created  a motion offense. he thought the hands were the most important part of the game. Also, he taught defensive footwork, he brought up tempo offense to the game, was one of the first to use a zone defense. He worked with his players without the ball at practice which was unusual for the time.


Phog Allen coached college basketball for 50 seasons,most as a Kansas Jayhawks, and compiled a 746–264 record, retiring with the all-time record for most coaching wins in college basketball history at the time. During his tenure at Kansas, Allen coached Dutch Lonborg, Adolph Rupp, Ralph Miller and Dean Smith, all future Hall of Fame coaches. Among the Hall of Fame players he coached were Paul Endacott, Bill Johnson, and Clyde Lovellette. He also recruited Wilt Chamberlain to Kansas, and even 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. A banner that hangs in the rafters of Allen Fieldhouse reads: “Pay heed all who enter, beware of the Phog.” He was enshrined as part of the inaugural class in the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1959.

Phog Allen also created the National Association of Basketball Coaches, which went on to create the NCAA tournament.

The amount of people he associated with that went to success is mindboggling.  Like Henry Iba, John Wooden, Casey Stengel, Mickey Mantle, Adolph Rupp are just a few of those.


There are so many stories that could be written in this review over this many years of coaching that is too many to mention. That is why you need to read the book. It is ONE OF the BEST I have read. Sometimes it repeats too much but still good and belongs on every sports fan bookshelf.


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