On December 3, 1956, Chamberlain made his varsity debut as a center. In his first game, he scored 52 points and grabbed 31 rebounds, breaking both all-time Kansas records in an 87–69 win against Northwestern, who had Chamberlain’s future NBA teammate Joe Ruklick. Teammate Monte Johnson testified to his athleticism: “Wilt … had unbelievable endurance and speed … and was never tired. When he dunked, he was so fast that a lot of players got their fingers jammed [between Chamberlain’s hand and the rim].” Reportedly, Chamberlain also broke Johnny Kerr’s toe with a slam dunk. By this time, he had developed several offensive weapons that became his trademarks: his finger roll, his fade-away jump shot, which he could also hit as a bank shot, his passing, and his shot-blocking. Leading a talented squad of starters, including Maurice King, Gene Elstun, John Parker, Ron Lonesky and Lew Johnson, the Jayhawks went 13–1 until they lost a game 56–54 versus Oklahoma State, who held the ball the last three and a half minutes without any intention of scoring a basket, which was still possible in the days before the shot clock (introduced 1984 in the NCAA). As he did at Overbrook, Chamberlain again showcased his diverse athletic talent. He ran the 100-yard dash in 10.9 seconds, shot-putted 56 feet, triple jumped more than 50 feet, and won the high jump in the Big Eight track and field championships three straight years.
In 1957, 23 teams were selected to play in the NCAA Tournament. The Midwest Regional was held in Dallas, Texas, which at the time was segregated. In the first game, the Jayhawks played the all-white SMU team, and KU player John Parker later said: “The crowd was brutal. We were spat on, pelted with debris, and subjected to the vilest racial epithets possible.” KU won 73–65 in overtime, after which police had to escort the Jayhawks out. The next game against Oklahoma City was equally unpleasant, with KU winning 81–61 under intense racist abuse. In the semi-finals, Chamberlain’s Jayhawks handily defeated the two-time defending national champion San Francisco, 80–56, with Wilt scoring 32 points, grabbing 11 rebounds, and having at least seven blocked shots. (The game film is unclear whether an 8th block occurred, or the ball just fell short due to Chamberlain’s withering defensive intimidation). Chamberlain demonstrated his growing arsenal of offensive moves, including jump shots, put-backs, tip-ins, and his turnaround jump shot. He was far more comfortable and effective at the foul line than he would later be during his pro career. He had outstanding foot speed throughout the game, and several times led the fast break, including blocking a shot near the basket and then outracing the field for a layup. His stellar performance led Kansas to an insurmountable lead, and he rested on the bench for the final 3:45 remaining in the game.
The 2007–08 Kansas Jayhawks men’s basketball team represented the University of Kansas for the NCAA Division I men’s intercollegiate basketball season of 2007–08, which was the Jayhawks’ 110th Season. The team was led by Bill Self in his fifth season as head coach. The team played its home games in Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence, Kansas.
The Jayhawks finished the season 37–3, 13–3 in Big 12 play to finish in second place. They defeated Nebraska, Texas Tech, and Texas A&M to win the Big 12 Tournament championship. As a result, they received the conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament as the No. 1 seed in the Midwest region. They defeated Portland State in the First Round, UNLV in the Second Round, Villanova in the Sweet Sixteen, and Davidson in the Elite Eight to advance to the Final Four. In the National Semifinal, they defeated North Carolina before defeating Memphis in the NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Tournament, marking the third tournament title in the school’s history and fifth national title overall.
From 1932 until 1956, the university belonged to the Border Intercollegiate Athletic Association. Texas Tech was admitted to the Southwest Conference on May 12, 1956. When the Southwest Conference disbanded in 1995, Texas Tech, along with the University of Texas at Austin, Texas A&M University, and Baylor University, joined with all eight former members of the Big Eight Conference to form the Big 12 Conference.
The university’s athletic director is College Football Playoff committee representative Kirby Hocutt. Bob Knight, the most victorious coach in men’s Division I basketball history, coached the Red Raiders men’s basketball team from 2001 to 2008. Following Bob Knight’s retirement in 2008, his son Pat Knight assumed head coaching duties. The Red Raiders football team, which has been coached by Mike Leach from 2000 to 2009, is a member of the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision and has appeared in the 19th-most bowl games of any team. Tommy Tuberville was named head coach in 2010 following the firing of Mike Leach and remained in the position until 2012 before resigning. He was replaced by former Texas Tech quarterback Kliff Kingsbury in 2013. In 1993, led by coach Marsha Sharp, the Lady Raiders basketball team won the NCAA Women’s Basketball Championship. Following Sharp’s retirement in 2006, Kristy Curry was named Lady Raiders head coach. Red Raiders baseball coach Larry Hays, who is one of only four coaches in NCAA baseball history to win 1,500 career games, retired in 2008.
College Sports Established
University of Kansas
1973 – Present / NCAA Division 1
1921 – 1973 / University Division of the NCAA
1907 – 1921 / Athletic Association of the United States
1996 – Present / Big 12 Conference
1964 – 1996 / Big Eight Conference
1947 – 1964 / Big Seven Conference
1928 – 1947 / Big Six Conference
1907 – 1928 / Missouri Valley Intercollegiate Athletic Association
Jayhawks – The origin of the term “Jayhawk” (short for “Jayhawker”) is uncertain. The origin of the term may go back as far as the Revolutionary War, when it was reportedly used to describe a group associated with American patriot John Jay.
Over time, proud of their state’s contributions to the end of slavery and the preservation of the Union, Kansans embraced the “Jayhawker” term. The term came to be applied to people or items related to Kansas. When the University of Kansas fielded their first football team in 1890, like many universities at that time, they had no official mascot. They used many different independent mascots, including a pig. Eventually, sometime during the 1890s, the team was referred to as the Jayhawkers by the student body. Over time, the name was gradually supplanted by its shorter variant, and KU’s sports teams are now almost exclusively known as the Jayhawks. The Jayhawk appears in several Kansas cheers, most notably, the “Rock Chalk, Jayhawk” chant in unison before and during games. In the traditions promoted by KU, the jayhawk is said to be a combination of two birds, “the blue jay, a noisy, quarrelsome thing known to rob other nests, and the sparrow hawk, a stealthy hunter.”
The link between the term “Jayhawkers” and any specific kind of mythical bird, if it ever existed, had been lost or at least obscured by the time KU’s bird mascot was invented in 1912. The originator of the bird mascot, Henry Maloy, struggled for over two years to create a pictorial symbol for the team, until hitting upon the bird idea. As explained by Mr. Maloy, “the term ‘jayhawk’ in the school yell was a verb and the term ‘jayhawkers’ was the noun.” KU’s current Jayhawk tradition largely springs from Frank W. Blackmar, a KU professor. In his 1926 address on the origin of the Jayhawk, Blackmar specifically referenced the blue jay and sparrow hawk. Blackmar’s address served to soften the link between KU’s athletic team moniker and the Jayhawkers of the Kansas territorial period, and helped explain the relatively recently invented Jayhawk pictorial symbol with a myth that appears to have been of even more recent fabrication.
Men’s Basketball 5
2008, 1988, 1952, 1923, 1922
Women’s Basketball 0