The Magic Behind Late Night in the Phog

For all of you who have had the honor to attend a basketball game at Allen Fieldhouse, you understand how that inside the fieldhouse, magic happens. Every seat is filled regardless of the no-name school the men’s basketball team may be playing during preseason. The electric energy, undying support, and pure love of the Jayhawks on the court are what drive the fans to camp out for days before the games just to experience the magic.

Before all these incredible basketball games begin, the beginning of the season must be commemorated. Late Night in the Phog officially kicks off the men and women’s basketball 2014-2015 season. Late Night is Oct.10 at 6:30 p.m. at Allen Fieldhouse, with the doors opening at 3 p.m. It consists of skits/ variety shows featuring the players and scrimmages from both the men and women’s basketball players and coaches.

If you are not particularly excited about the upcoming basketball season (or if you’re crazy), this night will pump you up and begin your obsession with the greatest basketball team ever, the Kansas Jayhawks. If you are sadly unable to attend Late Night, it will be streaming on ESPN3 and the Jayhawk TV Network.

(Photo: Wayne Seldon shows off his dunking skills during the pre-scrimmage practice in the 2013 Late Night in the Phog.)

 Let’s step back for a minute. Late Night in “the Phog”? What or who is “the Phog” and how did all this madness begin? Here is a brief history of the great Phog Allen and how Late Night came to be.

What we’ve all grown to love and refer to the inside of Allen Fieldhouse as the Phog, but I’m sure that not everyone knows what or who that is. The Phog (and Allen Fieldhouse) are named after the one of the all-time greatest basketball coaches, Forrest Clare “Phog” Allen. He was the KU men’s basketball head coach of our beloved Jayhawks for 39 years (1907–1909, 1919–1956). His teams won 24 conference championships and three national titles. In addition, he coached 590 wins and therefore, has the most wins of any coach in Kansas’s basketball history.

         Throughout all his years of college coaching, Allen coached two baseball seasons, six football seasons, and a total of 50 basketball seasons. His record for those 50 basketball seasons was 746–264, retiring with the record for the most coaching wins in college basketball history at that time

Allen not only coached Jayhawk basketball, but also attended the University of Kansas and played three years of basketball under James Naismith, the inventor of the game. Also, he was a member of the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity at Kansas and studied osteopathic medicine. 

Before becoming a student, Allen acquired the nickname "Phog" for his distinctive foghorn voice he had as a baseball umpire. Phog is now the iconic name of Late Night, namesake of Allen Fieldhouse, and the bronze statue man in front of Allen Fieldhouse.

In 1985, the idea behind Late Night in the Phog began with coach Larry Brown. It was named “Late Night with Larry Brown” and held on Monday at midnight. This Late Night drew a crowd of 6,000 fans. Overall, it was not a very big deal, but set the ball rolling for the years of entertainment and traditions to come.

In 2003, Bill Self’s experienced his first Late Night with KU and the festivities were renamed, “Late Night in the Phog.” Over the years, Coach Self has willingly participated in ridiculous skits, videos, and glamorous costumes. 

(Photo: Head coach Bill Self, playing Vanilla Ice, introduces a skit during Late Night in the Phog in 2010.)

Students, alums, and a huge crowd of the Lawrence and the Jayhawk community travel to be a part of Allen Fieldhouse during these few special hours of Late Night. Because the event is free to the public, dedicated fans begin camping out the night before or early morning of Late Night in order to guarantee a seat inside the Fieldhouse. Late Night in the Phog truly is a magical experience that not only has an incredible namesake and history, but also is and will be a night to remember.

Pay Heed, All Who Enter. BEWARE of “THE PHOG

And remember: