|University||University of Kansas|
|Conference||Big 12 Conference|
|Athletic director||Jeff Long|
|Football stadium||David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium|
|Basketball arena||Allen Fieldhouse|
|Baseball stadium||Hoglund Ballpark|
|Mascot||Big Jay, Baby Jay|
|Fight song||I'm a Jayhawk|
|Cheer||Rock Chalk, Jayhawk|
Crimson and Blue|
The Kansas Jayhawks, commonly referred to as KU, are the athletic teams that represent the University of Kansas. KU is one of three schools in the state of Kansas that participate in NCAA Division I. The Jayhawks are also a member of the Big 12 Conference. KU athletic teams have won eleven NCAA Division I championships: three in men's basketball, one in men's cross country, three in men's indoor track and field, three in men's outdoor track and field, and one in women's outdoor track and field.
- 1 Origins of "Jayhawk"
- 2 Sports sponsored
- 3 Notable non-varsity sports
- 4 Championships
- 5 Rivalries
- 6 Mascots
- 7 Notable seasons
- 8 Notable athletes
- 9 Athletic directors
- 10 References
- 11 Further reading
- 12 External links
Origins of "Jayhawk"
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.
The term became part of the lexicon of the Missouri-Kansas border in about 1858, during the Kansas territorial period. The term was used to describe militant bands nominally associated with the free-state cause. One early Kansas history contained this succinct characterization of the jayhawkers:
Confederated at first for defense against pro-slavery outrages, but ultimately falling more or less completely into the vocation of robbers and assassins, they have received the name – whatever its origin may be – of jayhawkers.
Another historian of the territorial period described the jayhawkers as bands of men that were willing to fight, kill, and rob for a variety of motives that included defense against pro-slavery "Border Ruffians", abolition, driving pro-slavery settlers from their claims of land, revenge, and/or plunder and personal profit.
In September 1861, the town of Osceola, Missouri was burned to the ground by Jayhawkers during the Sacking of Osceola. On the 150th anniversary of that event in 2011, the town asked the University of Kansas to remove the Jayhawk as its mascot. The university refused.
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 sports||Women's sports|
|Track and field†||Softball|
|Swimming and diving|
|Track and field†|
|† – Track and field includes both indoor and outdoor.|
The University of Kansas officially sponsors 16 sports: 6 men's and 8 women's. There are also club-level sports for rugby, ice hockey, and men's volleyball. The school used to sponsor a wrestling team, though the sport was discontinued during the 1960s.
The Jayhawks men's basketball program is one of the most successful and prestigious programs in the history of college basketball. The Jayhawks' first coach was the inventor of the game, James Naismith. The program has produced some of the game's greatest professional players (including Clyde Lovellette, Wilt Chamberlain, Jo Jo White, Paul Pierce, and Frank Mason III), and most successful coaches (including Phog Allen, Adolph Rupp, Ralph Miller, Dutch Lonborg, John McLendon, Larry Brown, Dean Smith, Roy Williams, and Bill Self). The program has enjoyed considerable national success, having been retroactively selected Helms Foundation National Champions for 1922 and 1923, winning NCAA national championships in 1952, 1988, and 2008, and playing in 15 Final Fours, and is one of only three programs to win more than 2,000 games. In Street & Smith's Annual list of 100 greatest college basketball programs of all time in 2005, KU ranked 4th.
Kansas first fielded a women's team during the 1968–69 season. For thirty-one seasons (1973–2004) the women's team was coached by Marian Washington, who led the team to three Big Eight championships, one Big 12 Championship, six conference tournament championships, eleven NCAA Tournament appearances and four AIAW Tournament appearances. The team's best post-season result was a Sweet Sixteen appearance in 1998. Bonnie Henrickson served as head coach from 2004 to 2015, until she was fired in March 2015. Brandon Schneider was hired to replace Henrickson in April 2015.
KU began playing football in 1890. The football team has had notable alumni including Gale Sayers, a two-time All-American who later enjoyed an injury-shortened yet Hall of Fame career with the Chicago Bears; John Riggins, another Pro Football Hall of Famer and Super Bowl XVII MVP with the Washington Redskins; Pro Football Hall of Famer for the Cleveland Browns, Mike McCormack. Additional notable former Jayhawks John Hadl, Curtis McClinton, Dana Stubblefield, Bobby Douglass, Nolan Cromwell, and current NFL cornerbacks Aqib Talib and Chris Harris Jr.. The Jayhawks have appeared three times in the Orange Bowl, 1948, 1969 and 2008, winning in 2008. The team currently plays in Memorial Stadium (capacity 50,071), the seventh oldest college football stadium in the nation, which opened in 1921. Clint Bowen was named interim head coach after Charlie Weis was fired September 28, 2014. On December 5, 2014, David Beaty was announced as the next head football coach.
Kansas baseball began in 1880 and has produced notable players such as Bob Allison and Steve Renko. The team has appeared in five NCAA tournaments (1993, 1994, 2006, 2009, 2014) and one College World Series (1993).
In 1949, Marilynn Smith won the women's individual intercollegiate golf championship (an event conducted by the Division of Girls' and Women's Sports (DGWS) — which later evolved into the current NCAA women's golf championship).
Notable non-varsity sports
Founded in 1964, Kansas Jayhawks Rugby Football Club plays college rugby in the Division 1 Heart of America conference against its many of its traditional Big 8 / Big 12 rivals such as Kansas State and Missouri. Kansas finished the 2011 year ranked 24th. Kansas rugby has embarked on international tours since 1977, playing in Europe, New Zealand, South Africa, Belgium, Holland, Scotland, England, Ireland and Argentina. The team plays its matches at the Westwick Rugby Complex, which was funded by $350,000 in alumni donations. Kansas often hosts the annual Heart of America sevens tournament played every September, the winner of which qualifies for the USA Rugby sevens national championship. Notable University of Kansas rugby all-Americans are: Pete Knudsen 1986, Paul King 1989–90, Anthony Rio 1992, Philip Olson 1993 all American, Joel Foster 1993, Collin Gotham 1993.
Competing in the ACHA, the Kansas Jayhawks Club Ice Hockey team has seen a resurgence in popularity since the team started scheduling games against historical rivals Missouri and Nebraska, starting on an annualized basis in 2013. The team is coached by Andy McConnell.
The teams primary logo is the traditional Kansas Jayhawk logo, with the secondary logo playing homage to the Vancouver Canucks classic logo, with the outline of the state of Kansas having a hockey stick running through the middle of it.
Conference championships & titles
Big 12 Conference champions have the best conference regular season record, and titles are awarded to the winner of the postseason championship tournament. In all sports combined (as of December 2016) the Jayhawks have won total of 169 conference titles all-time, 24 championships since joining the Big 12. Note that approximately 1/3 of those are from the Men's basketball.
- Men's basketball
The Jayhawks have won or shared an NCAA record 60 conference championships since they joined their first conference in 1907. The Jayhawks have belonged to the Big 12 Conference since it was formed, before the 1996–97 season, and dominated it, winning 12 straight conference titles dating back to 2005. Before that, the Jayhawks have belonged to the Missouri Valley Intercollegiate Athletic Association from the 1907–08 to 1927–28 seasons, the Big Six Conference from 1928–29 to 1946–47, the Big Seven Conference from 1947–48 to 1957–58, the Big Eight Conference from 1958–59 up until the end of the 1995–96 season. It should be noted that the Big Six and Big Seven conferences were actually the more often used names of the Missouri Valley Intercollegiate Athletic Association, which existed under that official name until 1964, when it was changed to the Big Eight.
Missouri Valley Intercollegiate Athletic Association (13)
- 1908, 1909, 1910, 1911, 1912, 1914, 1915, 1922, 1923, 1924, 1925, 1926, 1927
Big Six Conference (12)
- 1931, 1932, 1933, 1934, 1936, 1937, 1938, 1940, 1941, 1942, 1943, 1946
Big Seven Conference (5)
- 1950, 1952, 1953, 1954, 1957
Big Eight Conference (13)
- 1960, 1966, 1967, 1971, 1974, 1975, 1978, 1986, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1995, 1996
Big 12 Conference (18)
- 1997, 1998, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018
In addition to the 61 Conference Championships, the Jayhawks have also captured 28 Conference Tournament Championships
- 1951, 1953, 1956, 1957, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1968, 1970, 1974, 1977, 1978, 1981, 1984, 1986, 1992, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2016, 2018
- Women's basketball
- 1979 – Big 8 tournament champion
- 1980 – Big 8 tournament champion
- 1981 – Big 8 tournament champion
- 1987 – Big 8 regular season and tournament champion
- 1988 – Big 8 tournament champion
- 1992 – Big 8 regular season champion
- 1993 – Big 8 tournament champion
- 1996 – Big 8 regular season champion
- 1997 – Big 12 champion – coached by Marian Washington
- 1921 – MVIAA champion
- 1922 – MVIAA champion
- 1923 – MVIAA champion
- 1949 – Big 7 Conference champion
- 2006 – Big 12 tournament champion – defeated Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Missouri, and Nebraska in the Conference playoffs.
- 2004 – Big 12 regular season co-champion – coached by Mark Francis
- 2006 – Big 12 tournament champion – won 4–2 over Oklahoma and outscored opponents 13–3 in four games
- Men's indoor track & field
- 1922, 1923, 1934, 1950, 1952, 1953, 1954, 1955, 1956, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1961, 1962, 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1975, 1977, 1978, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983
- Women's indoor track & field
- Men's outdoor track & field
- 1910, 1927, 1928, 1930, 1931, 1934, 1946, 1952, 1953, 1954, 1955, 1956, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1960, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1979, 1980, 1982
- Women's outdoor track & field
- Men's cross country
- 1928, 1947, 1948, 1949, 1950, 1951, 1952, 1953, 1954, 1955, 1956, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1961, 1963, 1964, 1968, 1969
- Men's golf
- 1979, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996
- Women's volleyball
NCAA team championships
Kansas has won 11 NCAA team national championships.
- Men (10)
- Women (1)
- Outdoor track and field (1): 2013
Other national team championships
The Jayhawks have also won three national championship not awarded by the NCAA:
- Men's Bowling (1): 2004 (USBC intercollegiate champions)
- Men's Basketball (2): 1922, 1923 (Helms Athletic Foundation)
Kansas State Wildcats (Sunflower Showdown)
Missouri Tigers (Border War)
The 160-year-old rivalry between Kansas and Missouri began with open violence that up to the American Civil War known as Bleeding Kansas that took place in the Kansas Territory (Sacking of Lawrence) and the western frontier towns of Missouri throughout the 1850s. The incidents were clashes between pro-slavery factions from both states and anti-slavery Kansans to influence whether Kansas would enter the Union as a free or slave state. In the opening year of the war, six Missouri towns (the largest being Osceola) and large swaths of the western Missouri country side were plundered and burned by guerrilla "Jayhawkers" from Kansas. The Sacking of Osceola led to a retaliatory raid on Lawrence, Kansas two years later known as the Lawrence Massacre killing between 185 and 200 men and boys, which in turn led to the infamous General Order No. 11 (1863), the forced depopulation of several western Missouri counties. The raid on Lawrence was led by William Quantrill, a Confederate guerrilla born in Ohio who had formed his bushwhacker group at the end of 1861. At the time the Civil War broke out, Quantrill was a resident of Lawrence, Kansas teaching school.
The athletic rivalry began with a football game on October 31, 1891. Currently it is the second longest played series in Division I football and has been described as one of the most intense in the nation. However, no regular season games were scheduled after Missouri accepted an offer to join the Southeastern Conference and Kansas refused Missouri's offer to continue rivalry outside of the conference. The Jayhawks and Tigers have met in post-season in some sports following their departure for the SEC, but regular season games continue to not be scheduled. The schools' men's basketball teams met in 2017 for an exhibition game with the proceeds being donated to Hurricane Harvey relief funds. In the basketball series Kansas leads by a large margin (172-95 KU), in football Missouri leads by a very small margin (56-55-9 MU) and baseball Missouri leads by a large margin.
Kansas had a rivalry with the Nebraska Cornhuskers, though that rivalry had more to do with who had the better sports program, with Kansas priding itself on its basketball prowess and Nebraska on its football dominance. This rivalry of sports cultures has gone dormant with Nebraska's departure for the Big 10 Conference in 2011. Prior to 2011, the football series between the 2 schools was the 3rd most played rivalry in college football behind Minnesota-Wisconsin and Kansas-Missouri. In basketball, Kansas leads the all-time series 170-71.
- 1992–1993 KU became the second NCAA Division I program to send its football team to a bowl game (Aloha Bowl), one of its basketball teams to the Final Four, and its baseball team to the College World Series in the same academic year. The first was LSU in 1985–86.
- 2007–2008 football and men's basketball seasons, KU amassed a combined 49–4 record (12–1 football, 37–3 basketball), which is the most combined wins ever by a NCAA Division I program, and is also one of only 2 college sports programs to win a BCS Bowl game and a College Basketball National Championship in the same sports season, the other was the 2006–2007 Florida Gators who won the BCS national championship and their second consecutive basketball national championship.
- 2011–2012 & 2012–2013 basketball seasons, the University of Kansas became the only school in the nation over those two seasons to have their men's and women's basketball teams both qualify for the Sweet 16 both seasons.
- Phog Allen played basketball at KU under James Naismith. He was known as the "Father of Basketball Coaching" as he coached and mentored Hall of Fame coaches Dutch Lonberg, Adolph Rupp, Ralph Miller, and Dean Smith. Allen, Lonberg, Rupp, Miller, and Smith (all KU alumni and basketball players) amassed 3,481 career wins as head coaches. No other five alumni from any other school come close to this figure. When Allen retired he was the leader in all-time wins (746) until passed by Rupp, who held it until passed by Smith. Allen also founded the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) in 1927, which went on to create the NCAA Tournament in 1939. While at Kansas, he was also a member of the Football and Baseball teams.
- Bob Allison, Major League Baseball player, Minnesota Twins
- Ferrell Anderson, Major League Baseball catcher, Brooklyn Dodgers and St. Louis Cardinals
- Darrell Arthur, NBA player, forward for the Denver Nuggets
- Charles B. Black, Basketball player and only four-time All-American in KU history (2 of those years he was Consensus All-American). First 1,000 point scorer at KU.
- Charlie T. Black, Basketball player, was member of 1922 and 1923 Helms National Championship teams. Two-time All-American and 1924 Helms National Player of the Year.
- B. H. Born, Basketball player. Member of 1952 National Championship team and 1953 National runner-up team. 1953 NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player. In the 1953 National Final game he scored 26 points, pulled down 15 rebounds, and blocked 13 shots. First-round NBA Draft pick who declined to play in the league. Helped recruit Wilt Chamberlain.
- Bill Bridges, Basketball player, 3-time NBA All Star. 1975 NBA Champion. 2-time NBA All-Defensive Team. 13-year NBA career.
- Gilbert Brown, 10-year NFL defensive tackle, Green Bay Packers
- Isaac Byrd, 6-year NFL wide receiver, Tennessee Titans and Carolina Panthers
- Mario Chalmers, NBA Player, Hit the "Shot heard 'round the world" to send the 2008 NCAA Championship Game into overtime, eventually beating Memphis for the 2008 National Championship Title, currently plays for Memphis Grizzlies
- Wilt Chamberlain, two-time All American, Final Four MVP, National Basketball Hall of Fame, Top 50 All Time Greatest NBA players
- Anthony Collins, All-American, NFL player, offensive tackle for the Cincinnati Bengals
- Nick Collison, NBA Player, former Team USA member, power forward for the Oklahoma City Thunder
- Jon Cornish, 2006 First Team All-Big 12, second round draft pick of the Calgary Stampeders
- Nolan Cromwell, 1975 Big 8 Offensive Player of the Year, All-Pro safety, Los Angeles Rams
- Glenn Cunningham, two-time US Olympic Runner, Silver Medalist 1936 Berlin Olympics, dominant runner of the 1930s
- Bob Dole, notable as a politician, played football and basketball while attending the school
- Bobby Douglass, All-American QB, 13 year NFL player
- Paul Endacott, Basketball player and member of 1922 and 1923 Helms National Championship teams. Named 1923 Helms National Player of the Year.
- Ray Evans starred both on the hardwood and the gridiron. Playing both offense and defense, he led KU to the 1948 Orange Bowl. Only player in college football history to lead the nation in passing (on offense) and interceptions (on defense) in the same season. Single-season KU leader in interceptions with 10, as well as career leader with 17. All-American in football and in basketball. Drafted by the New York Knicks and Pittsburgh Steelers. His time in college was interrupted by three years of service in the United States Army Air Forces. Therefore, his All-American Basketball season was 1943 and his All-American Football season was 1947. He is the only player at KU to have his jersey retired both in football and basketball. Member of the College Football Hall of Fame.
- Matt Gogel, golf, PGA Tour winner of 2002 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am
- Drew Gooden, NBA player, power forward for the Milwaukee Bucks
- Charles Gordon, former NFL player, current Quality Control Coach for the Denver Broncos
- Charlie Gruber, 2004 Olympian at 1500 meters.
- John Hadl, two-time All-American, one year as a halfback and one year as quarterback; 16 year NFL player
- Chris Harris, Jr., NFL player, 3x Pro Bowler and a Super Bowl champion
- Justin Hartwig, NFL player, center for the Carolina Panthers, holds distinction of being the NFL's highest-paid center
- Kirk Hinrich, NBA player, point guard for the Chicago Bulls
- Darnell Jackson, NBA player, forward for the Sacramento Kings
- William "Skinny" Johnson, Basketball player, 2-time All-Big 6. Member basketball Hall of Fame.
- Adrian Jones, NFL player, offensive lineman for the Houston Texans
- Raef LaFrentz, NBA player, power forward for the Portland Trail Blazers, retired
- Dutch Lonborg, Basketball player under Phog Allen. Member of the Basketball Hall of Fame as a head coach.
- Clyde Lovellette, Basketball player, led KU to the 1952 NCAA Tournament championship. The only player in NCAA history to lead the nation in scoring and then win the National Championship in the same season. 1952 NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player. Scored a then record 141 points in the 1952 NCAA Tournament. 3-time All-American (twice Consensus All-American) and 1952 Helms College Player of the Year. 1952 Olympic Gold Medalist while earning the Most Outstanding Player and leading the team in scoring. 9th overall pick in the 1952 NBA Draft. 4-time NBA All Star, 3-time NBA champion, and Basketball Hall of Fame member.
- Danny Manning, Basketball player and current head basketball coach at Wake Forest. Two-time All-American 1988 recipient of the Naismith and Wooden Awards, Big 8 Player of the Decade for the 1980s, 2-time NBA All-Star, National Collegiate Basketball Hall Of Famer.
- Curtis McClinton, three-time All-Pro running back, Kansas City Chiefs
- Mike McCormack, NFL Hall of Fame tackle. Former NFL head coach and GM.
- Ben McLemore, NBA player, lead the Jayhawks to a conference title.
- David McMillan, NFL player, linebacker for the Cleveland Browns
- Ralph Miller, Basketball and Football player at KU. Assistant under Phog Allen. Went on to become Basketball Hall of Famer as a head coach with 657 wins.
- Billy Mills, First American to win gold medal in the 10,000m run, 1964 Tokyo Olympic Games
- Bill Nieder, Former record holder in High School shot put, first college Athlete to surpass 60 feet with the 16-pound shot, two National championships, Silver Medal 1956 Melbourne Olympic Games, Gold Medal 1960 Rome Olympic Games
- Moran Norris, NFL player, fullback for the San Francisco 49ers
- Al Oerter, Olympic gold medal discus thrower in four consecutive Olympiads
- Rhino Page, MVP of the 2004 Intercollegiate Bowling Championships, now a 3-time titleist on the PBA Tour
- Paul Pierce, NBA player, small forward for the Boston Celtics, 2008 NBA Finals MVP, MVP of the Big 12 Conference Tournament in both 1997 and 1998 NBA
- Willie Pless, All-American LB, CFL Hall of Famer, all-time tackling leader at KU and the CFL
- Scot Pollard, NBA player, power forward for the Boston Celtics, retired.
- Fred Pralle, Basketball player, 2-time All-American. First Jayhawk to win Consensus All-American honors.
- Todd Reesing, undersized quarterback that lead the Jayhawks to a BCS bowl victory. Considered among the greatest quarterbacks in Kansas football history.
- Nick Reid, 2-time All-Big 12, 2005 Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year
- Steve Renko, Major League Baseball pitcher, California Angels
- John Riggins, NFL Hall of Fame running back, MVP of Super Bowl XVII
- Dave Robisch, All-American forward, 2-time Big 8 Player of the Year, 13-year ABA/NBA player
- Adolph Rupp, Basketball Player under Phog Allen. Member of 1922 and 1923 Helms National Championship teams. Retired as winningest college basketball head coach with 876 wins. Member of Basketball Hall of Fame.
- Brandon Rush, NBA Player, shooting guard for the Utah Jazz
- Jim Ryun, World record holder in mile, Olympic silver medalist, former Congressman
- Wes Santee, American middle distance runner and athlete, 1952 Olympics
- Gale Sayers (the Kansas Comet), 2-time All American, NFL Hall of Fame running back, Chicago Bears
- Wayne Simien, 2-time All American, first-round draft pick by the Miami Heat. NBA champion.
- Dean Smith played basketball under Phog Allen. Also played baseball. Member of the 1952 National Championship Basketball Team. Assistant Coach at KU for 1 season. Retired as winningest college basketball head coach with 879 wins Member of Basketball Hall of Fame.
- Marilynn Smith, 21-time winner on the LPGA Tour. Inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2006
- Bud Stallworth, Basketball player, 1972 Big 8 Player of the Year. Dropped 50 points on Missouri in 1972 game. 7th overall pick in 1972 NBA draft.
- Dana Stubblefield, All-American, 3-time All-Pro defensive tackle, 1997 NFL Defensive Player of the Year
- Aqib Talib, All-American, 2008 NFL Draft Pick, first round – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- Darnell Valentine, All-American guard, 3-time Academic All-American, 9-year NBA player
- Jacque Vaughn, All-American player, won a championship with the San Antonio Spurs, retired, current assistant coach for the Spurs
- Rex Walters, played on KU Final Four team in 1993, played seven years in NBA, current coach of the University of San Francisco men's basketball team.
- Walt Wesley, Basketball Player, 2nd team All-American. 6th overall pick in 1966 NBA Draft. 10 year NBA career.
- Jo Jo White, All-American guard, 12-year NBA player, member of two NBA champion teams, number retired by the Boston Celtics
- Lynette Woodard, 4-time All-American, Major college basketball's career Women's Scoring leader, Gold Medalist 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games, First woman ever to play with Harlem Globetrotters, WNBA player, former assistant and interim head coach for the Kansas Jayhawks, National Basketball Hall of Fame, Women's Basketball Hall of Fame
- Gary Woodland, professional golfer on the PGA Tour
- Julian Wright, NBA player, power forward for the Toronto Raptors
- Layla Young, Soccer player, professional with Fulham L.F.C. and England women's national football team
- Andrew Wiggins, NBA player, small forward for the Minnesota Timberwolves, first overall pick in 2014 NBA Draft, dropped 39 on LaBron, Canadian
- W. O. Hamilton – 1911–1919
- Phog Allen – 1919–1937
- Gwinn Henry – 1938–1942
- Karl Klooz – 1943 (interim)
- Ernie Quigley – 1944–1949
- Arthur Lonborg – 1950–1963
- Wade R. Stinson – 1964–1972
- Clyde Walker – 1973–1977
- Bob Marcum – 1978–1981
- Del Shankel – 1981 (interim)
- Jim Lessig – 1982
- Del Shankel – 1982 (interim)
- Monte Johnson – 1982–1987
- Bob Frederick – 1987–2001
- Richard Konzem – 2001 (interim)
- Allen Bohl – 2001–2003
- Drue Jennings – 2003 (interim)
- Lew Perkins – 2003–2010
- Sean Lester – 2010–2011 (interim)
- Sheahon Zenger – 2011–2018
- Sean Lester – 2018 (interim)
- Jeff Long 2018–present
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- University of Kansas Traditions: The Jayhawk
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