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Archive for Wednesday, December 10, 1997

PHOG POSTS UP OUTSIDE ALLEN

December 10, 1997

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The new bronze sculpture of Phog Allen will be dedicated Saturday outside of Kansas University's Allen Fieldhouse.

Bronze men can't jump.

That's why it took a crane and seven men nearly two hours to hoist the 8-foot-8-inch sculpture of Forrest C. "Phog" Allen onto his post Tuesday outside Kansas University's Allen Fieldhouse.

"It's a big piece and he deserves it. He dominated the basketball world," said Buzz Lardner, owner of J.E. Lardner Monuments, Topeka, who installed it just outside the fieldhouse's east doors.

The sculpture of KU's legendary basketball coach, who died in 1974, will be formally unveiled in a dedication ceremony at 4 p.m. Saturday.

That's the 90th anniversary of the first game Allen coached in his 39 seasons at KU. As head coach from 1907-1909 and 1919-1956, Allen compiled a 590-219 record.

Doug Vance, KU assistant athletic director, said Chancellor Robert Hemenway will take part in Saturday's unveiling ceremony.

Until then, the sculpture will be covered with a tarp.

"The statue will be watched," Vance said. "We will have security in the evenings."

The sculpture is a gift to KU from the Phog Allen Memorial Foundation. The foundation raised $175,000 for the sculpture and its granite base, which was quarried from Milbank, S.D.

The bronze piece was created by Kwan Wu, an Overland Park sculptor, and was cast by the Degginger Foundry in Topeka.

Tuesday was the first time the sculpture was brought out in public. A protective wrap shrouded most of its details.

Several KU students stopped for a few minutes to watch as the sculpture was lifted Tuesday and dangled by a crane over its 4-foot high, two-piece granite base. The sculpture was then bolted to the base.

Chris Jennings, a Lenexa senior, was a bit surprised when told it wasn't a statue of James Naismith, the inventor of basketball and KU's first coach.

However, Jennings was pleased when told the shrouded sculpture is the image of Allen.

"It just shows the rich heritage of Kansas basketball," Jennings said.

Jeremy Dewey, a KU junior from Seward, called the sculpture "pretty awesome."

"I think it's a nice tribute to the man who brought so much to KU basketball," Dewey said. "I think too often people don't know who buildings are named for on campus. Perhaps this will bring more recognition to Phog Allen -- who he was and what he did."

-- Dave Toplikar's phone message number is 832-7151. His e-mail address is toplikar@ljworld.com.

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