Letters to the Editor

Fam loyalty

March 10, 2009


To the editor:

Don Fambrough came to Lawrence with his bride, Del, just after serving in World War II. He was captain of the football team and was All Big Six while leading the Jayhawks to a trip to the Orange Bowl. Fam turned down offers to play in the NFL so he could pursue coaching at his alma mater.

For the next 23 years, he was an assistant coach under three coaches before getting the head job at Kansas in 1971. Fam took the Jayhawks to two bowl games and was twice voted Big Eight Coach of the Year. He turned down numerous job offers from other major schools, stating that he already had his dream job. He was one of KU’s greatest recruiters simply by selling high school kids on what he truly believed: that KU was the best place to be. He was fired twice by KU but remained loyal, stating how lucky he was to have coached at the place he had loved for so long.

In the 27 years since Fam coached at KU, he has spoken to hundreds of community groups without ever asking for compensation. Fam’s fire and brimstone talk on the KU-MU game has fired up thousands of KU players and Lawrence citizens. He is loved by all who have known him for his passion and undying loyalty for KU.

The push to have the two-block stretch of Missouri Street named in his honor is not because he was the greatest coach or player. It’s about a man who has embodied the spirit of the Jayhawk, has given us all he had for over 60 years and has been a great role model to young men.

David Lawrence,


Richard Heckler 8 years, 6 months ago

Leave the street names alone. It creates confusion.

If you love the guy so much create a statue or some memorial on the hill where he mattered the most. A street named Fambrough offers very very little except confusion.

Gather up some private money,go to the hill,build a bronze statue and get on with it.

I never knew of this person.

Omegatron 8 years, 6 months ago

Loyalty would be to setup a walk of honor, somewhere near the football stadium, that has statues of all those on the ring of honor, those who deserve to be on the ring but haven't been placed there, and to all the coaches who have been a part of the football program.

mom_of_three 8 years, 6 months ago

Merrill - you never knew this person, then you don't know much about KU sports.
And omegatron, I think you are missing the point.
They want to rename two blocks of one street to honor a person who means a great deal to KU football. And renaming a portion of a street would be a great tribute.
I love to hear his stories when KU plays Missouri. As a 20+ year citizen of Lawrence, it's easy to tell folks Clinton pkwy is the same as 23rd street, and part of 15th is called bob billings. So it would be no big deal to explain that Missouri street leading up to the stadium is called "Don Fambrough Lane/way/street/rd.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 6 months ago

How did renaming a street become the only way to honor Fambrough? If KU wants to honor him, they have a whole campus on which they can do it (and as far as I can see, his fanaticism is for KU, not Lawrence.)

Having two different names for the same street is always confusing, whether it's 15th/Billings, 23rd/Clinton or Barker/Connecticut. Yes, people can figure it out, but it's wholly unnecessary

Linda Aikins 8 years, 6 months ago

Great letter David! Thank you! I think people are not giving themselves enough credit for being able to explain a simple direction to their friends. I'm guessing you'd be able to handle it. Between 9th and 11th on Missouri, where else would you be sending them to/from besides 9th or 11th?

This darn economic depression has made so many of us depresssed. Come on - this is a fun thing. I hear they have an outhouse at MU with his name on it. I guess we could be as classy as they are...

Jama Crady Maxfield 8 years, 6 months ago

merrill: you kill me. You've never heard of this person??? How is that possible when you comment on every single story that the Journal World writes?

Linda Aikins 8 years, 6 months ago

wow ocean - name calling? is that necessary? Have I not a right to my opinion without being belittled? Oops - not on the JW I don't! :)

And yes, Py, I've had my share of tailgates! My genius is that I don't drink and I can always be the designated driver. But how would ocean know that?

TheOriginalCA 8 years, 6 months ago

I still say that we need to name the sewers after the sports haters on this board. Wonderful letter Mr. Lawrence... Thank you...

Linda Aikins 8 years, 6 months ago

Dingbat Dab Ting Bad Ting Bag Dint Gab Dint Bat Ding Tab Ding Dang Bit Gnat Bid Tang Bid Tag Bind

Yep. One of these could indeed be me!

bevy 8 years, 6 months ago

OK, I figured out why Mr. Fambrough was such a fan of KU. It was because he was "getting the head job at Kansas in 1971" (sorry I couldn't resist)

All kidding aside, as someone who used to do street mapping for 9-1-1 services, I can tell you that from an emergency response standpoint, this is a BAD idea. Just like renaming part of 15th Street Bob Billings was a BAD idea.

You may think that people living here can give good directions. That may be so when you're telling someone how to find the stadium, but what about in an emergency?

Since Mr. Fambrough was such a great fan of KU - the university should honor him with something more than 2 blocks of a street.

missouri_street 8 years, 6 months ago

Gootsie, for being one who does not care one way or another, you sure do continue to post a lot of messages on this topic.

I call you on your supposed "neutrality."

From the LJW archives: "Today we our joined by the Kansas University sideline reporter David Lawrence. Lawrence, a former KU football captain, covers the Jayhawks for the Jayhawk Radio Network."

OK. I am tired of this. If all of you athletic insiders want to honor Coach Fam, do it within the jurisdiction of the University and Athletic Department. There are ample avenues for this. Or rename your own street.

If not, where to stop? Eliminate Kentucky, Carolina, Oklahoma, and Nebraska??

And if Mr. Lawrence, mom-of-three, and others were honest with themselves, they would admit that half of this proposal is based on 'dissing Missouri, not honoring Coach Fam. Why not choose Maine St., 11th St, or Mississippi?

missouri_street 8 years, 6 months ago

Gootsie: "I think people are not giving themselves enough credit for being able to explain a simple direction to their friends"

Gootsie, since you will not personally have to deal with the situation, you have no basis to judge. Go rename your own street.

missouri_street 8 years, 6 months ago

This thing is being advocated by Athletic Department employees and those associated with the K-Club.

It is a group of people totally involved and associated with KU athletics. The letter writer, as a professional "color-commentator" for the football team is among those. Many involved in this effort are former KU athletics who do not even live in Lawrence.

My point is that these people are WELL connected at the Athletic Department and KU. They have ample opportunities to do something appropriate to honor the coach ON campus or AT the stadium, and find a way not lower the city to the level of locker-room bravado.

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