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Potomac Books


Phog, Phog, 080328571X, 0-8032-8571-X, 978-0-8032-8571-2, 9780803285712, Scott Morrow JohnsonForeword by Judy Allen Morris, , Phog, 0803295391, 0-8032-9539-1, 978-0-8032-9539-1, 9780803295391, Scott Morrow JohnsonForeword by Judy Allen Morris, , Phog, 0803295405, 0-8032-9540-5, 978-0-8032-9540-7, 9780803295407, Scott Morrow JohnsonForeword by Judy Allen Morris, , Phog, 0803295413, 0-8032-9541-3, 978-0-8032-9541-4, 9780803295414, Scott Morrow JohnsonForeword by Judy Allen Morris

The Most Influential Man in Basketball
Scott Morrow Johnson
Foreword by Judy Allen Morris

2016. 376 pp.
26 photographs
$29.95 t

Remembered in name but underappreciated in legacy, Forrest “Phog” Allen arguably influenced the game of basketball more than anyone else. 

In the first half of the twentieth century Allen took basketball from a gentlemanly, indoor recreation to the competitive game that would become a worldwide sport. Succeeding James Naismith as the University of Kansas’s basketball coach in 1907, Allen led the Jayhawks for thirty-nine seasons and holds the record for most wins at that school, with 590. He also helped create the NCAA tournament and brought basketball to the Olympics. Allen changed the way the game is played, coached, marketed, and presented.

Scott Morrow Johnson reveals Allen as a master recruiter, a transformative coach, and a visionary basketball mind. Adolph Rupp, Dean Smith, Wilt Chamberlain, and many others benefited from Allen’s knowledge of and passion for the game. But Johnson also delves into Allen’s occasionally tumultuous relationships with Naismith, the NCAA, and University of Kansas administrators.

Phog: The Most Influential Man in Basketball chronicles this complex man’s life, telling for the first time the full story of the man whose name is synonymous with Kansas basketball and with the game itself.


Scott Morrow Johnson is an award-winning sportswriter whose work has appeared in numerous publications, including Sports Illustrated, the Washington PostUSA Today, and the Chicago Tribune.

"Phog is perfect for the general reader, and supplants Blair Kerkoff's 1996 biography of Allen as the best book about Phog Allen available."—Andrew McGregor, Sport in American History

“Phog Allen was a tireless worker who was ahead of his time. Coach Allen’s teachings of the game created the philosophies of today. He knew that education and the game of basketball together were going to be an avenue for the world we embrace today. Phog is certainly a great read, showing the impact he has had.”—Danny Manning, KU basketball legend and head coach at Wake Forest University

“You can’t tell the history of basketball without delving deeply into the influence of Phog Allen—and Scott Johnson does it artfully and thoroughly.”—Michael Silver, author of Golden Girl: How Natalie Coughlin Fought Back, Challenged Conventional Wisdom, and Became America’s Olympic Champion

“Scott Morrow Johnson's Phog captures the booming voice and nimble mind of the midwesterner who spread the gospel of basketball from the University of Kansas to the world.”—Steve Marantz, author of The Rhythm Boys of Omaha Central: High School Basketball at the ’68 Racial Divide

“Coach Allen was a visionary who changed the landscape of college basketball. His influence on collegiate athletics, including on my mentors, made an immeasurable impact on me both personally and professionally. His photo hangs on my office wall as a sign of my great respect and gratitude for the many contributions he made to the game that I love.”—Mark Turgeon, men’s basketball coach at the University of Maryland

Also of Interest

Roland Lazenby

Origins of the Jump Shot
John Christgau

Smart Take from the Strong
Pete Carril

James Naismith