|Location||1651 Naismith Drive
Lawrence, KS 66045
|Opened||March 1, 1955|
|Owner||University of Kansas|
|Operator||University of Kansas|
|Construction cost||$2.5 million (original)
($22 million in 2014 dollars)
|Architect||Charles L. Marshall|
|General contractor||Bennett Construction|
|Record attendance||17,288 (3/1/1955 vs. KSU)|
|Kansas Jayhawks men's & women's basketball|
Allen Fieldhouse is an indoor sports arena on the University of Kansas (KU) campus in Lawrence, and home of the Kansas Jayhawks men's basketball team. The arena is named in honor of Dr. Forrest C. "Phog" Allen, a former coach of the Jayhawks whose tenure lasted 39 years. The Allen Fieldhouse is one of college basketball's most historically significant and prestigious buildings, with 37 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Tournament games having been hosted at the center. The actual playing surface has been named the James Naismith Court, in honor of basketball's inventor, who established Kansas' basketball program and served as the Jayhawks' first coach from 1898 to 1907.
ESPN's online publication, The Magazine, named Allen Fieldhouse the loudest college basketball arena in the country, and prominent sportswriter, Mark Whicker, has called Allen Fieldhouse "the best place in America to watch college basketball." KU's current record at Allen Fieldhouse, as of March 18, 2013, is 699-108. Since 1994, the Jayhawks have gone 263-14. Since 2007, they have gone 107-2, making Allen Fieldhouse the statistically greatest home-court advantage in all of sports during this time.
Allen Fieldhouse has also hosted several NCAA tournament regionals, NBA exhibition games, and occasional concerts such as The Beach Boys, Elton John, James Taylor, Sonny and Cher, Leon Russell, Alice Cooper, ZZ Top, Tina Turner, Harry Belafonte, Henry Mancini, The Doobie Brothers, Kansas and Bob Hope  as well as speakers, including former U.S. President Bill Clinton in 2004, U.S. presidential candidate Senator Robert F. Kennedy (which drew over 20,000) in 1968 and the anarchist Abbie Hoffman in 1970.
The construction of Allen Fieldhouse began in 1952, but quickly slowed to a halt because of a federal mandate restricting steel consumption following the Second World War and during the Korean War. However, university officials were able to find a loophole: by adding some rooms for gun and weapons storage, construction of the building was able to continue under the guise of an "armory."
Allen Fieldhouse was dedicated on March 1, 1955. Since then renovations have included minor seating expansions in 1986 and 1994, as well as accessibility upgrades in 1999 to modernize concession stands and restroom facilities, and to install an elevator in the south end. Handicapped seating was moved courtside behind both baskets in 2001.
The concourse was originally an indoor track, and at times the Fieldhouse has been home to men's and women's basketball, indoor track and field, volleyball, and practice facilities for the American football and softball teams. Since additional facilities were constructed to accommodate many of those needs, it is now used primarily for basketball.
Max Falkenstien was a stalwart figure in the radio booth, working every home game in Allen Fieldhouse from its construction to his retirement in 2006, 51 years later.
Renovations completed in 2005 include a thorough cleaning of the exterior, and the creation of a new Booth Family Hall of Athletics facility on the east side of the Fieldhouse. Interior renovations include a new hardwood court, new windows, and a multi-million dollar video board and sound system. After 2006, new banners for the retired jerseys and conference and national championships were installed.
Renovations completed in 2009 include an expansion of the Booth Family Hall of Athletics and the creation of a donor atrium, as well as improved concessions, wider concourses, and restroom upgrades. The building also received brand new locker rooms, training rooms, film rooms, and player lounges. A pedestrian bridge connecting the fieldhouse to the existing facility parking garage was also constructed. The improvements cost approximately $7.8 million.
In December 2010, the Booth family announced that they had purchased the founding document of the game of basketball, Dr. Naismith's original 13 Rules of Basket Ball. The document will be permanently housed in a new addition to Allen Fieldhouse.
Allen Fieldhouse was originally built with a capacity of 17,000. During Ted Owens' coaching period (1964–83), the capacity was reduced to 15,200 to improve fire code-mandated egress routes. It was raised to 15,800 in the 1986 offseason, and since 1993, its official capacity has been 16,300. Of these seats, 4,000 are dedicated to current KU students, with most of the remainder taken by season-ticket-holding members of the Williams Educational Fund, the fundraising arm of KU Athletics, named after Lawrence banker Dick Williams and his sons, Skipper and Odd. The largest crowd in Allen Fieldhouse for a basketball game was 17,228 on March 1, 1955 when the building was dedicated. Barring another expansion of seating, it is unlikely that this record will ever be broken as fire codes have forced KU to strictly enforce the building's capacity since the mid-1980s.
Banners hang in the south rafters to honor former players including Wilt Chamberlain, Clyde Lovellette, Jo Jo White, Danny Manning, Paul Pierce, Lynette Woodard, Drew Gooden, Nick Collison, and Kirk Hinrich among others. There is also a banner to honor Max Falkenstien, a former Jayhawks radio announcer, who served the university for 60 years. To date he is the only non-athlete to be honored at Allen Fieldhouse. The east and west sides are devoted to KU's multiple Final Fours and conference championships.
On the north wall hangs a banner reading "Pay Heed, All Who Enter: Beware of the Phog", in reference to the intimidating atmosphere and the team's home court dominance. The original "Pay Heed" banner was constructed out of dormitory shower curtains by a group of KU students before a late season game against the Duke Blue Devils in 1988 and is now on display in the Booth Family Hall of Athletics museum. The slogan was inspired in part by advertisements for the 1980s horror movie The Fog. It hung on the north wall until 1999, by which time it had deteriorated to the point where it was about to fall. The university replaced the banner with a much more regular-looking design, which met with negative reaction from the public. The current banner was redesigned to be more faithful to the look of the original.
- Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–2014. Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Retrieved February 27, 2014.
- "KU Facilities: Allen Fieldhouse". University of Kansas Athletics. 2012. Retrieved March 25, 2012.
- Barker, Matt (December 10, 2011). "Roundball Preview: No. 2 Ohio State vs. No. 13 Kansas". Buckeye Banter. Retrieved March 25, 2012.
- Vance, Doug; Bollig, Jeff. Beware of the Phog. Retrieved March 8, 2009.
- "Bill Clinton". Lawrence.com. Retrieved February 20, 2010.
- "Hoffman's Huff". KU History. Retrieved September 19, 2007.
- Bedore, Gary (October 15, 2009). "Allen Fieldhouse Sporting New Look". KU Sports. Archived from the original on October 23, 2009. Retrieved October 15, 2009.
- Ranney, Dave (June 21, 2004). "Programs Help Fans Score Seating Points". Lawrence Journal-World. Archived from the original on April 17, 2007. Retrieved March 19, 2007.
- Additional Sources
- Kansas 2002-03 Basketball Media Guide. Topeka, Kansas: Mainline Printing, 2002.
- Kansas Jayhawks History-making basketball. Marceline, Missouri: Walsworth Publishing Company, 1991.
- Allen Fieldhouse at kuathletics.com
- Max has "jersey" retired during halftime, March 1, 2006
- Williams Educational Fund
- ESPN Pilgrimage: Allen Fieldhouse