Basketball legends featured in new book

Posted on Feb 22, 2014 in Alumni News, News, and Sports

A new book by Kenn Johnson, g’70, highlights some of the greatest figures ever associated with Kansas Basketball. In Kansas University Basketball Legends, Johnson writes about notables from James Naismith to Andrea Hudy, providing a 160-page primer for KU hoops enthusiasts. In conjunction with KU Alumni Association’s Lawrence Chapter, Johnson presented a lecture on the KU basketball legends in November, attend by Max Falkenstein, who is also featured in the book, and Lawrence Journal-World sportswriter Bill Mayer, who provided the forward. The following excerpt was provided exclusively for KU alumni.

PAUL ENDACOTT (Player: 1921-23)

KennJohnson_bookcoverNamed to the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in April, 1972, legendary coach Phog Allen often called Endacott “the greatest player I have ever coached,” and was fond of telling about Endacott’s heroics during KU’s game at Missouri on Jan. 16, 1923, which the Jayhawks won 21-19. Endacott grabbed 16 straight jump balls in the closing minutes to preserve the win and later collapsed in the locker room from exhaustion.

Endacott was born July 3, 1902 and after learning basketball from Dr. James Naismith at the Lawrence YMCA, he graduated from Lawrence High School in 1919 and attended Kansas as a walk-on to play for coach Allen. He earned All-Missouri Valley Conference honors in his sophomore year. A 5’10 guard, he then led KU to two national championships in 1922 and 1923, and was named All-MVC and All-American both years, along with being named Helms Athletic Foundation Player of the Year in 1923. He was KU’s first Honor man, an annual award given to the student displaying leadership, scholastic achievement and greatest overall contribution to the student body and University.

After graduating with a degree in civil engineering, Endacott went to work for the Phillips Petroleum Company and played on their company AAU team for five seasons. He worked in the oilfields as an engineer, caught top management’s eye by persuading Chrysler Corporation to be the first to convert a big plant’s heating system to butane. He rapidly climbed the corporate ladder, rising to head of sales research in 1934, vice president in 1943, and eventually becoming the company’s president, before retiring in 1967.

PaulEndicott1While President of Phillips, his staff ironed out kinks in its innovative plastic production process and his sales force lined up new markets for the plastics, one of which was Wham-O, which sold more than 100 million Hula Hoops in the first six months on the market. Delighted Endacott kept a Hula Hoop in his office for impromptu demonstrations of the miracle plastic in action.

Endacott sat on the board of the KU Alumni Association from 1927-40 and served as its Chairman 1939-40. In 1977, he received the Fred Ellsworth Medallion for his service to KU. He championed the idea of a club for retired KU faculty and staff, donating funds to provide meeting space for the club, now known as the Endacott Society.

In 1969, he received the Sportsman’s World Award in the category of basketball, an honor given to athletes whose championship performances have stood the test of time and whose exemplary conduct have made them outstanding inspirations for the youth of today to emulate. In 1972, he was inducted in the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.

Endacott’s jersey was retired in a ceremony at halftime of the KU-Nebraska game on January 25, 1992. He died January 8, 1997, in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, and was posthumously inducted in the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame on October 4, 2009.

Johnson’s book Kansas University Basketball Legends is available through the KU Bookstore.

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