DeBruce Center Grand Opening

Posted on Jul 26, 2016 in Campus News, News, and Sports

The new home of Naismith’s original rules of basketball hosted a housewarming party when the DeBruce Center held its official grand opening celebration on Saturday, July 23. Hundreds of loyal fans and alumni made the pilgrimage to Lawrence to pay tribute to the game’s inventor and tour the new building connected to Allen Fieldhouse.

Visitors took in exhibit panels telling the story of Naismith and the influence he and Phog Allen, the “father of basketball coaching,” had on the world. Two of Phog’s former players, Bill Hougland, b’52, and Jerry Waugh, d’51 g’59, were among the first through the doors, eager to view the rules and relive their glory days playing basketball for KU.

“We only had one set of rules when we played, and those were Doc Allen’s rules,” Hougland shared. “You didn’t break those.”

Families enjoyed games and attractions for kids, including face painting, balloon animals, and book signings. Fans were able to view the star attraction, Naismith’s original rules, with a recording of a radio broadcast of Naismith being interviewed. The recording, in which Naismith talks about his invention, was recently discovered by a KU researcher and is the only known recording of Naismith.

Some of the fun and attractions were chronicled on social media by those who took time to visit the DeBruce Center, which you can check out below.

For those who visit, more sights and sounds abound, including a short movie presentation (in a small theater in Allen Fieldhouse), plus shopping and dining options at the Original Rules Gift Shop and the Courtside Cafe. The DeBruce Center is operated by the KU Memorial Unions and is open Monday through Thursday from 7am to 6pm, Friday from 7am to 5pm and Saturdays 10am – 5pm. It is closed on Sundays.

–David Johnston

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