Jim Doepke, aka “Mr. Trumpet,” returned to Allen Field House Feb. 3 to play the alma mater and national anthem before the KU-Oklahoma State men’s basketball game. It’s Doepke’s sixth time performing before the Jayhawk faithful, but he insists it never gets old—especially when his return coincides with the anniversaries of the 1988 and 2008 NCAA National Championship teams and the basketball program’s 120th anniversary.
“That just adds to the excitement,” says Doepke. “It’s just so cool to be part of that.”
Doepke, d’74, a retired high school band director who lives Florida, arrived in Lawrence on Friday with his son, J.P. Their first stop was Allen Field House, where father and son toured the exhibits and interactive displays in the Booth Family Hall of Athletics. “I’ve never really had time to do that,” Doepke says. “We really enjoyed it.”
Later, with trumpet in hand, Doepke visited the Adams Alumni Center, where he surprised staff with a special performance of the alma mater.
Doepke, who has set a goal to play the national anthem at all 30 Major League Baseball stadiums, is scheduled to perform Aug. 2 at Busch Stadium in St. Louis and Aug. 4 at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, which will raise his ballpark tally to 19.
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.
Curtis Marsh, j’92, and Joe Zielinski, j’92, are well-known to many KU basketball fans for their, shall we say, shenanigans in Allen Fieldhouse. Anyone remember Captain Jayhawk and the Superfans, or the Flying Banduzzici Brothers? Many of their antics were left behind when the men graduated, but one tradition still makes an occasional appearance in the Fieldhouse: whistling.
As fixtures in the student section during their college days, Joe and Curtis spent their pre-game hours like most students— tearing newspapers into confetti and organizing cheers— but they also became adept at whistling very loudly, sometimes even on-key.
They used their newfound skill to make as much noise as possible during the games, but they also began to experiment with actual songs. According to Curtis, “We didn’t like the profanity some students used to show their disdain toward the game’s referees, so we started whistling ‘Three Blind Mice’ whenever we disagreed with a call.”
Joe and Curtis then decided to step up their game and try whistling the trumpet solo while the pep band played “Brass Roots.” After several attempts, they perfected their whistling duet and a new tradition was born.
After graduating, the pair thought their whistling days were in the past. “We thought it was less acceptable to be so silly in other parts of the Fieldhouse,” Curtis says. But to their surprise, they discovered that the “Brass Roots” whistle duet was still well-received outside the student section.
“The song is played less often these days, but the current band director heard about our little show and asked if we’d like to perform with the band,” explained Curtis. “So, whenever we attend a game together, if the band plays ‘Brass Roots’ we whistle along.”
Watch a video of the Allen Fieldhouse Whistlers, shot in 2014 by Andy Lees with KU Marketing and Communications:
Neeli Bendapudi, dean of the KU School of Business, attended the 60th anniversary celebration of Allen Fieldhouse on Monday, Oct. 27, 2014. This is her reflection on the memorable evening. This post originally appeared on the KU School of Business blog and is republished with permission.
Tonight at Allen Fieldhouse with four extraordinary coaches will be a memory I will cherish always as a Jayhawk.
It was also one of the finest lessons on leadership that I have witnessed as a professor of business or as a business executive.
All the coaches emphasized the importance of getting the best people, helping them achieve their potential, getting them to play unselfishly, i.e. to put the team ahead of themselves, and building lifelong relationships.
They all talked about building sustainable success. The players who introduced them described them as “my mentor,” “my friend,” and “my hero.” These were not leaders who expected or tolerated mediocrity. They expected the best of their players; the players responded because they knew the coaches held themselves to the same standards.
As someone who has never followed sports commentators and could probably name three if pushed, I am proud to say that as of today, I am a fan of @jaybilas who did a great job of moderating the evening and I learned he encouraged the very best coach, @coachbillself, to come here.
I cannot capture the wit and wisdom of our coaches. But here is something Coach Self said that I believe to my core. We are all just temporary caretakers of a great institution and a legacy of excellence. Students, faculty, staff, in every arena we play in, let us also remember the impact we have on KU and strive to be champions in all we do.
Athlon Sports asked a dozen college basketball media members—including writers, broadcasters and former players—to rank their 10 favorite hoops venues, and, to the surprise of no Jayhawks anywhere, Allen Field House came out on top.
Duke’s Cameron Indoor Stadium was a close second, yet, while Allen and Cameron far outpaced the rest of the field and were the only two arenas named on all 12 ballots, KU’s hoops haven scored nine first-place votes compared with one each for Cameron Indoor, Butler’s Hinkle Fieldhouse and New York City’s Madison Square Garden (home court for St. John’s University).
Picking Allen Field House No. 1 were ESPN’s Jay Bilas (a four-year starter at Duke), Fran Fraschilla, Jeff Goodman and Dave LaMont; Bleacher Report’s Jason King, former KU beat writer for the Kansas City Star; Mike DeCourcy, of The Sporting News; Eric Prisbell, of USA Today; Rob Dauster, of College Basketball Talk; and Dick Weiss, BlueStar Media.
Pat Forde, of Yahoo Sports, was the only voter to rank Allen Field House lower than No. 2, placing it fourth behind Hinkle Fieldhouse, Cameron Indoor and Louisville’s KFC Yum! Center.
Each year, new board members take a field trip to a place on campus that isn’t normally accessible to students. This year, Larry Hare, associate athletics director, gave the students a tour that included the men’s basketball lounge, the players’ walkway to the court, the equipment room that houses all the basketball uniforms, the practice facility– where Bill Self greeted the students– and finally, center court on James Naismith Court.
The students also bumped into a few players along the way, including Andrew Wiggins.
The meeting concluded in the donor atrium with a presentation by Mike Davis, senior vice president for donor and membership programs for the KU Alumni Association.
We are thrilled to welcome new students to the Student Alumni Leadership Board!
Congratulations to the NCAA outdoor track and field champions! Kansas Athletics has scheduled a welcome home celebration for the KU women’s track and field team today at 2 p.m. in Allen Fieldhouse. The event is free and open to the public. Doors will open at 2 p.m., and the team is expected to arrive close to 2:45 p.m. Come out and support these amazing ladies and help celebrate KU’s first women’s team championship in school history. Meantime, meet the champs in this video produced by KU Athletics.