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KU alumni Curtis Marsh, j’92, and Creighton Coover, b’98, g’01, sat down to talk KU hoops and recall their all-time favorite Jayhawk players and memorable moments on the occasion of the 120th anniversary of basketball at the University of Kansas.
Listen to their take on KU’s top teams, most memorable moments and all-time starting lineups, and let us know what you think. Have a favorite KU hoops memory you’d like to share? Drop us a line and let us hear about it!
Look who’s talking
Curtis Marsh is director of KU Info and the DeBruce Center, home of Naismith’s original rules of basketball, at the University of Kansas. An avid KU basketball fan and historian of all things KU, Marsh was an undergraduate in the late 80s and early 90s, when camping for games often involved sleeping outside in a tent. He is one of the famous Allen Fieldhouse whistlers, as covered on this blog, and helped launch (literally) the legend of Captain Jayhawk and the Superfans.
Creighton Coover is a senior account manager with iModules Software, where he spends his days helping alumni associations across the country manage their data (disclaimer: the KU Alumni Association is an iModules client). In his spare time, Creighton continues to pore over data, tracking historically significant stats of his beloved Jayhawks on Twitter. He was a repeat guest on Brian Hanni’s Rock Chalk Sports Talk show for a segment titled Beyond the Box Score.
McCollum Hall, the largest residence hall at the University of Kansas, was demolished at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, November 25.
Built in 1965, 10-story McCollum Hall was originally designed with a capacity of 910 residents. With two new residence halls now facing Lewis and Hashinger halls, the McCollum site will be paved for much-needed parking.
Watch our video below to see interviews detailing the history of McCollum Hall and the future of Daisy Hill with Becky Schulte, University archivist; Jim Modig, University architect; and Curtis Marsh, director of KU Info.
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:
The KU Memorial Unions and Student Union Activities hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony Jan. 29 to mark the grand opening of the Jayhawk Collection, which has a permanent home—thanks to the generosity of local donors James and Mary Ellen Ascher—in the Union’s level two corridor.
The 1,000-plus piece collection, which is displayed in floor-to-ceiling glass cases designed by Sabatini Architects and constructed by B.A. Green Construction, boasts almost any piece of KU memorabilia imaginable, including Jayhawk figurines in every shape and size, apparel, lamps, pens and even antique popcorn tins.
Kenneth “Bud” Jennings, ’57, who started the collection when he was 12, happily spoke to the crowd about the origins of his impressive assortment of KU memorabilia. “My neighbor, who worked at KU, gave me my first Jayhawk toy,” he recalled. From there, the collection only grew as Jennings went to garage sales and auctions over the years.
The collection had been on display in the Union for four years through an agreement with Jennings before he finally decided to auction it off. That was when James, ’51, and Mary Ellen, assoc., stepped in to make a donation to keep the collection where it belonged—on the KU campus.
Mike Reid, director of public affairs, acknowledged the Aschers’ generosity during the ceremony’s opening statements. “Thanks to the Aschers for stepping forward and keeping the Jayhawk spirit alive,” he said. “And thanks for letting us continue to share this collection with all of the Jayhawk nation.”
The Aschers also attended the ceremony and were on hand to help cut the ribbon. “I think it’s beautiful,” James said. “I’m amazed at what they’ve accomplished. The people who put this together are really the ones who get the credit.”
After the ceremony, participants walked the hallway, admiring the collection, which now also contains pieces donated by others in the KU community, and sharing their own stories about pieces they had acquired over the years. Curtis Marsh, j’92, director of KU Info, recognized a hat he had contributed to the collection and was excited to see it displayed with the other historical items. “No one’s going to believe me that it’s my contribution,” he joked.
The Jayhawk Collection is available for viewing at no charge during the Union’s normal operating hours. Be sure to stop by on your next visit to campus.
Watch the slideshow below to see photos from the event and of the Jayhawk Collection. Photos by Dan Storey.
The Jayhawk Boulevard facelift has changed more than just the pavement—the KU Info booth has been rebuilt to better serve students who walk the iconic thoroughfare.
Recent construction opened the door to creating a contemporary version of the classic structure. The original booth was a gift from the Class of 1950. The new and improved booth is larger and complies with Americans with Disabilities Act guidelines. “The old booth was perfectly comfortable for one person, but if there was more than one person, you’d better really like that other person,” says Curtis Marsh, KU Info director.
The new space represents KU Info’s commitment to remain a ready resource for students. “This service is here with whatever students need help with. You don’t get judged for the questions you ask,” says Marsh, j’92. “We’re the experts on the KU stuff, but if you want to know how to wash your clothes or cook ramen, we want to help students with any issues they have. We want alumni to call, too, because we love the fact that alumni think of us as a tradition.”
Marsh made sure to honor tradition in the ceremonial opening of the new booth by inviting Warren Corman, e’50, longtime University architect, to clip the ribbon.
KU Info receives an average of 300 inquiries a day. For help, visit kuinfo.ku.edu or call 785-864-3506.
The 2014 Homecoming Parade takes place at 6 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 26, in downtown Lawrence with a couple of familiar voices behind the microphone. John Holt, j’81, l’84, current news anchor for Fox 4, and Curtis Marsh, j’92, director of KU Info, will reunited to serve as the parade’s emcees.
Fun fact: these two Jayhawks also served as co-emcees of the 2010 Homecoming parade. The Homecoming theme was “Rock Chalk Roadtrip” and the creative entries featured a variety of transportation-themed floats. Robert Eaton, e’63, was the parade’s grand marshal.
This weekend, alumni, friends and KU Info superstars are invited to help celebrate the new KU Info booth on Jayhawk Boulevard. A ribbon cutting ceremony is planned for noon on Saturday, three hours before kickoff of the Homecoming football game. Learn more about the new booth in this post submitted by Curtis Marsh, j’92, director of KU Info.
KU students today are used to a continuous stream of crimson and blue buses that transport them to all reaches of Lawrence. In the 1950’s, just three decades after the electric trolley stopped running between campus and Massachusetts Street, there were buses on Jayhawk Blvd, but very few.
There was a bus stop on Jayhawk Boulevard, just south of Bailey Hall, built with funds from a gift of the class of 1950. Students could take shelter from the elements and wait for the occasional public transport. It included a small building that was rarely used. Research has only uncovered one example of its regular use, and that was in the volatile early 70’s when campus law enforcement committed to staffing the booth in the early evenings.
This small shelter fell into disrepair after decades of non-use. In the mid 2000’s, a group proposed refurbishing the booth to provide walk-up service for KU Info. The booth got a facelift, and from 2010 to spring 2014, students could get all their questions answered from 9 a.m.-4 p.m., Monday-Friday.
(The photo above right is from the 1960’s. The photo below was taken during the summer of 2014.)
But last summer, the booth had to be taken down in preparation for the second phase of the Jayhawk Boulevard reconstruction project. Because the structure was a class gift, and because it had been rejuvenated as a campus information desk, the decision was made to rebuild it just a few yards to the southwest of its original location.
The campus master plan dictated that the booth be further away from the street to increase safety for pedestrians. The structure was also moved closer to Wescoe Hall to better position it as a bus stop.
It represents a contemporary version of a classic campus structure and will still host KU Info staff during regular class times. KU Info itself is a contemporary version of a classic campus service, so it is a perfect marriage of the two.
—Curtis Marsh, j’92, director of KU Info
The photos below were taken on Tuesday, Sept. 23, and show the current state of construction on the booth.
Curtis Marsh, j’92, director of KU Info, explains how to juggle your responsibilities by adapting your approach in this wonderful short YouTube video. As he shared with an audience during his Last Lecture presentation, which we covered on our blog in March, you can take on more work and responsibilities if you handle it in a slightly different way than you did before. Confused? Don’t be. Curtis makes it look easy and shows you how to be more productive in life and in your career without getting stressed …and without dropping the ball!
Curtis Marsh, j’92, is director of KU Info and thus prepared to espouse a life’s worth of knowledge about the KU experience.
He shared his life’s lessons in a recent presentation at the Kansas Union in a room crowded with KU students, colleagues, alumni and friends. The Last Lecture Series, sponsored by the KU Office of Multicultural Affairs, invites campus figures to impart lasting words of wisdom. The program is patterned after the Last Lecture popularized by Carnegie Mellon Professor Randy Pausch, which was viewed by millions online, and later made into a best selling book.
Marsh is well known on campus as an authority on all things KU (he even contributed a story for this blog on the tradition of students camping for seats at Allen Fieldhouse). In his talk, titled “If only I’d been a better juggler — and had more pb&j …and other silly metaphors,” Marsh shared his sense of humor, balanced with perspective, and of course, a few facts from the archives of KU Info.
In addition to sharing quotations courtesy of Albus Dumbledore, delivered in a dead-on impression of Richard Harris’s character from Harry Potter, attendees learned that it would take approximately 6.4 trillion Allen Fieldhouses to fit inside the world’s oceans (yes, that was a KU Info question). Marsh noted that while many of questions fielded by his team of KU Info “superstars” ranged from silly to serious, finding the right answer always involves finding the right perspective. Someone who seems lost is more easily set on the right path once you know where they are coming from, Marsh told the audience. Such lessons kept the audience amused, inspired and certainly entertained.
At one point Marsh even showcased his juggling talent while making a point about finding balance in life and your career. Taking on more responsibilities, he explained, while (literally) keeping all of the balls in the air, sometimes means doing things an entirely different way. The result has something to do with PB&J, which he finally revealed is more than sandwich. The mnemonic device is meant to remind us that perspective, balance and juggling are life lessons worth remembering.
Don’t take my word for it. Mr. Marsh demonstrates how to juggle your responsibilities in this short video below.
This is a guest post by Curtis Marsh, j’92, director of KU Info and avid Jayhawk basketball fan. Curtis shares what camping out for basketball seats was like in the early days of the KU tradition. Students today might be surprised at the differences between then and now.
My wife proudly sports a luggage tag that reads, “I love not camping.” That may be the sentiment of many current and past students when it comes to seats at the KU men’s basketball games. Camping in many ways is a necessary evil, and none would argue it is a perfect system. But it remains a large and exciting component of the student section experience. I was part of the camping experience in its infancy, and keep close tabs on its current state. It could be the subject of a full sociological research study!
Camping began during the Larry Brown era. I became a student during Coach Brown’s last year (yes, the national championship year). Camping picked up significantly during the first few years of the Roy Williams era, but it looked markedly different than it does today. The big difference? We camped. In tents, overnight. Even for games in January and February.
I will stop short of claiming we got to the Field House by trudging barefoot through the snow, uphill both ways. But seriously, we camped overnight! Because of that, we were fortunate to have smaller numbers of camping groups. These days, there are between 50 and 200 groups that line up two hours before tipoff. We had perhaps 20 to 30, and the number of groups willing to stay overnight for the most coveted seats was never more than a dozen.
We also benefited from limited competition. The most hardcore camping groups did not want the same seating areas. One or two groups wanted to sit behind the bench, one or two under the south basket and two or three under the north. When it came time to charge the seating area, we laid out on the benches, set down newspaper pages–we saved seats like bench hogs. We thought it was our right, having slept in the cold for those seats.
Mayhem eventually gave way to common sense. In the early 90s, Kansas Athletics staff members began stringing extension cords for us to prevent hypothermia. We brought heaters and electric blankets–and Nintendos and stereos. Staff members would arrive at work some mornings to find blown fuses. That was when they banned camping: “Please leave when the building shuts down for the night, and return when we reopen in the morning.”
The rest is history, best chronicled by a current student. Camping for games is a badge of honor, regardless of how it occurs. For many reasons we can claim the best game day experience in the country–whether it includes a collection of tents outside Allen or 2,000 students congregating at 6 a.m. for a lottery to get tickets to the KU vs. Pittsburg State exhibition game.
The student section in Allen Fieldhouse in the early 1990’s looked a lot different than the current-day student section.