Pay Heed: ‘Beware of the Phog’ banner turns 30

Posted on Feb 20, 2018 in Alumni News, News, and Sports

Pay Heed, All Who Enter

In 1988, a couple of KU students hatched an idea, created a banner and left a legacy that has come to define KU’s storied Allen Fieldhouse, known to many simply as “the Phog.” Thirty years later, the friends and KU alumni reunited to reminisce about the banner and how it all came to be.

“I was in class one day and had been thinking about it for a while,” Todd Gilmore revealed in a recent article in the Kansas City Star. “Then we started talking about building it.”

Gilmore, a’88, and classmate Michael Gentemann, a’88, went on the record in a short documentary aired by ESPN this week, sharing the story of how their partner in crime, Tom Kippenberger, a’88, managed to secure ten shower curtains from McCollum Hall, pinning them together to form one massive banner.

Gentemann did the honors by sketching out the now-famous phrase while a group of friends painted the sacred text on the banner sprawled across the floor of a hallway in Marvin Hall.

The banner was first hoisted into the rafters of the fieldhouse on Feb. 20, 1988.

“I’d never ever heard the words ‘the Phog,’ and he coined it,” Gentemann said of Gilmore’s reference to Forrest Allen’s nickname, now synonymous with the fieldhouse that bears his name. “It took off from there. Now it’s on T-shirts, coffee mugs, credit cards… it’s on everything.”

The short documentary can be watched in its entirety here, with comments from Coach Bill Self, ESPN College Game Day Analyst Jay Bilas and Allen’s own granddaughter, Judy Morris, c’60.

“What it has done is not only give the opposing team a little shudder maybe as they come through the doors,” Morris reflects in the mini-documentary, “but it also puts my grandfather’s name, “Phog,” out there and makes people remember him.”

Phog Allen’s legacy, and the phrase inspired by his name, live on inside Allen Fieldhouse where a vinyl version of the banner has replaced the original. It hangs in the Booth Hall of Athletics, enshrined behind glass, where Gilmore can admire their handiwork and marvel at that magical time in 1988.

“To win the national championship our senior year, Danny’s last year, we had this banner put up, what a perfect way to end a college career,” he said. “Can’t get any better than that.”

ABOUT THE VIDEO:

Curtis Marsh, director of the DeBruce Center, shared some behind-the-scenes information about the making of the video.

“We hosted the film crew in the DeBruce Center, along with a sizable group of the guys who created the banner. It was great to see a collection of alumni who still remain close and connect regularly. They were a treat to have in the building, and we did all the interviews on the DeBruce Center third floor, just steps away from where the men’s and women’s basketball teams eat their evening meals.”

So, about the footage of the students creating the banner…

“The following day, a group of current students were filmed painting a replica of the Banner, pretending to hang it in the Fieldhouse and even pretending to steal the shower curtains. The film crew did such a great job with the video reenactment that many viewers think it’s the real footage from the 80s! Some clips came from a video from that time period, but the banner footage is from 2018.”

READ MORE:

The creators of the famous “Beware of the Phog” banner, hanging at Allen Fieldhouse, home of the Jayhawks, tell you how they did it in this interview with Jesse Newell for the Kansas City Star.

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