The sports teams at the University of Kansas (KU), in Lawrence, Kansas, are known as the Jayhawks. KU is one of three schools in the state of Kansas that participate in NCAA Division I. The Jayhawks are also a member of the Big 12 Conference. University of Kansas athletic teams have won eleven NCAA Division I championships, including three in men's basketball, one in men's cross country, three in men's indoor track and field, three in men's outdoor track and field, and one in women's outdoor track and field.
The origin of the term "Jayhawk" (short for "Jayhawker") is uncertain. The term was adopted as a nickname by a group of emigrants traveling to California in 1849. The origin of the term may go back as far as the Revolutionary War, when it was reportedly used to describe a group associated with American patriot John Jay.
The term became part of the lexicon of the Missouri-Kansas border in about 1858, during the Kansas territorial period. The term was used to describe militant bands nominally associated with the free-state cause. One early Kansas history contained this succinct characterization of the jayhawkers:
“Confederated at first for defense against pro-slavery outrages, but ultimately falling more or less completely into the vocation of robbers and assassins, they have received the name --- whatever its origin may be -- of jayhawkers.”
Another historian of the territorial period described the jayhawkers as bands of men that were willing to fight, kill, and rob for a variety of motives that included defense against pro-slavery "Border Ruffians", abolition, driving pro-slavery settlers from their claims of land, revenge, and/or plunder and personal profit.
Over time, proud of their state's contributions to the end of slavery and the preservation of the Union, Kansans embraced the "Jayhawker" term. The term came to be applied to people or items related to Kansas. When the University of Kansas fielded their first football team in 1890, like many Universities at that time, they had no official mascot. They used many different independent mascots, including a pig. Eventually, sometime during the 1890s, the team was referred to as the Jayhawkers by the student body. Over time, the name was gradually supplanted by its shorter variant, and KU’s sports teams are now almost exclusively known as the Jayhawks. The Jayhawk appears in several Kansas cheers, most notably, the "Rock Chalk, Jayhawk" chant in unison before and during games. In the traditions promoted by KU, the jayhawk is said to be a combination of two birds, “the blue jay, a noisy, quarrelsome thing known to rob other nests, and the sparrow hawk, a stealthy hunter.”
The link between the term “Jayhawkers” and any specific kind of mythical bird, if it ever existed, had been lost or at least obscured by the time KU’s bird mascot was invented in 1912. The originator of the bird mascot, Henry Maloy, struggled for over two years to create a pictorial symbol for the team, until hitting upon the bird idea. As explained by Mr. Maloy, “the term ‘jayhawk’ in the school yell was a verb and the term ‘jayhawkers’ was the noun.” KU’s current Jayhawk tradition largely springs from Frank W. Blackmar, a KU professor. In his 1926 address on the origin of the Jayhawk, Blackmar specifically referenced the blue jay and sparrow hawk. Blackmar’s address served to soften the link between KU’s athletic team moniker and the Jayhawkers of the Kansas territorial period, and helped explain the relatively recently invented Jayhawk pictorial symbol with a myth that appears to have been of even more recent fabrication.
Conference championships & titles
Big 12 Conference champions have the best conference regular season record, and titles are awarded to the winner of the postseason championship tournament. In all sports combined (as of May 2011) the Jayhawks have won total of 168 conference titles all-time, 24 championships since joining the Big 12. Note that approximately 1/3 of those are from the Men's basketball team.
1892 Western Interstate University Football Association champion
1893 Western Interstate University Football Association champion (tie)
1895 Western Interstate University Football Association champion (tie)
1908 – MVIAA champion – coached by A.R. Kennedy, was undefeated (4–0; 9–0 overall)
The Jayhawks have won or shared an NCAA record 56 conference championships since they joined their first conference in 1907. The Jayhawks have belonged to the Big 12 Conference since it formed before the 1996–97 season. Before that, the Jayhawks have belonged to the Missouri Valley Intercollegiate Athletic Association from the 1907–08 to 1927–28 seasons, the Big Six Conference from 1928–29 to 1946–47, the Big Seven Conference from 1947–48 to 1957–58, the Big Eight Conference from 1958–59 up until the end of the 1995–96 season. It should be noted that the Big Six and Big Seven conferences were actually the more often used names of the Missouri Valley Intercollegiate Athletic Association, which existed under that official name until 1964, when it was changed to the Big Eight.
Missouri Valley Intercollegiate Athletic Association (13)
The Jayhawks men's basketball program is one of the most successful and prestigious programs in the history of college basketball. The Jayhawks' first coach was the inventor of the game, James Naismith. The program has produced some of the game's greatest professional players (including Clyde Lovellette, Wilt Chamberlain, Jo Jo White, and Paul Pierce) and most successful coaches (including Phog Allen, Adolph Rupp, Ralph Miller, Dutch Lonborg, John McLendon, Larry Brown, Dean Smith, Roy Williams, and Bill Self). The program has enjoyed considerable national success, having been selected Helms Foundation National Champions in 1922 and 1923, winning NCAA national championships in 1952, 1988, and 2008, and playing in 14 Final Fours, and is one of only three programs to win more than 2,000 games. In Street & Smith's Annual list of 100 greatest college basketball programs of all time in 2005, KU ranked 4th.
Kansas first fielded a women's team during the 1968–1969 season. For thirty-one seasons (1973–2004) the women's team was coached by Marian Washington, who led the team to three Big Eight championships, one Big 12 Championship, six conference tournament championships, eleven NCAA Tournament appearances and four AIAW Tournament appearances. The team's best post-season result was a Sweet Sixteen appearance in 1998. Kansas is currently coached by Bonnie Henrickson who is in her 6th season.
KU began playing football in 1890. The football team has had notable alumni including Gale Sayers, a two-time All-American who later enjoyed an injury-shortened yet Hall of Fame career with the Chicago Bears; John Riggins, another Pro Football Hall of Famer and Super Bowl XVII MVP with the Washington Redskins; Pro Football Hall of Famer for the Cleveland Browns, Mike McCormack; plus John Hadl, Curtis McClinton, Dana Stubblefield, Bobby Douglass, and Nolan Cromwell. The Jayhawks have appeared three times in the Orange Bowl: 1948, 1969 and 2008. The team currently plays in Memorial Stadium (capacity 50,071), the seventh oldest college football stadium in the nation, which opened in 1921. The team is currently led by head coach Charlie Weis.
Kansas baseball began in 1880 and has produced notable players such as Bob Allison and Steve Renko. The team has appeared in four NCAA tournaments (1993, 1994, 2006, 2009) and one College World Series (1993).
Notable non varsity sports
Founded in 1964, Kansas Jayhawks Rugby Football Club plays college rugby in the Division 1 Heart of America conference against its many of its traditional Big 8 / Big 12 rivals such as Kansas State and Missouri. Kansas finished the 2011 year ranked 24th. Kansas rugby has embarked on international tours since 1977, playing in Europe, New Zealand and Argentina. The team plays its matches at the Westwick Rugby Complex, which was funded by $350,000 in alumni donations. Kansas often hosts the annual Heart of America sevens tournament played every September, the winner of which qualifies for the USA Rugby sevens national championship.
A recent rival of Kansas, especially in basketball, has been the University of Texas. Since the two schools joined the same Conference in 1996, they have often competed for basketball dominance of the Big 12. Kansas and Texas met in the Big 12 Tournament final from 2006 through 2008, and again in 2011, with Kansas winning all four. It was Texas who broke Kansas' school- and conference-record 69-game homecourt winning streak in January 2011.
The 160-year-old rivalry between Kansas and Missouri began with open violence that up to the American Civil War known as Bleeding Kansas that took place in the Kansas Territory (Sacking of Lawrence) and the western frontier towns of Missouri throughout the 1850s. The incidents were clashes between pro-slavery factions from both states and anti-slavery Kansans to influence whether Kansas would enter the Union as a free or slave state. In the opening year of the war, six Missouri towns (the largest being Osceola) and large swaths of the western Missouri country side were plundered and burned by guerrilla "Jayhawkers" from Kansas. The Sacking of Osceola led to a retaliatory raid on Lawrence, Kansas two years later known as the Lawrence Massacre killing between 185 and 200 men and boys, which in turn led to the infamous General Order No. 11 (1863), the forced depopulation of several western Missouri counties. The raid on Lawrence was led by William Quantrill, a Confederate guerrilla born in Ohio who had formed his bushwhacker group at the end of 1861. At the time the Civil War broke out, Quantrill was a resident of Lawrence, Kansas teaching school.
The athletic rivalry began with a football game on October 31, 1891. Currently it is the second longest played series in Division I football and has been described as one of the most intense in the nation. However, no games are currently scheduled for the 2012-2013 school year after Missouri accepted an offer to join the Southeastern Conference and Kansas refused Missouri's offer to continue rivalry outside of the conference. In the basketball series Kansas leads by a large margin (172-95 KU), in football Missouri leads by a very small margin (56-55-9 MU) and baseball Missouri leads by a large margin.
Kansas had a rivalry with the Nebraska Cornhuskers, though that rivalry had more to do with who had the better sports program, with Kansas priding itself on its basketball prowess and Nebraska on its football dominance. This rivalry of sports cultures has gone dormant with Nebraska's departure for the Big 10 Conference in 2011. Prior to 2011, the football series between the 2 schools was the 3rd most played rivalry in college football behind Minnesota-Wisconsin and Kansas-Missouri. In basketball, Kansas leads the all-time series 170-71.
See: Baby Jay , Big Jay, and Centennial Jay (C Jay) . C Jay was introduced at the Kansas vs. Missouri basketball game (February 25, 2012) to honor the one-hundredth anniversary of the Kansas Jayhawk.
2007–2008 football and men's basketball seasons, KU amassed a combined 49–4 record (12–1 football, 37–3 basketball), which is the most combined wins ever by a NCAA Division I program, and is also one of only 2 college sports programs to win a BCS Bowl game and a College Basketball National Championship in the same sports season, the other was the 2006-2007 Florida Gators who won the BCS national championship and their second consecutive basketball national championship.
2011-2012 & 2012-2013 basketball seasons, After the women's basketball team's 75-69 defeat of South Carolina, the University of Kansas became the only school in the nation over those two seasons to have their men's and women's basketball teams both qualify for the Sweet 16 back-to-back seasons.
Phog Allen played basketball at KU under James Naismith. He was known[by whom?] as the "Father of Basketball Coaching" as he coached and mentored Hall of Fame coaches Dutch Lonberg, Adolph Rupp, Ralph Miller, and Dean Smith. Allen, Lonberg, Rupp, Miller, and Smith (all KU alumni and basketball players) amassed 3,481 career wins as head coaches. No other five alumni from any other school come close to this figure. When Allen retired he was the leader in all-time wins (746) until passed by Rupp, who held it until passed by Smith. Allen also founded the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) in 1927, which went on to create the NCAA Tournament in 1939. While at Kansas, he was also a member of the Football and Baseball teams.
Charles B. Black, Basketball player and only four-time All-American in KU history (2 of those years he was Consensus All-American). First 1,000 point scorer at KU.
Charlie T. Black, Basketball player, was member of 1922 and 1923 Helms National Championship teams. Two-time All-American and 1924 Helms National Player of the Year.
B. H. Born, Basketball player. Member of 1952 National Championship team and 1953 National runner-up team. 1953 NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player. In the 1953 National Final game he scored 26 points, pulled down 15 rebounds, and blocked 13 shots. First-round NBA Draft pick who declined to play in the league. Helped recruit Wilt Chamberlain.
Bill Bridges, Basketball player, 3-time NBA All Star. 1975 NBA Champion. 2-time NBA All-Defensive Team. 13-year NBA career.
Mario Chalmers, NBA Player, Hit the "Shot heard 'round the world" to send the 2008 NCAA Championship Game into overtime, eventually beating Memphis for the 2008 National Championship Title, currently plays for Miami Heat
Wilt Chamberlain, two-time All American, Final Four MVP, National Basketball Hall of Fame, Top 50 All Time Greatest NBA players
Paul Endacott, Basketball player and member of 1922 and 1923 Helms National Championship teams. Named 1923 Helms National Player of the Year.
Ray Evans starred both on the hardwood and the gridiron. Playing both offense and defense, he led KU to the 1948 Orange Bowl. Only player in college football history to lead the nation in passing (on offense) and interceptions (on defense) in the same season. Single-season KU leader in interceptions with 10, as well as career leader with 17. All-American in football and in basketball. Drafted by the New York Knicks and Pittsburgh Steelers. His time in college was interrupted by three years of service in the United States Army Air Forces. Therefore, his All-American Basketball season was 1943 and his All-American Football season was 1947. He is the only player at KU to have his jersey retired both in football and basketball. Member of the College Football Hall of Fame.
Matt Gogel, golf, PGA Tour winner of 2002 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am
Dutch Lonborg, Basketball player under Phog Allen. Member of the Basketball Hall of Fame as a Head Coach.
Clyde Lovellette, Basketball player, led KU to the 1952 NCAA Tournament championship. The only player in NCAA history to lead the nation in scoring and then win the National Championship in the same season. 1952 NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player. Scored a then record 141 points in the 1952 NCAA Tournament. 3-time All-American (twice Consensus All-American) and 1952 Helms College Player of the Year. 1952 Olympic Gold Medalist while earning the Most Outstanding Player and leading the team in scoring. 9th overall pick in the 1952 NBA Draft. 4-time NBA All Star, 3-time NBA champion, and Basketball Hall of Fame member.
Dave Robisch, All-American forward, 2-time Big 8 Player of the Year, 13-year ABA/NBA player
Adolph Rupp, Basketball Player under Phog Allen. Member of 1922 and 1923 Helms National Championship teams. Retired as winningest college basketball Head Coach with 876 wins. Member of Basketball Hall of Fame.
Dean Smith played basketball under Phog Allen. Also played baseball. Member of the 1952 National Championship Basketball Team. Assistant Coach at KU for 1 season. Retired as winningest college basketball Head Coach with 879 wins. Member of Basketball Hall of Fame.
Lynette Woodard, 4-time All-American, Major college basketball's career Women's Scoring leader, Gold Medalist 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games, First woman ever to play with Harlem Globetrotters, WNBA player, former Assistant and Interim Head Coach for the Kansas Jayhawks, National Basketball Hall of Fame, Women's Basketball Hall of Fame
Falkenstien, Max; as told to Doug Vance (1996). Max and the Jayhawks: 50 years on and off the air with KU Sports. Wichita, Kansas: The Wichita Eagle & Beacon Publishing Company, Inc.Cite uses deprecated parameters (help)
^Fox, Simeon M. "The Story of the Seventh Kansas." Transactions of the Kansas State Historical Society 8(1904): 13-49.
^The Daily Cleveland Herald, (Cleveland, OH) Saturday, December 21, 1861. Issue 301; column B
^Spring, Leverett Wilson. Kansas, The Prelude to the War for the Union. New York: Boston Houghton, Mifflin and Company, 1896
^Welch, G. Murlin. Border Warfare in Southeast Kansas: 1856-1859. Linn County Publishing Co., Inc. 1977.