Coaching Legends

KU coaching legends Ted Owens, Larry Brown, Roy Williams and Bill Self

KU coaching legends Ted Owens, Larry Brown, Roy Williams and Bill Self

In my studio at KU this past Monday stood four men that have been a major part of my 45-year-photographic life. Each stood as a reminder once again of how blessed I have been to photograph them and to know them throughout what is now my long career. During the evening celebration of the 60 years of Allen Fieldhouse, these men, whom KU fans hold with such regard that they have become demigods, delighted the crowd of 7,500 in their cathedral of basketball glory.

As each coach reflected on their careers at Kansas, I did the same. I was 18-years-old when I first focused a lens on Ted Owens across the elevated basketball court in Allen Fieldhouse. A month short of my 20th birthday, I sat on the monstrously elevated court in Houston’s Astrodome photographing my second Final Four, and the first on my own, as Owens’ KU team fell to one of John Wooden’s great UCLA dynasty teams.

In March of 1988, one day after Easter, I flooded the court as a 36-year-old to photograph Larry Brown and the great Danny Manning in celebration of their National Championship in Kansas City after one of the truly great basketball games ever played and coached. The brief roller coaster ride on which Brown took KU fans was the precursor to even greater glory.

I forgot to have Laura take a photograph of me with the coaches.  The Lawrence Journal-World photographer, Nick Krug, was kind enough to take this photo of me with coach Williams.  (Nick Krug)

I forgot to have Laura take a photograph of me with the coaches. The Lawrence Journal-World photographer, Nick Krug, was kind enough to take this photo of me with coach Williams. (Nick Krug)

Virtually unknown when hired at KU, Roy Williams quickly took KU to new heights that included a 150-95 win on Dec. 9, 1989, in Allen Fieldhouse over Kentucky. That game remains the craziest basketball game I have ever photographed. The sustained noise in the Fieldhouse was the loudest a 38-year-old ever heard or has heard since. While I photographed Roy Williams often before coming to KU in 1997 at 46, he was the first coach I truly came to know well.

Bill Self’s amazing run through the Big 12, including the National Championship in 2008, began when I was  52 and continues through Monday’s celebration now at 63. Laura joined me for all that long run which included the end of the heated Missouri rivalry, culminating with a dramatic 19-point comeback, overtime victory in their last meeting in Allen Fieldhouse in 2012.

So many games, so much drama, so many wonderful photographs, yet, what I will remember is the casual ease and conversation we shared, along Laura, in the studio on Monday afternoon. During a day filled with countless autographs, plaudits and deserved acclaim, I tried with one photograph to thank them for all of those great moments, photographs and most of all their kindness and friendship.

Laura did pose with the coaches. Coach Self pointed out that Laura played her high school basketball for  the late  Jim Keith, and then at Oklahoma. She really enjoyed the nice conversation of her career with such an esteemed group.

Laura with the coaches. Coach Self pointed out that Laura played high school basketball for the late Jim Keith, and then at OU. Each knew of Keith, and she enjoyed the conversation about her career with such an esteemed group.

 

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About jeffjacobsen

Thank you for reading my blog, Here I Stand. You can read all about me, my wife and my family on the Family page. God bless and keep you.
This entry was posted in Friends, History, Kansas Athletics, Laura Jacobsen, Photography, Sports and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Coaching Legends

  1. Wayne Zachary says:

    good stuff and great memories as usual, JJ. i have had the pleasure and honor of meeting and knowing each of them somewhat myself, and worked with Roy and Bill in my current capacity. it was very nice that Roy spotted me on the stairs to the atria and came over with Joe Holiday to speak with me. i was surprised they remembered me. thanks for the last few blogs and the trips down memory lane.

    Wayne

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