More than a decade after his last public appearance at Allen Fieldhouse, Roy Williams is coming back to Kansas. This time, for a reunion.
Williams will join former Kansas coaches Ted Owens and Larry Brown — and current coach Bill Self — for a night of festivities on Monday, Oct. 27 celebrating the 60th season of basketball at Allen Fieldhouse.
“Only at Kansas do we get to celebrate a milestone such as this, bringing four living legends together to honor our history and legacy,” Kansas athletic director Sheahon Zenger said Tuesday in a statement announcing the event.
It will be, in some respects, a collision of eras under one roof, with the only four living men to have coached KU coming together in Allen Fieldhouse for what is believed to be the first time. Self likes to say that no school enjoys and appreciates its basketball more than Kansas, and this event, dubbed “Celebrating 60 years” will certainly test that thesis. Allen Fieldhouse, named for legendary Kansas coach Forrest C. “Phog” Allen, opened on March 1, 1955.
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"For 115 years, Kansas has been a standard of excellence for our sport," Self said in a statement. "There aren't very many places — if any — where you can invite back the last four coaches who have led the program for the last 51 years to celebrate an anniversary like this one.”
The night, though, could be most notable for the return of Williams, who hopped a plane to North Carolina in April 2003 and left Kansas after four Final Fours in 15 seasons. Williams has been back to Lawrence many times over the years — often quietly to see old friends — but he’s rarely been associated with the basketball program (Except for one rather memorable sticker at the 2008 NCAA title game). For years after his departure, Williams was persona non grata among Kansas fans. But some of those emotions have cooled over the years.
“Coaching in that arena is a real treat and I loved it,” Williams said. “I'm ecstatic to be part of this anniversary celebration."
Brown, who led Kansas to the 1988 NCAA championship, will make for three current NCAA Division I coaches in the building. After a long career in the NBA, Brown is entering his third season at Southern Methodist University.
“I can't imagine a place being more special than Allen Fieldhouse,” Brown said. “It was such a great opportunity to coach in that environment.”
The event is being planned in conjunction with the Kansas athletic department and Self’s Assists Foundation. According to Kansas, proceeds from the event will go to charities chosen by all four coaches. Ticket information for the event will be released in early September.