It’s no wonder Paul Endacott became the first in a long line of great basketball players for the University of Kansas.
Let’s see, you learn the game from the man who invented it, and then you play it for a man who is considered the father of college basketball coaching.
Dr. James Naismith and Phog Allen were those two men. Endacott learned and listened and parlayed his skills to produce a great college career for the Jayhawks.
Called, “the greatest player I ever coached” by the legendary Allen, Endacott helped start the unparalleled basketball tradition at Kansas. Endacott was a two-time All-American for the Jayhawks and was named the national player of the year in 1923 by the Helms Athletic Foundation.
A native of Lawrence, Endacott learned the game of basketball at the Lawrence YMCA from Naismith, the inventor of the game. During his prep days at Lawrence Memorial High School, Endacott was selected as a Kansas all-state guard.
Later, in college, Endacott was known for his tenacious defense and on-the-court leadership. He helped lead the Jayhawks to their first undefeated Missouri Valley Conference record, 16-0, in 1923 (17-1 overall) and played on two Helms Foundation national championship teams. Those two title teams of 1922 and ’23 won 31 of 32 conference games in the Missouri Valley and had an overall record of 33-3.
Following his collegiate career, Endacott went to work as an engineer for Phillips Petroleum Company. He played four years for the AAU Phillips Petroleum Company team, the Phillips 66 Oilers (1924-28). His exemplary work for the company developed numerous patents and led to him serving as president of Phillips Petroleum from 1951-67.
In 1943, Endacott was named to the Helms Foundation’s All-Time All-American second team in voting by a panel of 13 college coaches.
Nearly 30 years later, Allen named Endacott to his all-time college basketball team in 1951, along with KU’s Clyde Lovellette, Oklahoma A&M’s Bob Kurland, DePaul’s George Mikan and Stanford’s Hank Luisetti.
In 1969, Endacott received the Sportsmen’s World Award in basketball for “Performances and exemplary personal conduct which have stood the test of time.”
Endacott received the ultimate honor in basketball in 1972 when he was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Five years later, he was selected to the University of Kansas Athletic Hall of Fame.
Endacott’s love of the University of Kansas never wavered. In addition to serving as president of the KU Alumni Association, he formed a plan in the mid-1980s to fund the KU Retirees Club as a way of saying thank you to faculty members. The Endacott Foundation is now in its 21st year.
Prior to his 90th birthday on January 25, 1992, Endacott’s jersey was retired at halftime of the Nebraska-Kansas game in Allen Fieldhouse. Nearly five years later, Endacott passed away on Jan. 8, 1997.