By Ian Echlin
College basketball fans remember Steve Fisher for coaching the Fab Five at Michigan. But Kansas Jayhawk fans will remember Fisher with San Diego State as a scrape on Bill Self’s home record at Allen Fieldhouse – like a healed scar.
After Fisher, who announced his retirement this month, departed from Allen Fieldhouse Jan. 5, 2014, it was KU and the Jayhawk fans who were left in a Phog.
“If we had come in here and not won, we still have a good program. I’m proud of that fact, but to come in here and give Bill Self his ninth home loss, that’s pretty neat,” Fisher said.
After that loss, KU started a 51-game win streak in Lawrence, ending on Feb. 4 with an overtime loss, 92-89, to Iowa State. That ISU win, by the way, gave the Cyclones bragging rights as the only program to claim two wins over KU in the Self Era at Allen Fieldhouse, one under current coach Steve Prohm and the other under Wayne Morgan.
Self, to be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, has an astonishing home record of 220-10.
Here’s another note: with Fisher’s retirement and the firing of Scott Sutton at Oral Roberts, the number of active head coaches with road wins at KU dwindles to four. Georgia coach Mark Fox, during his previous stint at Nevada, remains the only active non-Big 12 coach to win at KU.
Prohm, meanwhile, is the only current Big 12 coach to win in the Fieldhouse. Rick Barnes won while at Texas in 2011 before joining Fox in the SEC as the Tennessee coach two years ago. When Barnes notched that road win, 74-63, in ’11, he snapped KU’s 69-game home court winning streak. It was the longest active streak at the time and Self’s longest home court winning streak. In that stretch were three seasons of perfect home records, including the ’07-08 national championship season.
Former Oklahoma State coach Travis Ford just completed his first season at Saint Louis University. But while with the Cowboys, he joined the exclusive coaching club for wins at KU with an 85-80 triumph in ’13.
On the flip side, Baylor coach Scott Drew, despite the plethora of Bears talent that has taken the floor at Allen Fieldhouse, has never won at KU.
“We don’t lose at home, so that’s just something that’s harder to digest, but at the same time you’ve got to look at the bigger picture,” Kansas forward Landen Lucas said after the loss to Iowa State.
If any Big 12 coach has a vision of breaking KU’s streak of 13 straight conference championships, it starts with putting their names on that list of the few who have won at Allen Fieldhouse.