1952 Jayhawks returning to KU for 50th reunion

Friday, January 18, 2002

A majority of the surviving members of the 1952 Kansas University basketball team that won the national title and had seven men on the victorious U.S. Olympic team will gather here the weekend of Feb. 2 for a 50th reunion.

Bill Hougland, Bill Lienhard and Allen Kelley, members of the NCAA title squad who live in Lawrence, are handling arrangements.

There will be a gathering the evening of Feb. 1 at Hougland's house. The group will attend the KU-Colorado game the following afternoon. On Saturday night a dinner and informal program are planned at the Adams Alumni Center.

After winning the NCAA championship in March of 1952, the Jayhawks were runners-up to the AAU Peoria Caterpillar-Diesels in the Olympic playoffs. Seven KU men played for the unbeaten U.S. team in Helsinki, Finland. KU coach Phog Allen was an assistant Olympic coach under Peoria's Warren Womble.

The KU Olympians were All-American Clyde Lovellette, Hougland, Lienhard, Bob Kenney, Dean Kelley, Charlie Hoag and John Keller. Dean Kelley and Keller are deceased.

Among those scheduled to return is Dean Smith, a 1952 and 1953 KU reserve guard who later set a national record for college coaching victories at North Carolina.

Lovellette is still the only player to lead the nation in scoring (with a 28.5 average) and anchor his team to a national college crown.

"Things are really looking good for a great turnout," Lienhard said. "Clyde (Lovellette) has indicated he may be bringing 18 people, including a brother and a cousin. He's obviously 'up' for the event and we're not sure if we can get enough tickets for them all for the Colorado game."

Other members of the '52 squad that produced KU's first NCAA title with a 28-3 record were Ken Buller, John Thompson, Don Anderson, Jack Rodgers, LaVannes Squires, Everett Dye, Bob Godwin, Larry Davenport, Wes Whitney, Wes Johnson, Dean Wells, Bill Heitholt, B.H. Born and Wally Beck.

Allen, assistant Dick Harp and team trainer Dean Nesmith are deceased. However, Wayne Louderback, who was student manager, will return.

Dean and Allen Kelley and Born were mainstays of the 1953 KU team that lost by a point to Indiana in the NCAA finals in Kansas City.

Hougland, a 1952 and 1956 Olympic basketball team member, is a former executive with Koch Industries.