Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Former KU assistant Pfitsch dies


Former Kansas University basketball assistant coach John A. Pfitsch died Friday at age 92 according to an obituary appearing in the Des Moines Register.

As a graduate assistant, Pfitsch served two years as KU’s freshman team basketball coach starting in 1940. After serving in World War II, Pfitsch spent one year as an assistant coach for Phog Allen during the 1945-46 season. He was Allen’s first assistant coach.

Pfitsch also met his wife, Emily Hollis, during his time at KU.


utahjayhawk 8 years, 4 months ago

On to better things, John. Thanks for your part in KU history.

jakejayhawk 8 years, 4 months ago

Condolences to the Pfitsch family. I appreciate that the LJW honors contributors like this.

Interesting idea for a story: if Coach Pfitsch was Phog’s first assistant, how was the team structured during all those preceding years? Did Phog do everything himself with the assistance of team managers? Considered the “Father of Basketball Coaching” with innovations such as the training table and practice regimen, is this another example of his contributions to the game?

5yardfuller 8 years, 4 months ago

I don't think it is correct that Pfitsch was Allen's first assistant coach. John Bunn definitely assisted Allen in the 1920's. Elmer Schaake was Allen's assistant the year before Pfitsch was.

dreadpirate82 8 years, 4 months ago

Coach Pfitsch became a legend at Grinnell College, where I went to school, coaching basketball, tennis, football, soccer, and numerous other sports. He retired in the spring of 1998. The following fall, I tore my quad on the 3rd day of football practice. Fortunately for me, Coach Pfitsch drove his truck right up to the practice field every single day to watch practice. He stood there and told me stories every day I was on the sideline, regaling me with tales of Phog Allen and Grinnell from back in the day. Best injury ever. He was an incredibly nice man and will always be remembered by those lucky enough to come in contact with him.

johnsont1 8 years, 4 months ago

I went there for tennis and graduated in '09! Unfortunately this was way after he retired so I never got to meet him, but everyone understood what he did for the college. Good to see some Pioneer-Jayhawks around here!

jaybate 8 years, 4 months ago

What offense and defense did Pfitsch run at Grinnell? :-)

Really, if you might know any Grinnellians before your years, ask them and then share it with us here.

I am always on the lookout to learn details about various offshoots of Allen Ball. Because Pfitsch had a long career and much opportunity to experiment with basketball systems what he did might reveal a lot.

Thanks in advance.

johnsont1 8 years, 4 months ago

I'll look into it. In the meantime, there's a great article/interview of him by one of my friends in one of grinnell's magazines published two years ago:

tusananne 8 years, 4 months ago

dreadpirate82- Great follow up to the article!

5yardfuller 8 years, 4 months ago

Found this in the Journal-World from May 25, 1945.


Dr. F. C Allen Receives Weapon From Capt. John Pfitsch

Dr. F. C. Allen, head of the physical education department at the University of Kansas, is the proud owner of a German dress sword, which he received this morning.

The sword was sent by Capt. John Pfitsch, a member of the physical education staff a few years ago, while working on his master's degree at K. U., who is now somewhere in Germany."

Commenting has been disabled for this item.