From 1923 to 1927, Kansas owned the Missouri Valley Conference. The Jayhawks had won five-straight conference titles, and lost only nine games during that time. That run of conference championships was the longest in school history until Kansas won six-straight Big 12 rings in 2010.
A large piece of that later success was Gale Gordon, a two-time first-team All-American and All-Missouri Valley Conference center. Gordon's All-American honor in 1926 was a consensus first-team All-American award. Gordon played for the Jayhawks for three seasons from 1925-27.
Suiting up in 49 games, Gordon scored 219 points for an average of 4.5 per game. In one of those early 49 games, Gordon was on hand when the Jayhawks won their 300th game, a 33-11 win over Iowa State in 1925.
One of 32 Jayhawks with a jersey retired in Allen Fieldhouse, Al Peterson garnered many awards as a center. The All-American standout played under Phog Allen from 1925-27.
In the book “Better Basketball,” Phog Allen said at the conclusion of the 1927 season, the Lawrence Journal-World asked James Naismith to select an “All-Modern KU Basketball Team” from the 1923-27 teams. Naismith selected Paul Endacott, Tus Ackerman, Charlie T. Black, Al Peterson and Gordon for the honor.
But the 1926 championship didn’t look like it was going to happen.
Through four games, Kansas started the season 2-2 after dropping the season opener to Washington (Mo.) 18-25, and a game against Oklahoma 21-29.
In “Better Basketball,” after “a neat Dr. Jekyll-Mr. Hyde stunt, playing the Sooners off their feet in the first half and being just as badly outclassed in the second frame,” he changed the lineup.
Allen switched Glenn Burton and Gordon’s positions. Kansas didn’t lose another game that season.
“Jayhawker,” the University yearbook, celebrated the team's success, writing “Peterson, Gordon, and Schmidt were too strong a combination for the opposing teams to overcome in the offensive part of the game. Without question, this trio is one of the smoothest and fastest scoring combinations ever unleashed on a college basketball floor.”
Gordon’s No. 26 jersey was lifted into the rafters in 2003. He is also enshrined in the Kansas Athletics Hall of Fame.
— Edited by Ashley Hocking