Amos Alonzo Stagg

Amos Alonzo Stagg, whose roots in basketball go as far back as James Naismith and the Springfield YMCA, was instrumental to basketball’s development during its formative years. An All-America in football at Yale, Stagg began coaching the University of Chicago football team in 1899 and won seven Big Ten championships. In 1892, less than a year after the game’s invention, he brought basketball from Springfield to Chicago. While coach and director of athletics at the University of Chicago, he popularized the practice of five-man basketball. He also coached Hall of Famer Harlan “Pat” Page there. In 1917, Stagg organized the University of Chicago National Interscholastic Basketball Tournament, which, until its demise in 1931, helped improve and standardize the rules and interpretation of those rules for high school play. Stagg coached the University of Chicago against the University of Iowa in the first college game played with five players on a side on January 16, 1896. He also played in the first public basketball game at the Springfield YMCA, scoring the faculty team’s lone basket in a 5-1 loss.