Kansas Hoopla: Columns share stories of hoops glory

Editor?s note: With this column we begin a series of columns by Steve Farney about basketball in Kansas. Farney, who lives in McPherson, has written two books on high school hoops in the Sunflower state.

In the coming weeks I will be sharing with you basketball stories that span the state of Kansas. Many of these stories have been forgotten in time.

As we begin this first segment I ask you: Which was the greatest high school boys? basketball team in the history of the state? There are many worthy candidates, but only one team can claim both an undefeated state and national championship in the same season. That team was the 1923 Kansas City (Kan.) Bulldogs, now known as Wyandotte High School.

The Bulldogs were coached by former Salina High School star Charles W. Corsault, who later was a sterling athlete while attending Kansas Wesleyan College. Upon graduation, Corsault coached championship basketball teams in Michigan before returning to the Sun?flower State to take the Bulldog head coaching position.

With him at the helm, the 1923 team claimed an undefeated state title by defeating Hutchin?son in overtime, 32-31, in the finals of the state tournament. They concluded the season, or so they thought, with a mark of 29-0.

At the time, there was a national high school tournament at the University of Chicago. The tournament was the brain child of Amos ?Alonzo? Stagg and drew state champions from nearly every state in the union. The Bulldogs were invited to attend and hastily made travel plans to Chicago.

After one final victory over another Kansas City team?the school?s 30th win of the season? the Bulldogs boarded a train to the Windy City. The 1923 tourney had a five-day, five-game format that attracted 40 high school teams from across the country.

The Bulldogs defeated Fargo (N.D.), Weston (Idaho), Tilden (the Chicago champions) and Muskegon (Mich.) before finally dispatching Rockford (Ill.) to claim the title and end the season with a perfect mark of 35-0.

Bulldog players Herb Proudfit, Harold Schmidt and Harold Zuber were named All-Americans for their stellar tournament play.

After the season, Coach Corsault was named the new basketball coach at Kansas State College, today known as Kansas State University. In 10 seasons he posted a record of 90-80 in Manhattan.

Proudfit, Schmidt and Zuber were expected to join their high school coach in Manhattan and did indeed travel west to play college basketball, but instead decided to play for Phog Allen and the Kansas Jayhawks.

Today, the national championship trophy is proudly displayed at Wyandotte High School in Kansas City. The 1923 Bulldogs are another remarkable story from the basketball courts of Kansas

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