James Naismith


November 6, 1861 – November 28, 1939

Canadian-born James Naismith was a physical educator, coach and inventor. He is most remembered for inventing the game of basketball at a Massachusetts YMCA in 1891. Naismith then went on to become the first basketball coach at the University of Kansas. He famously told his successor, Forest “Phog” Allen, that you “can’t coach basketball; you just play it.”  He was partially right.  HE wasn’t that great at coaching it.  He retired with a 55–60 career record.

Naismith is a member of a number of sports and basketball Halls of Fame, including the one that bears his own name in Springfield, MA.


Memorial Park Cemetery – Lawrence, KS

Specific Location

Take the main, central road all the way to the back (south) of the park, this road ends at a large obelisk. Naismith is buried just before and to the right of this obelisk.


NOTE: As you enter the park, there is a large memorial to Dr. Naismith on your left. While it’s a lovely memorial, this is NOT where his grave is located.  


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