Jack Gardner, Basketball and Kansas State University
Steven Michael Farney

It’s Time to Play! offers an extensive history of Jack Gardner and his coaching days at Kansas State University.           

Prior to his arrival in Manhattan in 1939, Kansas State had known limited success in basketball.  The school, which played its first game in 1903, posted a 286-274 record in 35 seasons of play.  During that span, just two Wildcat teams claimed conference championships.           

Enter Jack Gardner.  At 29-years old, Gardner was the youngest coach in the country.  He boldly announced to the campus that it was time to play, time to compete for conference titles, time to challenge for national honors.  In his 10 seasons as the Wildcat boss, K-State would win or share three conference championships, qualify for two Final Four appearances, produce four All-Americans, claim 147 wins and establish the Cats as a national player in college basketball.

The book chronicles the 228 games Gardner coached while in Manhattan including 25 epic struggles with legendary KU Coach Phog Allen.  Although each game between the two rivals was hotly contested, the verbal sparring battles between Gardner and Allen provided newspapers and fans with an amply supply of stories throughout the year.  There seldom was a dull moment with Jack and Phog living in the same state!           

It’s Time to Play! is a beautifully hard-bound book of 140 pages and contains team photos, action photos and statistical information.  The game-by-game notes capture the spirit of the players, the passion of the fans, the strategy of the coaches and success and failures of the Wildcats.  It is a must read for basketball fans everywhere.

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