Jack Gardner

Jack Gardner (1910-2000)

Teams coached: Kansas State Wildcats, Utah Utes
Kansas State record: 147-81 (.645)
Utah record: 339-154 (.688)
Overall record: 486-235 (.674)

Career Accomplishments:


  • NABC Golden Anniversary Award (1982)
  • Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame (inducted 1984)
  • National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame (inducted 2006)

Coaching Career (head coach, unless noted):

1953-1971 Utah
1946-1953 Kansas State
1939-1942 Kansas State
1935-1939 Modesto JC

Jack Gardner Facts

  • James H. Gardner
  • Born March 29, 1910
  • Died April 9, 2000
  • Hometown: Texico, New Mexico
  • Alma Mater: University of Southern California (BA, 1932 & MA, 1934)
  • Born in New Mexico, Gardner attended Redlands HS (CA) and played at USC under head coaches Leo Calland and Sam Barry
  • Began his coaching career at the high school and junior college levels in California
    • Won three station championships in four years at Modesto JC (CA)
  • Spent ten years – across two stints – as the head coach at Kansas State
    • Led the Wildcats to the NCAA Final Four in 1948 and then again in 1951, finishing Runner-up in the latter
    • Won three Big Eight (then Big Seven) regular season titles in his final seven years at the school
    • Credited with kickstarting the basketball culture at K-State, as the program hadn’t finished above .500 in the 15 years leading up to his second tenure
  • Left K-State in 1953 to become the head coach at Utah, where he would coach for the rest of his career
    • Won 339 games at Utah in 18 seasons, going to six NCAA Tournaments (two Final Fours) and two NITs
    • One of just three head coaches to lead to different programs to the Final Four (along with Roy Williams and Rick Pitino)
    • After retiring from basketball coaching in 1971, Gardner spent the next seven years at the Utes’ head golf coach
    • Instrumental in opening the Special Events Center (now the Jon M. Huntsman Center) at Utah in 1969; considered by many as “The House that Jack Built”
  • From 1979 through 1995, Gardner worked as a consultant for the NBA’s Utah Jazz; credited as discovering future NBA Hall of Famer John Stockton at Gonzaga
  • Member of a number of Hall of Fames: In addition to the two major Halls listed above, Gardner has been inducted into the Kansas Sports HOF (2000), Southern Utah HOF, Utah All-Sports HOF, State of Utah Basketball HOF, Helms Foundation HOF, Kansas State University HOF, Crimson Club (Utah), Modesto JC HOF, Redlands HS HOF
  • Along with his late wife, Marion, had one son and three grandchildren

Jack Gardner Coaching Tree

  • LaDell Andersen (BYU, Utah Stars, Utah State)
  • Bucky Buckwalter (Seattle SuperSonics, Seattle)
  • Jerry Pimm (UC Santa Barbara, Utah)
  • Howie Shannon (Virginia Tech)
  • Tex Winter (Long Beach State, Northwestern, Washington, Kansas State, Marquette)