ESPN's "TitleTown USA" to Originate from Allen Fieldhouse Friday, June 27, at 9 a.m.

June 23, 2008

LAWRENCE, Kan. – An NCAA men’s basketball national championship and a FedEx Orange Bowl victory have contributed to making Lawrence, Kan., one of 20 finalists for the designation of ESPN’s “TitleTown USA.” As part of the process, ESPN will tape a segment featuring Lawrence and the Jayhawks at 9 a.m. this Friday, June 27, at Allen Fieldhouse.

Friday’s event is open to the public. Allen Fieldhouse doors will open at 8 a.m. Taping should conclude by 10 a.m. The event will feature Kansas head basketball coach Bill Self and select players from the 2008 national championship team. With summer school still in session, fans are encouraged to park in lot 90 on Naismith Drive across the street from Allen Fieldhouse. Additionally, Coca-Cola will be handing out free men’s basketball national championship cans while supplies last.

“TitleTown USA” is an interactive and multimedia effort to determine which city, town or municipality is America’s top championship location. A panel of judges narrowed down fan-generated nominations to 20 finalists; ultimately, online voting by fans will determine the nation’s top sports town. On ESPN’s SportsCenter, Lawrence will be announced Tuesday, June 24 as a finalist and will go up against cities as big as New York and small as Parkersburg, West Virginia.

“This is a celebration of the great history and tradition of Kansas University athletics, from (Wilt) Chamberlain to (Paul) Pierce to (Mario) Chalmers,” said Glenn Jacobs, ESPN senior coordinating producer. “The passion, excitement and pride that the Jayhawk faithful share with their teams are remarkable.”

KU is coming off one of its most impressive athletics years ever. The football team won a school-record 12 games and tied Missouri for the Big 12 North championship. The Jayhawks went on to defeat Virginia Tech 24-21 in the FedEx Orange Bowl in their first-ever BCS appearance. For the third straight year, KU set home attendance records in football.

The KU men’s basketball team posted a school-record 37 victories in winning the school’s fifth all-time and third NCAA title. The Jayhawks won their fourth straight Big 12 regular-season championship and their third consecutive conference postseason title. In a national-semifinal battle between two of the most tradition-rich programs in college basketball, KU dominated North Carolina, 84-66. In the title game, Kansas overcame a nine-point deficit late in regulation and went on to defeat Memphis, 78-65, in overtime to claim its first national championship since 1988. KU guard Mario Chalmers made a dramatic three-pointer with three seconds remaining to send the game into overtime.

The city of Lawrence rolled out in celebration of the men’s basketball national championship. Upon the team’s return home more than 30,000 fans greeted the national champions at KU’s Kivisto Field at Memorial Stadium. The following Sunday, more than 100,000 KU faithful honored the team with a parade that started in downtown Lawrence and ended at historic Allen Fieldhouse.

SportsCenter “TitleTown USA” Remaining Timeline

Monday, June 2 – Friday, June 27

– Each day, a new finalist will be profiled on all editions of SportsCenter, beginning at 6 p.m.

Friday, July 4 – Wednesday, July 23

– The SportsCenter “TitleTown USA” tour: Daily segments with SportsCenter anchor or reporter will originate from a “TitleTown” finalist beginning in Green Bay Friday, July 4. These daily SportsCenter segments will showcase the athletic achievements and the teams and people who have contributed to that town’s success in sports. It will also draw the unique nexus between town’s sports teams and its fans.

Wednesday, July 23 – Saturday, July 26

– At the conclusion of the tour, fans vote for which city, town or municipality should be declared “TitleTown USA.”

Sunday, July 27

– Live announcement of “TitleTown USA” on SportsCenter including presence from the winning town.