News Items In Category XSports

Memorial Stadium memories: A conversation with Howard Graham

Posted on Apr 12, 2019 in Campus News

Memorial Stadium Football

As David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium approaches its 100th year, one researcher has set out to find untold stories of the historic building.

Howard Graham, g’09, spends his days in the Office of First Year Experience as associate director of academic programs. He’s also a doctoral student in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies.

Graham’s dissertation has him deep diving into the history of David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium. More than just memories from football games, Graham is looking for the experiences students, alumni, and fans have all shared in the building.

“I want to make sure we have living memories,” said Graham. “I want living stories for future researchers, for students, faculty and staff to be able to go into the archives and read your stories, and to best understand how Memorial Stadium has been a part of this community.”

Conversation with Howard Graham

David Johnston, vice president for strategic communications and digital media at the KU Alumni Association, sat down with Howard Graham to discuss the history of the nearly 100-year-old center of campus.

Part one includes discussions on the commonality of Memorial Stadium experiences, and Johnston, j’94, g’06, shared his own Memorial Stadium memories from attending the Kansas Relays as a boy, which led to him competing for the KU track and field team.

(If listening on a mobile device, click “Listen in browser.” If you already have the SoundCloud app installed, or want to install it, click “Play on SoundCloud.” 

Part two’s topics include the first walk down the Hill for Commencement, the annual Traditions Night to welcome freshmen, and how the game of football has changed from its violent beginnings.

Alumni are invited to share their memories of Memorial Stadium, whether they include football games, track meets, traditions night, commencement, or any kind of gathering in the historic stadium set at the foot of the Hill.

If you have a Memorial Stadium experience you’d like to share, email your stories to Howard at hgraham@ku.edu.

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Driving with Jayhawks: Curtis Marsh

Posted on Mar 28, 2019 in Alumni News

Every Jayhawk seems to know, or know of, Curtis Marsh. He’s the quintessential “KU guy,” overflowing with knowledge about everything Jayhawk-related from his years of managing KU Info.

Marsh recently started a new job at KU Endowment as the associate development director for the KU School of Music and the Lied Center.

Marsh, j’92, is in the passenger seat for this edition of “Driving with Jayhawks.” He shares tales of his favorite KU traditions— including a piece of history we bet you didn’t know— and the story of one of the greatest characters born in Allen Field House.

WATCH:

 
Thanks to our postseason partner, Crown Automotive, for allowing us to use the Jayhawk car for this series. Click here to watch more “Driving with Jayhawks” videos.

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Driving with Jayhawks: David Johanning

Posted on Mar 23, 2019 in Alumni News

We hit the road again for our next installment of “Driving with Jayhawks” with David Johanning.

Johanning, f’94, played basketball for the University of Kansas from 1992-94. He is currently the managing partner of The Sandbar, a popular bar in downtown Lawrence.

Johanning talks about what it’s really like to own a bar and his path to KU. Find out more about the game he’ll never forget being a part of. And, he shares some memories about playing for basketball coach Roy Williams.

WATCH:

Thanks to our postseason partner, Crown Automotive, for allowing us to use the Jayhawk car for this series. Click here to watch more “Driving with Jayhawks” videos.

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Driving with Jayhawks: Heidi Simon

Posted on Mar 21, 2019 in Alumni News

KU Alumni is Driving with Jayhawks!

Our first guest is Heidi Simon, senior associate director for freshman and transfer recruitment for KU’s Office of Admissions.

Simon, g’00, takes a ride down Jayhawk Boulevard with our host, Ryan Camenzind, j’17. She talks about what incoming Jayhawks need to know about KU, her favorite place on campus, and some of her favorite KU basketball memories.

WATCH:

 

Thanks to our postseason partner, Crown Automotive, for allowing us to use the Jayhawk car for this series. Click here to watch more “Driving with Jayhawks” videos.

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Hot hockey ‘Hawks ready for Mizzou and long-awaited trip to nationals

Posted on Feb 18, 2019 in News

KU hockey’s leading scorers, sophomore Dane Johnson (19) and junior Dawson Engle (25). | KU hockey
Let’s get this out of the way right up top: Yes, KU has a hockey team. It’s not varsity competition, but it is the next-highest level, University-sponsored club sports, which compete against teams from other schools. As documented a year ago in Kansas Alumni magazine, the hockey ‘Hawks, who play in Independence, Missouri, have made a mighty resurgence, and this season has been their best yet.

The Jayhawks completed their American Collegiate Hockey Association Division 3 schedule 20-0-1, capped by a two-game sweep at the U.S. Air Force Academy Feb. 1 and 2. Next up: a pride game against Division 2 Mizzou, Feb. 21 at Silverstein Eye Centers Arena.

“Mizzou has been struggling all year,” says junior Jimmy Samuels, KU’s club president, “but they’re going to be a whole new team when they step on the ice against Kansas, and we’re not going to hold back, either. It’s much more than just a game. It’s a historic college rivalry and we’re one of the few sports that gets to continue that tradition.”

The ice ‘Hawks feature two of the ACHA’s top-10 scorers, who both hail from Overland Park: sophomore Dane Johnson, who has a dazzling 38 goals and 30 assists in 19 games, and junior linemate Dawson Engle, with 28 goals and 34 assists in 21 games. Close behind is hard-charging team leader Preston McConnell, a senior from Liberty, Missouri, who sports 16 goals and 21 assists in 17 games.

“Give a lot of credit to [coach Andy McConnell, j’16],” Samuels says. “He really analyzed each line and their chemistry. He has matched each line with their speed, chemistry, passing abilities, positioning, everything. Every line has great potential to produce amazing plays.”

KU and Mizzou are both depending on strong fan support at the game, which faithfully replicates the intense border contests of old. The ‘Hawks, however, also need fan and alumni support to help them travel their next challenge: the ACHA playoffs.

If, as expected, KU is awarded a bye for the first round of regionals, KU would likely head to the Division 3 finals in Frisco, Texas, at the end of March.

KU’s club sports fund awarded the hockey team $9,000 for its $60,000 annual budget at the start of the season, with the rest being covered by players, their families, and a few faithful supporters. Now the Jayhawks are looking at a likely bill of $15,000 to rent a team bus to travel to and from Texas, secure hotel rooms and buy meals.

They have raised $6,000, and are asking fellow Jayhawks to assist the hard-earned journey by contributing through a GoFundMe account. All donations go directly to the club’s account at KU Endowment.

KU-Mizzou T-shirts will be available at the Feb. 21 game, as will team hats and pucks. Team officials are still working with vendors to produce a KU hockey game jersey available for purchase, but that won’t happen soon enough to help cover expenses for the Texas trip.

Samuels says players and their families will have to cover any budgetary shortfalls for the trip to nationals; should there be a surplus, any remaining funds would carry over and help alleviate player costs next season.

“It’s been a crazy ride the past few months,” Samuels says. “It’s been awesome, and there’s still more to come.”

—Chris Lazzarino

Photo: KU hockey’s leading scorers, sophomore Dane Johnson (19) and junior Dawson Engle (25).

Read more about the KU Hockey team in the January 2018 issue of Kansas Alumni Magazine.

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Results are in for #KUvsUK app challenge

Posted on Jan 31, 2019 in News

KU vs. UK Challenge WinnerWhile the scoreboard in Rupp Arena may have said differently, the Jayhawks got the win last weekend.

The results are in from the #KUvsUK app download challenge: The KU Alumni app had 621 new downloads over the weekend, while Kentucky’s had 292.

We wanted to show our APPreciation to all who participated, but even we’ll admit a sweep would have been even better.

More cheers to come when our Kentucky bourbon arrives!

Missed the challenge? Download the KU Alumni app today, where you can buy the exclusive Charlie Hustle T-Shirt starting Feb. 1.

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Fifty years later, Orange Bowl keepsakes boost University Archives collection

Posted on Jan 1, 2019 in News

Orange Bowl keepsakes held by University Archives

Money was tight for Joanie DeGraw Jones and her family in the late 1960s, so she was only able to spend her freshman year at KU before returning home and completing her nursing studies in Kansas City, Kansas.

Joanie DeGraw Jones, '72, with her Orange Bowl keepsakesJones, ’72, made the most of her limited time on the Hill, however, joining the Frosh Hawks pep club and cheering on the football ’Hawks as they stormed through a one-loss 1968 season on their way to a Big Eight championship and a trip to the Jan. 1, 1969, Orange Bowl in Miami.

While watching classmates pile into southbound cars, buses and trains for a trip she could not afford, Jones consoled herself by purchasing two keepsakes: a short-sleeved KU Orange Bowl sweatshirt and the custom-pressed single “Hawk it to ’Em,” by The Tips.

“I am really sad that I didn’t get to finish all four years,” says Jones, now retired from a long nursing career at Providence Medical Center, “but I treasure my things from there.”

She recently pulled the mint-condition sweatshirt and red-vinyl record from a sealed bag tucked safely in the back of her closet, where they’d been stored for 50 years, and asked her children what they might do with the mementos if they inherited them.

“They really couldn’t give me an answer,” Jones says, “and I thought, you know what? I’m just going to call [University Archives, in Spencer Research Library], and the lady said, ‘We don’t have anything like that. We’d love to have it.’ I wanted it be somewhere where it will be taken care of and treasured.”

Orange Bowl keepsakes donated to University Archives by Joanie DeGraw Jones, '72Jones’ sweatshirt and record recently joined University Archives’ student life collection, significantly boosting KU’s holdings of 1969 Orange Bowl items, including photographs, negatives and color slides donated by the Alumni Association (which can be viewed with an “Orange Bowl” search here); a media guide and game program; and an as-new carry-on bag given to travelers by Maupintour.

“This is one of the best collections that we have that reflects student life at the time,” says Archivist Becky Schulte, c’76. “We don’t really have this much for any other athletic event that I know of. This is really exceptional. These photos of players with fans, signing autographs, lounging by the pool, we just don’t get that kind of stuff.”

As for her own keepsakes, Jones says she “treasured them all this time,” but she’s glad she decided to donate them to University Archives while she’s still here to savor the satisfaction of her decision to pass them along for sharing and safekeeping.

“I’m glad I’m alive to enjoy what I’ve done,” Jones says, “rather than donating after somebody passes away. I wanted to see that they benefited somebody else.”

—Chris Lazzarino


Listen to “Hawk it to ‘Em” by The Tips:

 

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Les Miles announced as Head Football Coach

Posted on Nov 16, 2018 in News

The University of Kansas released the following statement on Sunday, Nov. 18.

Les Miles, a national championship-winning former coach at Louisiana State and Oklahoma State, has been named the new head football coach at the University of Kansas, Kansas Athletics Director Jeff Long announced Sunday.

Miles will be formally introduced at a press conference today at 5 p.m. The press conference will be streamed live and may be viewed by clicking here. He will then do a special “Hawk Talk” radio show at 7 p.m. from Johnny’s West restaurant in West Lawrence.

With Miles’ hiring, Kansas becomes the only university in the country that can boast a current men’s basketball coach with an NCAA Division I Championship and a football coach with an FBS Championship.

Miles will receive a five-year contract that will pay him $2,775,000 annually, with additional retention bonuses due in Nov. 2020 and Nov. 2022.

“Since the beginning of our search, we focused on identifying and recruiting an experienced head coach with a strong track record of success on and off the field,” Long said. “Les Miles is exactly what we need for our program right now. His national reputation as a great recruiter and as a coach who student-athletes love playing for will enable us to break the cycle and return a winning tradition to the Kansas Jayhawks. We are thrilled to have Les and his family as Jayhawks.”

Miles brings to Lawrence 142 victories, a BCS national championship and two SEC titles in 15-plus seasons as a head coach, the most career wins of anyone who has coached football at Kansas in the modern era.

Most recently, Miles served as the head coach at LSU (2005-16), where his teams averaged 10 wins per year in his 11 full seasons. He led LSU to bowl games in each of those 11 seasons (winning seven), and won 42 games against Top-25 teams and 16 over Top-10 teams. Miles’ teams won 10 or more games seven times, reached the SEC title game three times (winning twice) and led LSU to five Top-10 and three Top-5 finishes.

“I am humbled by the opportunity to lead the KU football program and I am grateful to Chancellor Girod and Jeff Long for the opportunity,” said Miles. “We will bring Jayhawk Football back and we will do it with outstanding coaches, tremendous student-athletes of character and ability and an unrelenting drive for excellence. My family and I cannot wait to be a part of the KU family!”

During his tenure at LSU, Miles coached an SEC-leading 69 NFL draft picks, 13 of them first-round selections. He coached 22 first-team All-Americans and 11 players who won national awards. He is the second-winningest coach in LSU history in overall wins (112) and SEC regular-season wins (63).

In the classroom, more than 240 players earned degrees under Miles and during his tenure, LSU Football’s graduation rate ranked as high as No. 2 in the SEC multiple times. As part of LSU’s Project Graduation established in 2010, more than 30 players who had left school without a degree returned to earn their college diploma before Miles left in 2016. Nearly 190 LSU players were named to the SEC Academic Honor Roll during Miles’ time there.

“I want to thank Jeff Long for his outstanding work and leadership of our Athletics’ program. I also want to thank the student-athletes in our football program for the mature way in which they have handled this challenging circumstance. I have no doubt that Coach Miles will have an immediate impact on our football program, and on our university,” Chancellor Girod said. “Together as Jayhawks, we will rebuild our football program the right way, winning championships and continuing to graduate young men of character. Today is an exciting day for the KU Family.”

Miles went to LSU after a four-year tenure as head coach at Oklahoma State. The OSU program he took over in 2001 had registered only one winning season since 1988. The Cowboys went 4-7 his first year, then had three-straight winning seasons (8-5, 9-4, 7-5). He led OSU to three-straight bowl games, a first for the program since 1983-85.

Miles’ four-year winning percentage of 57 percent is the best career winning percentage for an OSU coach since 1949. OSU was the only team in the nation to beat Oklahoma twice during Miles’ four-year tenure there.

Prior to OSU, Miles spent three years as tight-ends coach with the Dallas Cowboys (one divisional title, two playoff appearances). He went to Dallas after serving as offensive coordinator at OSU for three seasons (8-3, Alamo Bowl berth in 1997).

Miles served two stints (total of 10 seasons) as an assistant coach at Michigan, several of them under legendary head coach Bo Schembechler. During Miles’ second tenure there, from 1987-94, Michigan won 71 games, made eight-straight bowl appearances, including four Rose Bowls, and finished no lower than No. 21 in the final Associate Press national rankings.

Between tenures at Michigan, Miles spent four seasons as an assistant coach at the University of Colorado.

Miles graduated from Michigan in 1976 with a degree in economics. He was a two-year football letterman, playing on two Big Ten championship teams. He earned all-state honors in football at Elyria High School in Ohio, where he also earned letters in baseball and wrestling.

Miles’ wife, Kathy, was a point guard at Central Michigan University and later an assistant basketball coach at Michigan. They have two daughters, Kathryn (nickname “Smacker”), a former swimmer at Texas and currently a TV sports personality who hosts Les’ podcast), and Macy, a youth softball pitching standout. They also have two sons, Manny, a quarterback at North Carolina, and Ben, who won a high-school football state title in 2015 and is currently a fullback at Texas A&M.

More at KUathletics.com.

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KU track legend honored with ‘Billy Mills Middle School’

Posted on Nov 6, 2018 in Alumni News

Billy Mills | Billy Mills Middle School

Kansas track legend Billy Mills received a weekend full of honors in Lawrence, culminating in South Middle School’s re-dedication as Billy Mills Middle School.

The South Dakota native’s KU story began at Haskell, and later the University of Kansas, where he was a three-time NCAA All-American. Mills’ running career reached its zenith at the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, where his winning time in the 10,000 meter run set a world record and won America’s first gold medal in the event.

After a unanimous vote by the Lawrence School Board in February, South Middle School was approved for a name change to honor Mills and the Native American history of the Lawrence area. Mills spoke at the dedication ceremony on his hopes for the school:

Mills also shared photos from a tour of the school:

The city of Lawrence and the University of Kansas joined in the celebration as well, with Mayor Stuart Boley proclaiming Saturday, Nov. 3, Billy Mills Day and the University announcing that Mills will receive an honorary degree at 2019 commencement.

Mills’ legacy continues to grow, thanks to Running Strong for American Indian Youth, a nonprofit he co-founded to support Native American communities.

For more on Mills’ incredible story, read Kansas Alumni magazine’s 2014 feature on the KU alumnus.

—Ryan Camenzind

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Athletics: Beaty will not be retained at the conclusion of the season

Posted on Nov 4, 2018 in News

The following announcement was shared by KU Athletics today regarding the future of KU Football Head Coach David Beaty.

David Beaty will not be retained as Head Football Coach at the University of Kansas at the conclusion of the season, KU Athletics Director Jeff Long announced today.
 
“After a thorough evaluation of the program, I believe that new leadership is necessary for our football team to move forward and compete at the highest level of the Big 12 Conference,” Long said.  “I know that Coach Beaty cares deeply about his players, and I respect that.  The student-athletes on this team have continued to play hard – and I am confident they will do that for the rest of the season.”
 
Beaty has coached the Jayhawks for three-plus seasons, amassing a 6-39 record, 2-31 in Big 12 Conference play. He will continue to coach the team until the regular season concludes against Texas on Friday, November 23. He signed a five-year contract in December 2014, which was extended two years (through 2021) in December 2016.
 
Long informed Beaty of his decision Sunday and met with the football team directly afterwards.  “The search for a new head coach will begin immediately,” he said.
 
Beaty’s contract calls for him to be paid $3 million (payable in six equal payments) in the event of termination without cause; Long said Kansas will fulfill the terms of that contract.
 

Jeff Long will conduct a press conference at 6 p.m. this evening in Hadl Auditorium in the Wagnon Student-Athlete Center, adjacent to the Allen Fieldhouse Parking Garage. The press conference will be streamed and is available here:

 

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